UMPI’s 2020-2021 Academic Award Recipients

     Outstanding Post-Baccalaureate/Elementary Education Student Award, Lauren Antworth; Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Award, Chandler Garrison; Art History Award, Adam Bishop; CBE History & Political Science Major Award, Ric Cohen; CBE History & Political Science Major Award, Chris Perry; English Book Award, Justin Ouellette; Erica Hemphill Award, Joy Gibson; Fine Art Talent Award, Josh Birden; Maine Policy Scholar 2020-2021, Lindsay Kay; Math-Science Scholarship, Jordan Dickson; Outstanding Achievement in Professional Communication & Journalism, Justin Ouellette; Outstanding Achievement in Professional Communication & Journalism, Melanee Terry; Outstanding Accounting Major Award, Grace McCrum; Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Accounting, Manish Pandey; Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Management & Leadership, Patrick Cash; Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Recreation, Owen Gallop; Outstanding Biology Graduate 2021, Kendra Silvers; Outstanding Biology Student 2020-2021, Stephen Cochrane; Outstanding Criminal Justice Major Award, Jake Worthley;  Outstanding Exercise Science Major Award, Jordan Hanscom; Outstanding Graduate in Environmental Science & Sustainability, Eric Bagley; Outstanding History & Political Science Major Award, Calvin Mokler; Outstanding Online History & Political Science Major Award, Rogue Reeves; Outstanding Personal Achievement in Education Award, Daniel Warren; Outstanding Physical Education Major Award, Paul Kaplan; Outstanding Post-Baccalaureate/Elementary Education Student Award, Alexandra Smye; Outstanding Secondary Education Major Award, Alexandria Brace; Outstanding Student in Agricultural Science & Agribusiness, Peter Baldwin; Outstanding Student in Environmental Science & Sustainability, Lizzy Deschenes; Rising Star in the Health Administration – Community Health Field, Alyssa Harrington;  The Linda Graves MLT Award 2020-2021, Allyn Ladner; University Times Advisor Award, Abigail Davis; Advisor of the Year Award, Stacey Emery; Rising Star Award, Elizabeth “Libby” Blair; Outstanding Student Leader Award, KJ Minter; Resident Assistant of the Year Award, Kendra Silvers; UMPI Spirit Award, Melanee Terry; Civic Engagement & Involvement, Jerranecia “Nicole” Caddell.

Congratulations to all.

The U Times Congratulates, Bids Farewell to One of Its Own

     Melanee Terry knew she wanted to go far away for college her senior year of high school. “I really liked the New England area,” she said. “So, I was looking at schools there and knew I wanted to play softball.” Her two criteria were met when UMPI’s softball coach at the time, Sara Shaw, reached out on behalf of the university. “At the time, I had never really heard of Presque Isle,” she said. “Or Maine, period. I wasn’t very familiar with the state. But I applied for the school and made the softball team.” Following her graduation from high school, Melanee packed up and made the trip from Moreno Valley, Calif., to Presque Isle, Maine, in fall of 2017. “I try not to count the miles,” she said, smiling. “Just because I get homesick. It’s definitely pretty far, the state of Maine is the farthest I could’ve gone in the country.”

A snapshot of Melanee in her softball atire.

     Aside from athletics, Melanee had an interest in pursuing an education in English. “I wanted to go into the English program just because I liked reading and writing in high school,” she said. “But I didn’t really want to go into the literature and Shakespeare side because it really intimidated me.” Melanee recalled looking through UMPI’s English degrees online. From here, Melanee said she was able to contact the professional communication and journalism professor, Dr. J (Jacqui Lowman), who answered her questions about the program. 

     Four years later, Melanee is happy she chose the PCJ program. “I’m really happy. I didn’t know much about it, like I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “But now that I’m in it and about to graduate from the program, I’m just really grateful. I’ve learned a lot about myself, academics and education as well.” 

     In addition to her athletic extracurriculars, Melanee has also been a staff writer for UMPI’s University Times for four years. “Dr. J reached out to me in the first couple weeks of my first semester of freshman year,” she said. “She reached out to me and I just didn’t reply because I didn’t know what to do. So, she reached out to me again and I emailed her back, because I didn’t know much about the club, and she said it would be really good to just join and see. She convinced me.” Melanee says that she looked at the experience as a way for to her meet cool people in her field of interest. “I’m really happy I did (join) because it got me to meet new people and to start journalism,” she said. “To start me writing for ‘Jo Shmo’ and learning how to write in a journalistic style from really early on.” 

     Looking back at her time at UMPI and in the PCJ program, Melanee is most grateful for the people she has met. Some of her favorite memories aside from softball and meeting people include her involvement with Dr. J’s non-profit, BEYOND LIMITS, and being a part of the PCJ program.  “Obviously meeting Dr. J and having experiences with her, but also having experiences with my classmates,” she said.

Melanee and Dr. J taking a photo to be used in the book she’s writing for her practicum.

     Dr. J shared her own favorite memory of Melanee. “There are so many memories,” she said. “We’ve had, I think, a lot of fun through the years and a lot of fun this semester because her two classes with me are one-on-one classes. We talk about everything under the sun, you know, the meaning of life. Besides that, though, one of my favorite memories was when we were in PCJ 316 and we had been flailing for a while. ‘What is the essence of this (Assistance Canines Training Services) organization? And Mel had to leave early because she had an interview scheduled. But she just got up and said, ‘I know what it is: Selflessness and Love,’ and left! And I’m like, that is the answer!” Dr. J said it was cool because if you were writing a story or movie, it would be like Elvis just left the building. “How do you top that?” she laughed. “She was spot on. It was absolutely the right answer. Whenever I think of that, I always laugh.”


     Something that Melanee is particularly proud of is her senior practicum project. “My senior project is a series of short stories that I’m writing for BEYOND LIMITS,” she said. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people. I’ve interviewed 14 people for it, and I wrote 14 stories on them. I got a lot of interviewing and writing experience under my belt.” She said that the overall experience has been really great because of the opportunity to tell Dr. J’s story. “That’s something I’m really honored to do because she’s such an amazing person,” she said. “I’m really grateful that Dr. J even let me do it.” Dr. J reflected on Melanee’s practicum project. “To imagine that she would have come from being so tentative about interviewing to deciding for her big senior project to do a collection of 14 interviews, at least half of them with people she didn’t know at all, and some of the people she had never met,” she said. “That took tremendous confidence. As a teacher, that makes my heart smile.”

     Melanee hopes that her UMPI wings help her find a career in writing and interviewing. “I’ll definitely miss UMPI’s campus,” she said, mentioning her fondness of the isolation in comparison to her hometown. “I’ll miss my friends and in terms of the PCJ program, I’ll definitely miss Dr. J, Saint and Dusty, and everyone involved with UMPI’s campus and the PCJ program.” Melanee wanted to give a special shoutout thanking Rachel Rice, who helped her with her marketing and PR knowledge as well as building connections on campus; Rowena McPherson for helping her with graphic design skills; and Coach Edwards, who helped her both athletically and socially over her years at UMPI. 


Celebrating Mothers in the UMPI Community

     As Mother’s Day quickly approaches, it is a great time to appreciate the mothers and special women in our lives. At the University of Maine at Presque Isle, there are many brilliant and loving mothers and mother-figures involved with the institution. There are lots of students, staff and faculty members on campus who are mothers and who deserve some recognition this year. Mother’s Day is on May 9 and it is a perfect opportunity to show every mother-figure in your life that you love and appreciate them. 

     With many states starting to ease COVID-19 restrictions, families are starting to plan some Mother’s Day festivities. While people look forward to this year’s Mother’s Day, they are still reflecting on 2020 and everything that the year took away from them. Many families spent Mother’s Day away from one another. Some families could not see their mothers in person during 2020, so this year’s holiday is something to be very appreciative of. 

     Rachel Rice is the director of UMPI’s marketing and communications department.  She is also the wife of UMPI President Ray Rice. Mother’s Day is a very special holiday for her family, especially her daughter, Naomi, and son, Zach. The Rice family usually spends Mother’s Day relaxing and enjoying quality time together. They eat breakfast together and if the weather is nice, they will spend some of the day outside. 

Ray and Rachel Rice with their children, Zach and Naomi.

     “Naomi and Zach are 12 years apart, so we’ve always joked that we’re the parents of two only children. While they are two very different kids, my favorite part of parenting with both of them are those moments that catch you off guard,” Rachel said. “When you realize how funny or smart or kind this little human being is becoming.” 

     The first person you see when you walk into the UMPI Admissions Office is Nancy Nichols, who works at the front desk. Although she is not a biological mother, many people in the UMPI community look up to her as a kind, motherly figure. Nancy brings energy, enthusiasm and kindness every day when she comes to work. Despite not being a biological mother, she is and has been a mother to many on UMPI’s campus.

     “I’ve always been someone who would ‘take care’ of others. That’s who I am and I am doing the same working in the admissions office. I ‘take care’ of visitors who come on campus. I want their visit to be memorable and fun,” Nancy said. “There is satisfaction in knowing that their visit on campus was an enjoyable experience. I want them to walk away with a positive experience.”

     Michelle Mishaan is an art professor at UMPI who has a young son. She usually spends the holiday with her family, but this year she will be driving to Ohio to spend it with her mother and two brothers. 

     “I usually spend Mother’s Day with my husband and my son. I do not have any immediate family in Maine. My favorite part of being a mother is watching my son grow and learn each day. I get to experience his joy of learning new things,” Michelle said. 

     Rachel, Nancy and Michelle are just a few more reminders of the amazing people working for UMPI. Take the time this Mother’s Day to send some love to every mother-figure in your life. If you are a part of the UMPI community, then you have many wonderful women to choose from.

Casualties of COVID

     All of us have had to make adjustments and sacrifices during the last year because of the COVID-19 virus. No one has had to do this more than those in assisted living facilities. For much of the last year, they have been quarantined in their facilities with limited human contact. Most of their human contact was with the people who work in those facilities. So how was it for the people who work in assisted living facilities?

     “We had no idea what we were in for,” Sharon Wills, a licensed practical nurse who has

worked in assisted living facilities for the last 30 years, said. “When all of the restrictions hit, we had to set up a new way of doing things.” No one had ever had to deal with something like this, where everyone had to be kept from everyone else.

     So what had to be done to handle COVID-19 because the elderly were the most likely to die from the virus? According to Wills, “First, we had to keep everyone isolated as much as possible. We cancelled all social activities such as dining, church, crafts, social hour and visits. We also had to keep our staff safe by doing as much testing as possible to ensure that our residents would be safe. We kept hoping that things would end quickly. But as time went on, we realized that was not going to happen. We knew that we were going to have to fill the holes somehow. We encouraged family to call their loved ones as much as possible. Then we allowed window visits when weather permitted. And then as staff we visited more with the residents than before the virus. All of this helped, but we knew it was never going to be the same as family visits.”

     On Oct. 1, 2020, Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota opened visits for assisted living facilities

Nursing home window visits.

in Minnesota. “Thank the Good Lord above!” was all assisted living resident Winifred Kunst could say when her family was able to visit again. “I went so long without seeing my children and grandchildren that I had to think hard to remember what everyone looked like when I saw them again.”                     

     Jan. 10, 2021, Winifred’s 96th birthday, she tested positive for COVID-19. This led to another two weeks of quarantine. Winifred  came through healthier than ever. “I have lived through two world wars, the birth of my four children, the death of all my brothers and sisters and the death of my husband. But going through this COVID was in many ways harder because I did not have my family with me.”

     Family time was one of the biggest casualties of COVID.  

Return To Action: Softball Edition

     Softball! That’s right, softball is making a comeback this spring. The softball team didn’t get the chance to play its season last year. It’s been a struggle getting through this past year without college athletics, but we found our way through and spring sports are now back. 

Sarah Duncklee throwing the ball to Melanee Terry at first.

     Zoe Alyward said, “I’m super excited for the season to start! Super nervous, though, to see everything fall out with COVID and how the games will go.” The team members are very excited to get back to action so that they can play with their teammates and grow as a team as they did in the fall. Zoe is a freshman and she is very excited to observe how the team plays together and get to know everyone on the team. She thinks the team looks really good. “We all realize that we have each other and we all know to practice how we play.  And we all are more than ready to play some softball.” Zoe thinks the older team members are extremely ready to play this season. They have all been putting in lots of work on and off the field to be able to make this season happen. Zoe also said,  “Softball is all some of us have right now, so it’s everything we’ve been waiting for.” 

     Sports are a big part of everyone’s lives because people have something to cheer for when they watch sports. But for athletes and coaches involved with the team it’s much more than something to cheer for. 

     Coach Alissa Edwards is extremely excited for the season to start and for the opportunity to get back on the field so that the team can play some outside competition. Coach Edwards said, “The girls have worked so hard this past year on properly preparing in order for us to be successful this season. This year the girls and I have really focused on continuously being grateful for any and every opportunity we have to step on the field or even be together as a team!” 

     The team looks ready to go Coach Edwards said. There have been a lot of rough patches, such as injuries, but the women have been doing a great job of picking one another up and making adjustments. Coach Edwards said, “We have a lot of very strong upperclassmen that have done an outstanding job of leading not only vocally, but also by example.” The softball also has many freshmen. 

     The freshmen have come in very determined and have already had such big impacts. Coach Edwards said, “I am definitely thrilled to be able to coach such a great group of young ladies. I’m looking forward to seeing all the success that’s to come for this upcoming season.” 

     This season has been a long time in the making and for Coach Edwards, it’ll be her first year in charge of the head coaching duties for the UMPI softball team. So even though this season is going to be a bit different with all the masking and distancing, Coach Edwards and the softball team members are in good spirits because they will get to play. 

     So get your UMPI softball apparel and bundle up at home and watch the softball team play this season. Buckle up and let’s get this season started!

May is For Mental Health!

   As we navigate through the ups and downs of this pandemic, it is really important to make sure that we take care of ourselves, not only physically, but mentally as well.  We can do this by participating in yoga and meditation exercises.  It can also be as simple as getting together with friends and going for walks outside in the sunshine, treating yourself to a massage or going to the spa with some friends to get your hair and nails done.  You can play games of basketball outside or play horseshoes with some friends on campus.  We also have a disc golf course on campus for students.  This is a great opportunity for friends to get together while still keeping distance.  

     I will be teaching a yoga session on Friday, April 30, at 2, either outside near the soccer field or in the MPR in the Campus Center if it is raining.  Come join me to relax before you enter into final exam week.    

     The Riverside Farmer’s Market will start the beginning of June on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.  This is such a wonderful market to get fresh vegetables, eggs and meats from local farmers.  Now is the time to get those grills ready to use all summer.  Here is a great summertime grilling idea!  


Chicken Kabobs:

You will need chicken breasts, green peppers, red peppers, mushrooms, onions, cherry tomatoes and whatever you like for a marinade.  I like teriyaki or sweet Thai chili sauce.  Cut up all your vegetables, and then cut your chicken and let it marinate for a couple of hours.  Then put on skewers and season with salt and pepper and cook them on your grill.  This is the perfect low calorie meal.

Return to Action

     Who’s ready for some UMPI baseball? Yes, the UMPI owls will be playing their spring sports this year and this includes UMPI’s baseball team. UMPI baseball has been waiting a long time to return to action and play games.  UMPI’s baseball team was turned around on its way to Florida last year and it left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths. 

     The pandemic has changed sports for the time being. When athletes play now they have to wear masks on the field or the court or wherever they play their prospective sports. 

UMPI Owls at Practice.

     The spring athletes are very excited to turn to play. Among those excited this season are baseball players Roberto De La Pena and William Stinson. 

     William said, “I’m very excited to be able to go out and play for my last year. Team looks good overall. I’m hoping that the work put in, in the off season will show. I think we are all ready for the season considering the amount of obstacles we’ve had to overcome with COVID.” William has played for UMPI all four seasons on the baseball team and is chomping at the bit to get going so that he can play one last season with his father, Coach Roger Stinson, at the helm. 

     Another senior coming back for a fifth season is Roberto De La Pena. He is commonly known on the team as “the Grandfather.” He earned this nickname because he is the oldest player on the UMPI baseball roster. Roberto said, “My excitement for this season has been a long wait! This is my last year and I worked very hard to get here.” Roberto comes all the way from California. He’s had to sacrifice a lot to come back a fifth year so that he can play his senior year of college baseball here at UMPI. 

     The baseball team members are very excited to be free of this COVID mess, even if it’s only seven innings at a time. Not to mention they all get to play together again, which everyone is very happy to do. Roberto also said, “The team looks good. We are young and need to work on some things, but I believe we should be good. I’m ready for the season.  I’ve dealt with a lot in the last year, and I’m ready to finish as an UMPI Owl.” Both of these players have been nothing but loyal to UMPI and live by that loyalty. 

     Speaking of loyalty, Coach Roger Stinson has also been here for quite some time. Coach Stinson said, “There are many words a person could use for the excitement level that I have for this season.  But I truly think the best word to use is thankful…. This has been a long time coming.” 

     Coach Stinson mentioned how proud he is of the players for going through the COVID protocols and not letting it get to them.  He is thrilled to rack up a few wins and show the UMPI community that the team is headed in the right direction. He thinks the freshmen need to work their way through the nerves of playing college baseball. Once they get through that, things will be looking up for the Owls. 

25 Year Game Warden Shares His Stories

     Maine is proudly the most heavily forested state in the country. The land in Maine is 89 percent forest. The state thrives with wildlife. It is a great treasure and a great responsibility. David Milligan, who was a game warden for 25 years, shared his memories of protecting Maine’s wildlife. 

David Milligan at his Ashland Police Department office.

     Milligan became a game warden in 1995. From high school, he wanted that career. He got a degree in environmental science with a major in conservation law enforcement. Afterward, he went to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and the Advanced Warden Academy. 

     Maine has only about 100 game wardens. Because game wardens take responsibility for large areas, they adjust their enforcement methods. “You have that great vast area, but you have certain spots here and there where you know people are going to fish, because that’s where the fishing’s good. So, you’re able to kind of prioritize those areas,” Milligan said.

     Game wardens often hide outdoors to watch hunters and fishermen. Regular policemen usually deal with reported crimes. On the other hand, game wardens deal more with crimes they witness. “As a game warden, we did a lot of surveillance,” Milligan said. “Lots of hiding in the bushes and actually watching people. Spying on people while they were fishing.”

     “It was a blast,” Milligan said. “I would watch somebody fish for like, an hour, and say, ‘Huh, every fish he catches, he’s throwing back. I guess he’s not going to kill a whole bunch of fish. So, I’m better off to move on to the next person.”

     “So, a lot of times they would never even know I was there,” Milligan said.

In the summer, he mainly managed fishing and watercrafts. “One nice thing about being a game warden was that every season brought a different thing,” Milligan said.

     One day Milligan monitored a brook. There, no one could fish more than five trout. He saw two people return to their car after fishing. Milligan greeted them and checked how many fish they caught and their licenses. “Their licenses were non-resident licenses from Vermont. But I saw the Maine plate and saw ‘There is somebody here from Maine. There must be another person here somewhere,’” Milligan recalled.

     Milligan asked about the third person and said he would wait to check him. They got nervous and one offered to drive and retrieve the third person. Milligan insisted on riding along in the front seat. The person looked upset at that but allowed Milligan to come. They drove for a while. “All of a sudden, I see this man,” Milligan said. “And he came out of the bushes on the side of the road, and he’s got this great big plastic bag full of brook trout. He’s got a great big smile on his face. And he’s kind of tiptoeing down like, ‘Ha! We got away with this!’ Then he walked up to my door, to where I was sitting. And he opened up the door. He saw me in the uniform. Then he was like, ‘Ah!’ and he threw it over his shoulder into the bushes,” Milligan said, laughing.

The First Amendment – A Presidential Tale

     America was built on democracy. But what happens when the heart of democracy is put at risk? Two reporters risked their lives, their careers and their credibility to protect the sanctity of America and the heart of journalism–the First Amendment. On a journey that started with an unwanted burglary reporting assignment, these two men work their way through the political ranks to prove the internal Republican involvement in the break-in attempt to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Little did they know that the investigation would lead all the way up to the White House and would lead to President Nixon’s resignation. 

     The film “All the President’s Men” follows Robert “Bob” Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigation after a break-in at the DNC at the Watergate office building. Throughout their journey of political discovery, Woodward and Bernstein run into one consistent obstacle: fear of retaliation from the most powerful man in America, President Nixon. While they interviewed many persons of interest, cooperation was consistently minimal. President Nixon’s administration attempted to block the Washington Post as well as the New York Times from publishing articles related to the incident at Watergate.  The First Amendment rights, however, were upheld as the court dictated that the generalization of “national security” was not specific enough to justify overhauling the First Amendment’s clause regarding freedom of the press. While Woodward and Bernstein’s discoveries throughout the course of their investigation were of deep concern to our political system, they allowed for much a much-needed transformation of the United States presidential campaign policies. Moving forward, elections have had increased transparency and regulation of funds dedicated to political elections. This scandal also paved the way for rebranding career paths in journalism as a catalyst for conversation around political justice.

Clinic Issues During COVID-19

     During the COVID crisis, what were clinics and their patients going through? Looking from the inside out helps everyone see what the staff were going through.

     Sitting down with a clinic supervisor can answer some of the issues the staff were facing. Clinic supervisor Leah Torgerson shared, “We were so confused because no protocols were in place when it all started. We had to make them up as we went along. Who were we going to see at the clinics or the hospitals? We had protective equipment, but those ran out quickly. Our suppliers were deluged with requests, so getting more supplies became an immediate problem.” These were some of the problems that the local clinics were facing.

Clinic lines, 2021.

     Administrators started to react to the virus when they realized that they were dealing with an epidemic. Torgerson went on to say, “The health care organization that runs our clinic met with all supervisors to consolidate services, which meant closing some of the clinics and directing our patients to hospitals and to certain clinics that remained open. This meant that some of our non-medical staff were furloughed for a time and an overload of work for the medical teams. Although it seemed like a good idea at first to furlough non-medical staff, it turned into a paperwork nightmare shortly after it was implemented because medical staff spent a great deal of their time filling out medical and insurance paperwork. Along with the normal paperwork, the government wanted additional paperwork, completed with each suspected and actual case of COVID. “Along with the COVID caseload, what happened to the normal medical cases that clinics handle? That part of the COVID crisis went largely ignored. Patients with other non-emergency medical appointments were told to wait until clinics could catch up with the unexpected overload of COVID appointments. “We really worried about our regular patients during the crisis. When we realized that COVID was not going to be an overnight cure, we decided to reach out to our regular patients to make sure that their ongoing medical issues were not becoming more serious issues,” Torgerson said.

     Clinic patient Teri Ward shared, “I really began to worry about my ongoing medical issues during the COVID crisis. Getting the COVID virus worried me a lot because I have many of the medical conditions that put me in the high-risk categories. But beyond the fear of COVID was my ongoing medical issues. I was having a difficult time getting an appointment for my health issues. It wasn’t until many of the COVID protocols were in place that I was able to see my doctors for my existing medical issues. That took away a lot of the stress that I had during COVID.”

     Everyone has been dealing with the stress of COVID but those with existing medical conditions have had to be concerned with contracting the COVID virus as well as the lack of attention to their existing medical conditions.