Love is in the air, folks– and so is some sort of flu bug! I have to say, February is one of my least favorite months. At least it’s short. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know how to handle the brutal cold it brings. Also, all the snow. The other day my nana called to ask how much snow I thought we had. She was asking for all the ladies who live on her floor. I think the only nice thing about this month is that as the days go by, I can almost see Spring Break in sight. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to be headed somewhere warmer.
While I keep reminding myself to stay strong until the third week of March, I would also like to give a huge thank-you to the UMPI community and anyone who supported the U Time’s fundraiser. As some of you may know, the U Times held a raffle fundraiser for three weeks. With the club members having met their goal within the first week of sales, their success would not have been possible without the outpouring of support seen from individuals both on and off campus.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now, folks! I hope you all caught the awesome day-after Valentines Day candy sales. I know I surely did!
It’s getting harder to move around the library’s special collections room at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. It’s for a good reason, though. The central hallway is filled with stacks up to five feet high of huge, hardcover books. These books are bound newspapers, part of two recent donations to the UMPI library.
Last spring, Roger Getz, director of library services at UMPI, heard that the Aroostook County Commissioner’s Office was seeking a new home for some of its archives. The main attraction in these archives was an extensive collection of Aroostook County newspapers. The collection started in the 1860s and continued until the 1990s. There were also photographs and paintings.
Getz felt that the UMPI library would be an ideal place for these archives. The library already had a lot of information on local history. He took a trip to the commissioner’s office and made his pitch. It wasn’t a hard sell.
County Administrator Ryan Pelletier wasn’t happy with the way the archives were being stored. They were hard to get to and use. Some of the items were beginning to deteriorate. “Roger reached out to us with a great presentation,” he said. “Presque Isle is a good central location.”
Pelletier hopes the move will make the collection more accessible. “It’s history that could have been lost,” he said. “People didn’t even know it existed.” He pointed out that many of the documents aren’t anywhere else in Maine.
Library staff members worked hard to organize the new resources. They shifted the whole UMPI collection to make space. It seemed like the new arrivals would fit. But that was before the second donation came.
Northeast Publishing was Aroostook County’s main newspaper publisher. It was changing facilities and could no longer keep its collection of old papers. UMPI received this gift on short notice. “We were not anticipating the donation from Northeast Publishing,” Getz said. Once again, space was a problem.
The new materials are definitely not a problem, though. This collection of newspapers is much more current. It fills the time gap left by the other donation. “We now have a newspaper history of Aroostook from the mid-1860s to the present,” Getz said.
These resources are already proving useful. Faculty and community members have already used the papers for research. They have been used to fact-check claims of high school sports achievements. It will also be a great resource for UMPI students doing projects on local history. “It’s extremely relevant to this direct area,” Getz said. He pointed out that even advertising was recorded. This could be used in studies of County business history.
At present, library staff members are working to create enough space to make the volumes readily accessible. It’s not an easy task. The library has a small staff. They need to sort and move older news files. They need to shift more books and shelves. They need to install new shelves. They need to organize the new donations. They need to count and catalogue the new materials. And that’s on top of keeping the library running. Getz said it could take more than a year to fully finish the process.
In the meantime, the newspapers can be accessed. It will be exciting to see how people will use these resources. Hopefully this new level of opportunity will inspire new levels of creativity and research. Persons interested in using the papers should see Getz at the library.
College is about learning and creating experiences. This year at UMPI, a position was created to bring those elements in. Meet Sarah Coyer: Sarah is director of student life at UMPI. Sarah’s office is located in the Emerson Annex and from her window she can see the pathways students are traveling to class, residential halls and other destinations on campus. Her view captures her position: students’ lives outside the classroom and helping set the right path for their success.
Sarah joined UMPI at the end of October, but is no stranger to college campuses. Sarah is from Wisconsin, where she earned her undergraduate degree in theater. During her time as a student, Sarah worked as a resident assistant in the halls. She explained that during her undergraduate years, the staff and faculty were her role models: she wanted to be them. Sarah had a deep desire to help people.
Sarah has experience from working in different types of colleges, from private, to a “Big 10” public university and now a smaller public university. Sarah’s decision to work at UMPI is based on wanting to go back to a small, public campus and UMPI fit that description perfectly. She also found the U Maine System interesting, with the system accreditation and strong connection among all the campuses.
Being new, Sarah has been learning about UMPI. Sarah currently lives on campus. “I loved being a student so much, I decided to be a student forever,” she said, laughing. As she learns the process, she wants to understand and ask questions. “She asks good questions, but also listens. I think that’s very important,” Dr. Jacqui Lowman said. Dr. Lowman is on different committees with Sarah and noted her: “can-do attitude” and ability to look at the big picture for UMPI. Sarah said she wants to “honor the traditions while bringing in new ideas.” Her ultimate question for students is: “How can we better serve you?”
Sarah noted that everyone at UMPI cares for the students. “The students are the best part,” she said, as she explained she gets to work with students at all different parts of their lives. She’s passionate about caring for the students. She said the staff has the same motivation of wanting to care for the students and it’s powerful. “Having an awesome group of people is the best way to find satisfaction in your work,” she said, with a gleaming smile as the passionate emotion came from her statement.
Sarah said in her position she would like to incorporate a residential curriculum: learning outside the classroom. She explained that learning outside the classrooms is just as important as inside. Students need to learn the material for their career, but need life skills and experiences from outside the classroom. The goal is to manage life, because life outside college doesn’t stop. Sarah’s position helps support students when life hits.
Sarah’s vision is that she wants all students to have an intense feeling of belonging and mattering to the campus community. She touched greatly on wanting to reach all students: on and off campus students, online, international, part-time, older students, new students and even the local community, too. She explained that everyone comes in at different levels but has the potential to grow and develop. The staff is here to help navigate.
2019 was a special year for the University of Maine at Presque Isle as lots of success and memories were made on campus with students, staff, faculty and community members. Students excelled in the classroom, resulting in a great deal of recognition for the university. UMPI gave back to its local and global community. Comedians, musicians and more visited campus during the year, creating many memories that people would not forget. Select students around campus not only did well with their academics, but succeeded with extracurriculars. UMPI’s athletic teams also had an exciting year during their first season competing in the North Atlantic Conference. Through these accomplishments and milestones, UMPI definitely had a year to remember.
The year started strong with UMPI’s Medical Laboratory Technology program receiving a $200,000 training center on Jan. 10 in Pullen Hall. The men’s basketball team made history with the university’s first ever appearance in a NAC playoff game. Griffin Guerrette was named NAC Rookie of the Year and Shyquinn Dix was named 1st Team All-Conference during the 2018-2019 season. Justin Rupple hosted UMPI’s first variety show, which included entertainment from students, faculty and community members. This event proved so memorable that UMPI decided to host another variety show this semester.
The university held Planet Head Day, a cancer fundraiser, in Wieden Hall on March 16. Guest speaker Shay Stewart-Bouley spoke on March 26 at a campus diversity dialogue discussing racism. Faculty member Michelle Mishaan exhibited her art in the Reed Gallery with her painted landscapes of Aroostook County. UMPI celebrated the 18 annual University Day on April 10 with a variety of student presentations. Star basketball player Shyquinn Dix was featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” following his life-changing experience before UMPI. On April 5 “Free Hugs” motivational speaker, Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., gave students a night to remember during his discussion. The Cinemaniacs Film Club presented screenings of their original film “The 9th Reward.”
“The 9th Reward was the first full film that I ever made. It was very successful on campus, but I was also really proud of the accomplishment because the movie was a team effort. Everybody worked really hard to make it happen,” producer of the film, Tiffany Smith, said. “2019 was a big year, because I co-produced The 9th Reward and a documentary on the History of UMPI. It was also the year that my videography business really took off.”
The Art Club held the 4 Annual Trash to Fashion Show on April 22, creating innovative fashion pieces from recycled goods. The highly anticipated Zillman Family Greenhouse was welcomed to campus during the groundbreaking ceremony on April 25. The greenhouse will benefit the agriculture science program on campus. The women’s softball team competed in the NAC conference tournament, finishing third. Later in the month, former Owl softball player, Alissa Edwards, was hired as head coach for the program. Aaron Marston was officially hired as the head women’s soccer coach and Shea Cushman took over UMPI’s Nordic ski program.
The university held its 110 Commencement ceremony on May 11, with 112 students participating. Bringing in the new academic year, UMPI announced a new Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree starting in the fall of 2019. Cross Country coach Christopher Smith was honored for his 30 plus years of service with the athletics department. UMPI was recognized as one of the top 5 Most Innovative Schools for Regional Colleges in the North, along with four other top rankings in the “U.S. News and World Report 2020 Best Colleges” list.
Homecoming 2019 was a success as usual, filled with entertainment and fireworks for students and community members. The end of the year was especially bright when news came that UMPI had won one of the largest grants in university history. The U.S. Department of Education’s announced that the University was selected for a 2019 Title III Strengthening Institutions Program grant worth nearly $2.25 million over a five-year cycle. The 8 Annual Purple Pinkie event was held on campus and through Aroostook County, raising over $3,000 for efforts to eradicate polio around the world. UMPI’s History Club established the Little Free Library on Nov. 22 in the Owl’s Nest, a large bookcase used for book exchanges with people on campus and around the community. The club’s president and well-known student on campus, Evan Zarkadas, not only founded the library, but also had other accomplishments through the year.
“The Free Little Library was an idea that I had over the summer and a project that I thought would be a great addition to this campus. I was following a few social media pages from the Free Little Library foundation and the idea was very appealing to me, and I was admitting the incredible work they do, so I decided to establish one here on campus,” Evan Zarkadas said. “One word that would describe my 2019 is Inspirational. From all of these experiences, awards, projects, learning curves, etc. I have become even more inspired to keep moving forwards, gain as much experience and enjoy life even more and keep doing great things, while at the same time give back to my community, family and friends.”
UMPI finished out the year strong with another national ranking. The university was recognized in “Washington Monthly” magazine for 2019 college rankings, earning spots in the Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges: Northeast and Top 50 Best Bang for the Buck: Northeast.
Through student success, university awards, guest speakers and more, 2019 was one of the university’s strongest years. Many memories were made during the year that will be carried into 2020 as UMPI hopes to have an even better year as it continues to grow as an institution. The university’s success in 2019 was represented by individuals across the county, nation and world who embody what it means to be an UMPI Owl.
If you live in Maine, then you might have a good understanding of why author Stephen King based many of his stories in this state. There is fog so thick, you could cut it with a knife and nights seem to last forever in the winter. Maine is home to many ghost stories: one of its more famous ones being Haynesville Road and the paranormal activity that comes with it. But what some may not know is that there is another stretch of road in Maine that has had rumors of a ghost since the 1950s.
On their way back from their honeymoon, a couple were driving down Brownville Road. not too far from Millinocket, Maine. The couple’s car swerved off the road for unknown reasons and crashed. The husband instructed the wife to stay in the car while he went to look for help. When he returned, she was not to be found, and no one could figure out what happened to her. At least, not until she began haunting the road and nearby bridge. To this day, Millinocket locals claim to see her while driving through the Brownville Road.
One local, Kayla Mcinnis, who is attending UMPI, has this to say about the story. “My friends told me. I was at a campground and they dared me to go with them.” Mcinnis also had information as to why the Lady haunts the road. “I think the myth, the lady died and someone stole her wedding ring and she’s there for revenge.” So perhaps there is more to this story than some may know. There are many stories about ghosts seeking revenge. But Mcinnis’ next comment indicated that the White Lady may not be dangerous. “If you bring a necklace and ask her questions, she’ll show up. It worked, but none of it was dangerous.”
Another local from Millinocket, Megan Waceken, has heard stories of the White Lady but does not have any personal experiences. Waceken has some insight on the bridge where the story takes place. “It is a dangerous bridge and there’s always a lot of those bigger trucks, too, on the dirt roads,” Waceken said. “It’s not very…the best road condition there and there’s always accidents on that road with wildlife and people speeding.”
They say the location of the crash can be found on the original Brownville Road. So, if you are willing to take the trip out, beware. When the weather takes a turn and the fog rolls in, you may find the White Lady of Brownville Road walking along or on the bridge. Or if ghost stories are a little more to your liking, perhaps ask around the next time you’re in Millinocket. The locals might have a story or two of their own to share.
It’s about that time! Baseball season is right around the corner for your UMPI Owls, looking to turn things around after a rough couple of seasons. With a new season brings a lot of change. The Owls brought in 11 new faces to the club this season, 10 of whom are freshmen. The other is a sophomore.
This is Roger Stinson’s third season as UMPI baseball head coach. Since he’s taken over the reins of the team, he has been trying to rebuild the team. This season he feels fairly confident that he has done that. He thinks that the youth of the team this year is their strength. “If the youth goes, we go,” Coach Stinson said. Coach was also fairly surprised at how fast the team came together, considering the mix of all the new faces and the upperclassmen. After seeing the team together for the first time, his thoughts were “Look out, here we come.” These thoughts that Stinson has are definitely flowing throughout the team. Although an area of concern is still pitching right now, Coach Stinson has everyone taking a crack at pitching to see what he’s got for pitching options this season.
Upperclassman Jordan Hanscom also talked about the team and the upcoming season. He, like Coach, was also really excited for the upcoming season. He said that they have a “really good core with young guys gelled well. The energy was definitely different and definitely looking forward to the season.” Hanscom is a junior and his aspirations are to get 20 hits this year and hit his first collegiate home run. But as a team he wants to be in the playoffs this year. With all the change, Hanscom kept saying, Why not us? There are six teams in the NAC and four make the playoffs. Hanscom thinks they should be able to get a one or two seed in the NAC playoffs. Hanscom believes the biggest thing is they need to stay together as a group, and to win and lose together. For this season to be a success for Hanscom, “We’ve got to be in every game and can’t lose by more than 3 runs at the end of games.
We also caught up with senior Roberto De La Pena. He believes team chemistry is definitely a strong asset this year for the team because “we got guys that love baseball. If you don’t love it, you won’t put 100 percent in.” De La Pena wants to pitch better than he has over the past few seasons. He also wants to win more games this season and he wants the team to play the right way. He defined playing the right way as “giving it your all and always hustling.” For this season to be a success, De La Pena believes that the members of the team need to take care of business. De La Pena also believes that the team members need to take extra swings and ground balls outside of the team practices.
Coach and his players have a renewed focus this season with eyes toward a playoff berth, as well as working as a team rather than individuals. Brotherhood is everything with a team. The closer you are off the field, the better the team seems to play on it. Everyone on the team is super excited to get the season going because this team really seems to want it, compared to teams from the last couple of seasons.
One thing’s for sure: you can definitely expect an exciting season from your UMPI Owls. So buckle up and get ready for this season, because it’s going to be a ride you won’t soon forget.
University of Maine at Presque Isle star basketball player Shyquinn Dix collected his 1,000 point in his college career on Jan. 28 against Unity College. Hundreds gathered in Wieden gymnasium to watch the team and wait for Dix to hit the milestone, which was only 7 points away.
The Owls started strong, immediately pushing past Unity. Within minutes of the game, Dix made a 3-pointer. Moments later, he scored a 2-point jumper. The crowd grew quiet, waiting for the Owl’s next possession. After a turnover from Unity, the ball fell into Dix’s hands. Dix made his way down the court, with an easy layup, scoring his 1,000 point as a collegiate basketball player. The crowd exploded, giving Dix a minute standing ovation. UMPI coaches and the entire team ran onto the court to celebrate with Dix and his accomplishment.
“Shy is a person that in his last couple years here at UMPI, has been very successful on and off the court in a lot that he has done and has had a lot of praise (well deserved) around UMPI. He is a tough kid, and any negative criticism he just ignores or even better uses it as fuel. But when it comes to constructive criticism, he wants it and needs it,” UMPI Assistant Basketball Coach Mark Knight said. “I am very proud of what he has accomplished so far and will be even more proud when I see what he will accomplish throughout the rest of his life.”
Dix, a junior from Stamford, Conn., not only accomplished greatness on the court, but has overcome much bigger obstacles throughout his life. In March of 2019, Shyquinn Dix was featured on CBS News “60 Minutes.” The special covered a German-style prison at a Connecticut maximum security prison, which Dix participated in after he was sentenced to four years of prison for being a part of a check-fraud scheme. Dix was a part of the T.R.U.E. program, which is a prison program that focuses on individual reform for 18-25-year-old offenders, providing them with older inmate mentors, life-skills classes and much more positive interaction with correctional officers.
After success in the program, Dix bonded with a correctional officer, James Vassar, who helped him connect with UMPI Head Basketball Coach Dan Kane. After months of communication and finally meeting Dix, Kane welcomed him to the UMPI basketball program. His addition to the team not only helped Dix himself, but also the team, as Dix led them to the North Atlantic Conference tournament for the first time in program history during the 2018-2019 season.
“Shy and I have been through quite a bit in the short time period that we have known each other. I would say it is a relationship that is built on mutual respect and trust and wanting the best for Shy’s future,” Dan Kane said. “I am very proud of the hard work Shy has put in on the court, in the classroom and in his personal life. I think Shy would admit as any of us would, there is still room to grow, but seeing him strive to be the best father, son, sibling, friend, teammate and basketball player he can be does make me very proud and with all my players and all the student-athletes at UMPI, that is what motivates me to come to work every day.”
Partly through Shyquinn Dix’s leadership and talent, the Owls have once again reached the North Atlantic Conference tournament during the end of their season.
New opportunities open at the University of Maine in Presque Isle. A video production studio located on the bottom floor of the Center for Innovative Learning will be accessible for students, staff and faculty. The video production studio offers students with project-based classes better resources to use. So, if you take pride in your work and want to learn or practice previous knowledge, this is a great place to start. The studio will be open throughout the week on the same days the CIL is open, with posted hours.
“At UMPI, we have many great things. But a lot of times the things that hurt us are a lack of resources,” Dr. J. said.
Dr. J. went on to explain how she feels that a Video Production Studio will benefit everyone. She hopes that not just her own students take advantage of this room, but all UMPI’s students, faculty and staff, as well. The room is filled with very nice equipment that can be checked out and used. The equipment is durable and can be used for school projects or personal projects. “It is something I have wanted and advocated for, for 12 years,” Dr J. said
A couple of years ago there was a grant and with enough people on board, this grant was approved and went on to what is now called the Video Production Studio. It’s been a slow process since July, but after finding a room in the basement of the CIL, the Video Production Studio finally had a home on our campus. The room was used previously for storage and it is thought that back in the day it was once used for radio. The room’s soundproof walls make it perfect to work in comfort.
“What do these students really need?” Dr. J asked.
Dr. J. explains that hands-on equipment will help students get prepared for life after UMPI. She hopes that students will feel free to use the room whenever available, whether it is for a project, a class or just to gain some extra learning experience on their own.
“It’s good to know something like this is available,” UMPI freshman Chessintra MacArthur said.
Have you ever considered writing for a newspaper but not known where to start? At UMPI, University Times is the go-to for this! The club, advised by Dr. Lowman, meets every Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Pullen 116. In their weekly meetings, staff writers are brought up to speed with work going on behind the scenes by the club’s editor. There are many laughs and friendly smiles, as the atmosphere is laidback. Whether you are nervous or simply shy, the U Times’ door is always open.
Not many people on campus even know that UMPI has a school newspaper. If you’re reading this and are thinking about your own interest in writing, we have a staff who would love to meet you! Even if you just drop in and find out that you don’t really think it will be a fit, maybe you’ll meet a new friend.
First year student Kylee Mejia (Presque Isle) is an undecided major. After her friends encouraged her to join U Times iends, she took the offer. “While attending my first U Times meeting, I felt the sense of welcoming and especially by Dr. J,” she said. “It was like walking into a room full of people I already knew.” Mejia went on to boast about the encouragement she received on her first piece. “Like, when I thought the first piece I wrote wasn’t actually very good,” Mejia recalled. “Dr. J actually said she liked it. It makes you feel good to be a writer for the school newspaper.”
Not convinced you should check out a U Times meeting yet? “For someone on the fence about joining, join,” Mejia said. “I didn’t think I would like it, but I have ended up actually really liking being a part of the UTimes. Even if you don’t think you’re capable of writing an article, you can. All it takes are simple sentences. This has taken me out of my comfort zone, and I am so happy I joined.”
U Times meets every Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Pullen 116. For more information or questions about how or where to join, contact the UTimes editor, Abi Davis, at email@example.com.
You might have seen a flier or you might have heard a radio ad about it, or you might have just tuned into WUPI 92.1FM and listened to it. The rumors are true: there is a podcast made here at UMPI every month. Part of a partnership between the UMPI History Club and the WUPI 92.1FM Radio Station, the History Hour Podcast made its debut last fall of 2019 here on campus in the studios of WUPI 92.1FM in Folsom Hall. The podcast is about history and fascinating stories throughout the world. Since September of 2019 it has produced 13 episodes with topics varying from local history such as “The Only Lynching in New England, the Story of Jim Cullen,” to global history such as “The Story of Otto Von Bismarck” and many more.
The motto of the podcast is The podcast for history, about history, by students, and it promotes the idea of sharing while learning. The show is recorded at the WUPI 92.1FM studios and it has been on the air on 92.1FM every Saturday at 4 p.m., while at the same time the podcast owns its own YouTube Channel and periodically it also manages a SoundCloud page. This partnership between two clubs on campus has created a listeners’ sensation on the WUPI station, according to the station manager Max Bushman “Since the History Hour Podcast started broadcasting on WUPI, I have received many compliments about it. One person told me that it was something different and unique from what any other station in the county was playing.” Bushman added, “As the station manager, I keep track of our programs that we have to understand what people in our community like and what they don’t. We can only keep track of our live stream listeners, but have continuously noticed that the History Hour Podcast has the most listeners by far.”
Everything on the podcast from the music, the sound, the graphics, to the editing and the ideas for the episodes are created by students. The music is composed by Billy Zarkadas, a 17-year-old high school student who is a musician at heart. Billy will be going to college to study music next year and he has already received many music awards and honors. The graphics for the podcast were created by one of its own members on the show, UMPI senior Bethany MacPherson. Bethany is an art major and enjoys creating art. She has created both logos that have been used so far for the podcast and as mentioned, she has been part of the podcast team since its inception. The podcast producer, editor and content director is the person who is writing to you right now.
This semester, the podcast will have seven episodes, with one already recorded and released in February. The podcast team has in line some very interesting and fun episodes with many special guests. Some of the episodes are: “The Untold Gospels of the Bible,” with Dr. John DeFelice, “The History of the Acadian People,” with Lise Pelletier, the director of the Acadian Archives in Fort Kent, and “Lost Atusville, A Black Settlement in Maine,” with Marcus LiBrizzi, the author of the homonymous book.