Only a click away
Reuben Caron knows firsthand what
laptop computers mean to Maine schoolchildren. As a technology
consultant for eight Aroostook County school districts, the University
of Maine electrical engineering technology major saw middle school
students, who had never used a computer, become overjoyed at their first
touch of a keyboard.
During his four years at UMaine, Caron helped the state's pioneering
laptop initiative to level the learning field for students without
computer access at home. He created a computer network for the eight
districts, providing online access to more than 2,000 students and 400
Reuben graduated May 8 and headed for a job with the Putney School in
Vermont as a network operations manager.
As a student engineer, Caron provided information technology (IT)
support for UMaine's Electrical Engineering Technology Program. He also
designed and installed computer systems for department labs and for
UMaine's Advanced Manufacturing Center.
Caron learned the fine points of technology sales and management working
for the Computer Connection, UMaine's technology purchasing unit. He
took academic courses in management information systems, computer
programming and electrical networks.
Working with the University of Maine System's computer network (UNET)
and Apple Computer, Caron conducted nightly backup operations for the
state's middle school laptop network. He found himself working in the
dead of night after daily traffic on the statewide school network had
In 2003, his summer job with Kannon Communications Inc., in New
Gloucester, Maine, involved consulting with businesses throughout New
England on their network needs. All the while, he continued to provide
services to the Maine Laptop Initiative.
In the long term, Caron hopes to start his own technology consulting
business in Maine. "Some of my friends and I are all going out on our
own right now, but once we build up our experience, we may come back
together as a group. We know there are exciting possibilities out
Telling Tourism's Story
Elizabeth Munding likes a good story, especially if it involves nature
As a journalist, she sought out people whose lives intertwined with
woods and water, and on vacations, she visited state and national parks
to learn more about the environment. While at the University of Maine
for a master's degree in parks, recreation and tourism, she spent two
weeks on Matinicus Rock off the Maine coast volunteering in the National
Audubon Society's Project Puffin. She also worked as a park ranger at
Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Now the Iowa native is putting her storytelling skills and love of
nature to work for Maine's diverse tourism industry. "I hope to give
tourism a higher profile in the state as our No. 1 industry," she says.
Working with Wilbur LaPage, associate professor of forest recreation,
and with support from the Maine Tourism Commission's Natural Resources
Committee, Munding has interviewed more than 40 people with direct and
indirect interests in tourism. She has talked to forest landowners,
managers of white-water rafting companies, owners of bed and breakfast
inns, and state tourism officials.
For her master's thesis, she will analyze their points of view, and
develop recommendations and guidelines to take advantage of the growing
international interest in nature-based tourism.
Consistent themes running through her discussions include the need for a
statewide database for tourism businesses to find opportunities in
training, grants and research; rural economic development plans that
target tourism-related businesses; and strategies to market Maine's
nationally significant experiences and resource qualities.
For example, certification of "green businesses" might guide customers
in making tourism choices, even before they get to the state, Munding
For state policy, an important issue is the balance between natural
resource protection and use of those same resources for business
purposes, she says.
Munding's work and the Maine Tourism Commission's focus on nature-based
tourism grew out of an initiative promoted in 2003 by Rep. Sean
Faircloth of Bangor, Maine. He suggested that Maine look at ways to
enhance opportunities for the public to see wildlife, particularly