Editor’s Letter

Dear folks,

Hello and welcome back! I hope everyone had a nice summer break and feels ready to take on all that this next semester has in store. Over the summer, I enjoyed my down time but could not have felt more ready for classes to start back up. If you do not know me personally, I am the type of person who likes the structure classes give me.

What a hot summer we had. The cold weather really snuck up on us. Down here in southern Maine, the leaves have just started to turn within the last few weeks. Alas, I am still sporting my Birkenstocks.

As always, I hope that everyone is doing well and I look forward to writing to you again soon!

Abi Davis, editor.

Bye for now,


Abi Davis

Getting to the Bottom of the Bottle of Drambuie, Part I

A photo snapped of Rod in the field somewhere in Vietnam.

On January 1, 1967, New York Times headlines buzzed with coverage of a deadly war raging thousands of miles away in Vietnam. By February, journalists hustled to be the first to break news of the quickly deepening tensions surrounding the Vietnam War: “2,000 in Capital Protest War: Clergy and Laymen March in Front of White House.”

Across the country, civilians everywhere were beginning to see the true effects the war was having. Rod MacKay was not oblivious to what was happening around him. “The Vietnam War was starting to become more noticeable, and a lot of stuff was going on,” he said. A young man from small-town life in Maine, Rod was a bright 18-year-old. His family had moved several years earlier to southern California. “Several friends and I had been talking about it one day,” he said. “We knew a lot of people had been drafted and we just had a few drinks one night and decided we were all going to enlist. So, that’s what we did.”

Rod knew the next step was going to be a tough one: telling his family. “First I had to decide to go home and tell my folks I had enlisted, because they had no clue. Which was…,” he laughed. “That was an experience. My mother was very upset. My father looked at me and he was a bit upset, too.” Both of Rod’s parents had served in World War II. “My mother, the lieutenant nurse, and my father the sergeant,” he said. “So, they knew what could possibly happen.”

Rod’s sister Shari, standing with framed photos of her brothers Rod (left) and Craig (right).

Rod’s parents were not the only ones horrified that he had enlisted. His younger sister, Shari, shared in their fear. “It broke my heart because I had heard dad’s stories,” she said. “And everything in the news that was going on at the time—the idea that he would be over there putting himself in such danger—and I know that because of the position that he had. He would be in frontlines and stuff like that, clearing areas in the jungle. Doing all these things that he did, it just terrified me.” Though scared for her brother, Shari knew there was no stopping him. “I knew my brother,” she said. “I knew he wasn’t just there to be some idiot. He was doing what he thought was right for his country.”

Fall Eats: Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

There is nothing more exciting than good soup and grilled cheese, except for maybe when it is homemade. This recipe is not only fast and easy, but also delicious and great for a cozy afternoon at home.

Finished look! What a tasty dinner.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced or chopped
  • 2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 8 large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, optional


Good soup!
  1. In a pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add onion and cook, stirring as needed, until translucent (about 8 minutes).
  2. Add San Marzano peeled tomatoes (juice and all), stock and sugar. Bring to a low simmer. Cook uncovered for 12 minutes or until it has thickened.
  3. Add in the heavy cream, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Using an immersion blender or regular blender equipped to handle soup, puree soup until there are no large chunks left.
  5. OPTIONAL: stir in parmesan cheese.


Fall Eats: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Searching for the perfect fall treat? Look no further: these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are the answer to all your fall flavored cravings.

Finished cookies!


  • 1 can pumpkin puree (make sure it is not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.
  2. In a bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla and egg. Use an electric mixer and mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Add the dry flour mixture and the wet baking soda mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix this well.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips and stir until evenly combined.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, drop amounts of the cookie dough on the greased or parchment-covered cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool before removing them from the sheet.

Editor’s Letter

Dear readers,

    It appears the time has come for me to retire for the summer, as this is our last issue of the 2020-2021 school year. What an extraordinary adventure this past academic year has been. To think that this time last year we were at the start of the COVID pandemic to now having access to vaccinations is wild. It has certainly been a ride. Hopefully, we can begin to come back together in our studies and everyday life in the fall semester. 

     I would like to congratulate every person in UMPI’s 2021 graduating class and give special recognition to the U Times’ very own Melanee Terry. Melanee has been a staff writer for the U Times since her first semester at UMPI. From one journalist to another, I hope your snowy owl wings help you find the career of your dreams! I have no doubts that all the 2021 graduates will do amazing things.  

     As for the summer, I hope everyone has a good one. May the sun be hot and the days feel long. I surely know that I need a break. 

     Till this fall, yours truly,

Pictured: Abi Davis, UTimes editor.

     Abi Davis

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. 


Editor’s Letter

Greeting folks,


     I hope you’re doing well! The weather is warming up out there. I hate to admit it, but I’ve broken out a single pair of shorts. Of course, I can’t wear shorts without sandals. In other words, I’ve held out as long as humanly possible to break out the Birkenstocks and here we are. If I’m being honest, though, I actually waited a little longer to break them out than last year. I recall doing a lot of crazy things at the start of quarantine (cutting bangs, joining TikTok, etc.) and wearing Birks with wool socks in early March was definitely one of them. Although I don’t remember even putting my sandals away last year. At least I can say that I had to go searching for them before I could wear them again this year. 

     As always, I hope you’re doing well. We’re past the halfway mark of the semester and I hope I speak for all of us when I say I couldn’t be more excited for summer. Whether you plan to work as much as you can or take it easy, I feel like we’re all in need of a little break (whatever that may look like for you)! 

     Until next time,

Pictured: Abi Davis, UTimes editor.

     Abi Davis

Oprah Winfrey’s Royal Interview: A Catalyst for Discussions

     Oprah Winfrey’s two-hour interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has sparked conversations around the world, as new details about their departure from Britain were revealed. Allegations of racism, insensitivity and deep-rooted issues within the royal system have left many with questions and varying commentary. According to television network CBS, more than 49.1 million people have streamed the interview. Among those viewers are Jack Bisson, 20, and Maraia Nason, 20, who attended a viewing party of the event. 

Prince Harry and Meghan with Oprah Winfrey, taken from their interview.

     One of the most arguably shocking revelations made in the interview was in regard to Meghan’s mental health. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” Meghan said in the interview. “And that was a very clear and real and frightening, constant thought. And I remember how he [Harry] just cradled me.” It was after this that Meghan shared that she had gone to the institution to ask for mental health services. She, however, was denied access to help. 

     Bisson weighed in. “On the one hand, I sort of get how the royal family wants to keep their perfect image for the public,” he said. “But that being said, I think that denying anybody help when they’re sick is wrong. Meghan straight up saying she wanted to kill herself indicates the need for some sort of medical attention and the fact that the royal family would not acknowledge this is reminiscent of the situation Diana was in back when she did her interview. She basically said the same thing then that Meghan is now.” Bisson went on to raise points about the Royals’ naivete regarding mental health.

     Nason shared similar thoughts. “The way in which Meghan was denied mental health services from the institution was distasteful,” she said. “Essentially because of her status and the attention it would draw, she could not receive help from a hospital. She was pushed into a corner, unable to access any treatment. This denied access must have only further contributed to her mental illness.” 

Maple Farm Keeps Up the Maple Sunday Tradition for Generations

     The history of maple sugaring and production in Maine goes back far before the Pilgrims had landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Native Americans had been making sugar from the sweet sap of maple trees for many years. Up until the 15th century when sugar cane was brought to the Americas, maple sugar was the primary form of sugar in the United States. Now, pure maple syrup is thought of as a delicacy. In Maine, Maine Maple Sunday is a day for sweet tooth fanatics to enjoy an organic and preservative-free option while supporting small and local businesses. 

Kiera Greene pictured in front of her families sugar shack in Sebago, Maine.

     Maple Sunday is held annually on the fourth Sunday of March. Kiera Greene’s family lives in Sebago, Maine. Her family is quite familiar with what it takes to get ready for such an exciting annual event. “We start by tapping trees as soon as the weather cooperates,” she explained. “The nights have to be below freezing and the days have to be above freezing for sap to run.” Greene’s family owns and operates Greene Maple Farm. The farm was founded in 1969 by Ted and Loretta Greene. “I have been helping out with Maine Maple Sunday ever since I could walk,” she said. “I’ve had the same tree that I’ve tapped ever since I was two-years-old.” 

     The process of getting the maple sap from the tree to the bottle and to a maple lover is a lengthy one. “Making maple syrup is quite long,” Greene said. “You have to have enough sap to boil and once that has boiled, you put it through filters and put it in the finish pan, where it will be packaged once it is ready.” Then you have to consider the number of taps. “Last year, Greene Maple Farm had around 971 taps,” she said. “But this year we’ve surpassed 1,000.”