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UMaine Today Magazine


Shooting for a Healthy Sports Experience

Joan Benoit Samuelson
Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the Olympic's first women's marathon, speaking at the Maine Sports Summit.

Photo by Michael York

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More than 300 student-athletes, coaches, principals, athletic directors and other school officials from Maine were on campus in March to help an 18-member statewide panel develop a national model for quality interscholastic sports programs that complement academic standards and school objectives.

Students participating in the Maine Sports Summit represented 87 high schools and 24 middle schools of all sizes.

The Summit was sponsored by the UMaine Sport and Coaching Education Initiative's "Coaching Maine Youth to Success," a federally funded project designed to provide a blueprint to help keep the sports experience enjoyable and in perspective.

Students at the summit called for stronger communication between athletes, coaches and parents; positive sports learning environments; quality coaching education, including the importance of teaching life skills; more fun in sports, with winning kept in perspective; and consistent and fair treatment of athletes of all abilities.

Among practices identified as detrimental to a healthy sports experience: bad attitudes; lack of respect; parental politics; coaches favoring the best players; negative comments and inappropriate behavior by parents and fans; win-at-all-cost attitudes; and the media's role in glorifying negative behavior at events.

Their input will be used by the Coaching Maine Youth to Success panel in crafting a working philosophical base for improving interscholastic athletics and supporting effective coaching education.

Since October, the panel has been working to identify major themes and concerns in interscholastic sports, including sportsmanship, academics, opportunity to play, quality of coaching, role of parents, and health and fitness.

Recommendations from the panel are expected in early fall.

The UMaine Sport and Coaching Education Initiative is co-directed by Robert Cobb, dean of the UMaine College of Education and Human Development, and J. Duke Albanese, lead policy adviser for the Great Maine Schools Project at the Senator George J. Mitchell Scholarship Research Institute in Portland, and former Maine Commissioner of Education.

Celebrating settlement

Before the Pilgrims founded the first New England Colony in the Plymouth area of Massachusetts, and before the Virginia Company established an English colony in Jamestown, French explorers charted the Northeast coast, from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod.

The explorers also established the first French settlement in North America on what is now a 6.5-acre island in the St. Croix River dividing the United States and Canada. This French settlement in 1604 marked the beginning of permanent European presence in North America north of Florida, predating both Plymouth (1620) and Jamestown (1607). It also marked the beginning of an enduring French presence in North America continuing to the present.

This year, on the 400th anniversary of that settlement, Canada and the United States celebrate a shared French heritage. Festivities are planned June 25–July 4 on both sides of the border by the Ste-Croix 2004 Coordinating Committee, representing local interests and government agencies from both Canada and the States, including the U.S. National Park Service and Parks Canada, which jointly interpret the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.

Complementing interpretive approaches to the anniversary will be the distribution of a bilingual educational map developed by cartographer Mike Hermann at the University of Maine Canadian-American Center, with editorial assistance from the St. Croix International Waterway Commission and National Park Service.

One side of the map illustrates and describes the settlement of Acadia, 1600–06, including the first settlement established by King Henry VI's representative, Pierre Dugua, the Sieur de Mons, and geographer and cartographer Samuel Champlain. The reverse side uses detailed population distribution maps to trace Acadians' deportation in the mid-1700s, their return and dispersal in the Maritimes, and their location today.

Activism in art

For University of Maine senior Jennifer Chiarell of Bangor, Maine, the well-known theme "Think Globally, Act Locally" was a call to action that she expressed through sculpture.

The double-major in women's studies and studio art created Vine Globes — hanging spheres up to 10 inches in diameter, each containing Chiarell's version of "worry dolls," 2–3 inches tall. The piece is now installed at the Frauenmuseum in Bonn, Germany, as part of a juried exhibit, Globalia, featuring the works of 26 contemporary women artists worldwide.

The Frauenmuseum exhibit is on display through May 2004.

Chiarell says the inspiration for the work came from a women's studies class on women and globalization. The artist made her own set of worry dolls to represent the hope that poverty and conditions such as inadequate housing and unaffordable healthcare can improve for women around the world.

Chiarell's worry dolls are cocooned in the vine globes of different densities to represent the many obstacles facing women worldwide. Most of the spheres are suspended at different heights to be at eye level with viewers. A couple of unsuspended globes can be picked up for closer examination, implying that "everyone is responsible, everyone can make a difference toward fair treatment of women," says Chiarell in her artist's statement.

The business of homeland security

Maine businesses will join local, state and federal officials in a conference at the University of Maine May 14 to discuss programs and business practices in the homeland security market. Maine Gov. John Baldacci and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins will co-chair the meeting, which will feature keynote speaker Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border security and transportation in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The purpose of the conference is to pro-vide Maine busi- nesses, research-ers and local officials with information about federal procurement policies and grant opportunities.

"Too often, small businesses find it difficult to navigate the federal contracting process. This conference will help them to understand where to turn first for the information they need," says Collins, who chairs the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that oversees the Department of Homeland Security.

Baldacci notes that the conference will provide small businesses and first responders throughout Maine with direct access to federal homeland security personnel and various state resources. Seminars will focus on federal and state procurement policies, supply chain management, emergency response, and research and development.

More information on the conference is on the Web at

Saucier sisters

While their career possibilities range from industrial engineering to biomedical research, four sisters from Millinocket, Maine, are all getting their start by majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Maine.

Jennifer, who graduates this year, was the first sibling to enroll at UMaine, followed by Rebecca. This year, twin sisters Sarah and Susan also are on campus, along with their mother, Karen, who is completing a master's degree in literacy education. Both parents are UMaine alumni. The Saucier sisters are following in the engineering footsteps of their father, Richard, who worked in the Great Northern Paper mill in Millinocket for many years and now is an owner of an engineering consulting firm.

Studying Sherman Alexie

As a prelude to a much-anticipated campus visit in April by Native American author, poet and screenwriter Sherman Alexie, the University of Maine offered a five-week course based on his work.

The course, "Building the Fire: Novels, Short Stories, Poetry and Films of Sherman Alexie," was taught by UMaine Native American Studies Director Maureen Smith and Associate Professor of English Margo Lukens.

Alexie's talk April 19 was "Without Reservations . . . an Urban Indian's Comic, Poetic, and Highly Irreverent Look at the World."

Alexie, a Spokane Coeur d'Alene who grew up in Wellpinit, Wash., is an internationally acclaimed author of 16 books. He also is an award-winning director whose screenplay, Smoke Signals, based on one of his short stories, was the first feature film produced, written and directed entirely by Native Americans.

‘I'll take food science to win'

Food was on the minds of college students attending a competition at the University of Maine April 17, but the Jeopardy!-style event was no pie eating contest.

The North Atlantic Area Food Science College Bowl tested students' knowledge of topics ranging from microbiology and sensory evaluation to food product engineering.

Teams of two graduate and two undergraduate students represented UMaine, Cornell, the University of Delaware, Rutgers University, the University of Massachusetts and Penn State.

The winning team is in national competition in Las Vegas in July, sponsored by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

Members of UMaine's team participate in the Food Science Club, whose faculty advisor is Denise Skonberg.

Banding Together

Three bands, 150 musicians and four conductors took the stage at the Maine Center for the Arts this spring for the eighth annual Three Bands Concert to benefit Acadia Hospital in Bangor, Maine.

Young instrumentalists from Orono High School and Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden shared the spotlight with members of UMaine's Concert Band.

Joining the musicians was Robert Sheldon, an internationally recognized composer of wind band music. Sheldon led clinics with the three bands prior to the concert, then served as guest conductor when each performed one of his compositions. The three bands combined for the concert's grand finale.

According to UMaine Sports Bands Director Christopher White, the concert provides an opportunity to see and hear the performance progress of music students of different ages and skill levels.

Fast and Fuel efficient

In the world of snowmobiling, fast is good. But for a team of University of Maine mechanical engineering students, a cleaner, quieter, more fuel-efficient machine is better.

In March at the national Clean Snowmobile Challenge, the Arctic Cat snowmobile rebuilt by 12 UMaine students finished third out of 14 teams. Even more important, the UMaine team received the Gage Products Award for Best Fuel Economy and tied with the University of Wisconsin at Platteville for the Emitec Award for Best Value.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison won the competition with a hybrid gas-electric motor design.

The annual Clean Snowmobile Challenge was hosted this year by the Society of Automotive Engineers at Michigan Technological University.

The competition focuses on reducing noise and emissions, and creating a reliable machine, says Michael "Mick" Peterson, UMaine associate professor of mechanical engineering, who advises the team. The team also has created computer models to maximize the chance of good performance.


UMaine Today Magazine
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