By Haiyu Zheng, Contributing Writing
UMF Mantor Library recently held the “Live. Travel. Adventure” Photo Contest, which invited both professional and amateur photographers on campus to enter their best adventure photos for a chance to win a prize. Thirty-six astonishing photographs from twelve candidates were displayed on the gallery wall to ignite people’s sense of wonder by providing extraordinary stories.
According to Mantor Library staff member Kelly Boivin, “Live. Travel. Adventure” is the theme of UMF’s annual reading program “On Our Minds” this year. Their goal is to get as many people on campus as possible reading and talking about the same book and sharing the reading experience.
The Lodhi Gardens (Brianna Martin)
Boivin believed that there was no better way to get people involved than a travel photography contest. “This theme just begs for a photo contest,” Boivin said. “We got twelve people submitting the photos, and every single photo is somebody’s adventure.”
UMF senior Brianna Martin was surprised when finding out that she won both the first and second place prizes of $75 and $25 with her images shot from her iPhone on her semester abroad in India. “I think people like [the photos] because they can be transported to that environment when seeing them,” said Martin.
In the prize presentation ceremony, Martin was awarded by the sponsor of this contest, Ann Arbor, a local professional photographer in Farmington. Standing in front of the gallery wall, Martin told the stunning story behind her photos.
“The picture with the powder on my face, that was during Holi, a Hindu festival which symbolizes the win of good over evil,” said Martin. “People walked on the street and threw colored powder on each other. The pink on this side of my face was from a random man who came to me and put his hand on my face and smeared the powder.” Martin laughed, and lifted her eyebrows as if she could still remember the initial shock that she received during that special moment.
Martin thought that picture symbolized her full immersion in a different culture by trying something new even if it was not very comfortable, which was an adventure.
A Selfie of Brianna Martin in Holi Shenanigans in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Brianna Martin)
The photo that won second place was shot in Lodhi Gardens in New Delhi. When capturing that scene, Martin stood in the darkness looking through the brightness of the gardens located on the other side of the path.
“It didn’t seem real to me. It was so beautiful. It made me think of the Jungle Book in reality,” Martin gasped.
UMF Senior Sam Carignan, who submitted three photos of his trip in Germany, showed his appreciation to Martin’s photographs. “Knowing the whole story behind it helped me to understand the photo, but I think they’re already beautiful by themselves,” said Carignan. He commented that Martin did a really great job on the Lodhi Garden photograph. “The darker side narrows down the focal point, and that focal point was beautiful. I’m glad she won,” Carignan said, with a satisfied tone as if he himself won the competition, leaning back in his chair.
The photo contest provided UMF students an opportunity to showcase people’s attitude and quality of life. Instead of merely showing scenes, it’s a buffet of different lifestyles. People learned more from the competition than what they expected. “I learned that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take pictures that make others feel happy or certain emotion,” said Martin.
To make it completely open to everyone, the contest organizer offered two ways of voting. One was voting in-person in the library. The photos were all numbered on the wall and people who passed by wrote down the number of their favorite images. The other method was online voting. All the photos were posted on Facebook. Any reaction on Facebook was counted: likes, smiley faces, or comments. Boivin explained that they didn’t put any boundaries on the voting.
The photos are still displayed in the library. More information about the coming activities held by Mantor Library can be found on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mantorlibrary.
By Alicia Davis, Contributing Writer
CAs in the UMF residence halls are mentally ready to help students during finals week, which is one of the busiest for CAs throughout the entire semester. This is Josh Beckett’s third semester as a CA, this year in Purington. “We have a lot more duty hours because we have to be around to check people out of their rooms,” said Beckett. “The office is typically constantly staffed from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. For finals week, it’s staffed all day long,” he said. CAs feel they have more to do around campus than other college students, but especially during finals week.
Margaret Fogarty, a CA in Scott North, said, “I think we work all the time, so if I’m busy studying for my exams and someone needs me, I have to stop what I’m doing and help them,” said Fogarty. “I’m a lot busier than the average student, [especially] during this week,” she said.
CAs also have to stay on campus longer than most other students. After finals week is over, CAs have to wait extra time before they can go home. “We stay until all the rooms are checked.We have to come back early in January for spring training,” said Beckett. “This gives us a shortervacation than a typical college student,” he said.
During finals week, CAs have a few extra jobs. “There is a CA on duty throughout the day, in addition to the night shift in order to help people who are checking out,” said Loren Marshall, a CA in Dakin.
Some students have been inspired by the work CAs do. Sage van Eekhout is a CA in Stone, and decided to become a CA starting her sophomore year. “I wanted to be a CA because my freshman year all of my friends were CAs, and I saw the impact they made on myself and others,” she said. “I wanted to be there for someone like they were for me.”
Some residence halls have programs that are run during finals week to help students. “In Scott we have a program called Destress Fest, where there are different activities,” said Fogarty.
“There will be yoga, Just Dance, bubble wrap popping, we have different ways to reduce stress,” she said. Collin Regan is in his third semester as a CA in Scott North. Regan said his favorite thing about being a CA is “making the connections and being there for people. Having the knowledge that I am a resource and I am available is a good feeling,” he said.
These CAs work together to create the feeling of a community on campus and in their residence halls to help students feel at home. CAs are always available to help, whether it is tips on studying for finals or any other stresses in life.
By Lindsay Mower – Staff Reporter
When Farmington native and Biology Major Hailey Mealey isn’t outside collecting bugs for the entomology course she’s enrolled in this semester, she will most likely be found crafting works of art for Hailey Jane Creations, the grassroots art business she started up last fall.
Biology Major and local artist Hailey Mealey. (Photo by Waylon Wolfe Photography)
Creating art has been a consistent outlet for expression for Mealey, though she became increasingly inspired to turn her passion into a way to sustain herself financially through the persuasion of her family, who encouraged her that people would most definitely be interested in buying her artwork. “I’ve always made art because it’s just something I super love,” said Mealey.
Mealey says she always thought that no one would be interested in her artwork. “My family would always try to convince me to sell my work, and I would be like, guys, no one wants to buy an eight-foot painting of an eyeball turning into a lizard,” she laughed, adding, “I don’t know a lot of people in the market for that.”
Having her high school art teacher at Mount Blue High School, Roger Bisaillon, as a mentor also played a pivotal role early on in encouraging Mealey that she had a gift that had potential. Bisaillon, who recently retired, and his wife are both successful local artists in Farmington. “I was really lucky to have him in class,” said Mealey. “He really guided me through that period of development and was always so supportive: he still is.”
After graduating from Mount Blue High School in 2014, Mealey studied Art Education at the University of Maine at Orono for a year before deciding to transfer back to her hometown university to pursue her passion for Biology. “Sometimes I get a little hometown-angsty being back in the area, but the Biology program is so great here and all the professors and students are so nice. There is a different atmosphere returning than having grown up here,” said Mealey.
Paintings from Mealey’s bug series. (Photo Courtesy of Hailey Mealey)
Though she is now studying Biology, Mealey hasn’t given up making art, she has even found a way to effortlessly combine her pair of passions. “I realized that what I was learning at Orono wasn’t what I loved about art… I love Biology. It’s just such a wide field, I can do so many things with it, and it’s inspired a lot of my artwork too.” Mealey smiles as she describes the bug series she has been working on, influenced by her love for the outdoors and the entomology class she is currently taking.
The idea to create her own business sprung to life around the time she left her job, according to Mealey. “I wanted to be able to focus on school, while still doing the things I enjoy, and I was just in a really unhappy place,” she said.
For Christmas Mealey painted some watercolor portraits of her and her siblings for her Grandparents and uploaded them to Facebook to demonstrate a custom gift she could make for someone else as a means to make some money. To her surprise, the post caught attention immediately. She began to successfully sell some of her work on Etsy, and has since launched her own website at haileyjaneco.com.
Mealey’s Maine inspired creations. (Photo Courtesy of Hailey Mealey)
Along with Mealey’s zany creations like eyeballs morphing into lizards, her creations take on many different themes. Facebook users may have stumbled across her popular watercolor designs in their newsfeed, like her rainbow painting of Bernie Sanders that she posted last year around the election, or her Maine-centric art. One of her more recent works features an outline of the state of Maine featuring a watercolor painting of ‘It’ from the Stephen King movie released earlier this fall painted inside.
As the holiday season approaches, Mealey has been balancing her class work with fulfilling custom orders. Although she will be busy for the next few weeks, she will be accepting orders again very soon. She can be contacted on her Facebook page under Hailey Jane Creations.
By Emily Mokler – Contributing Writer
UMF students gathered in the alleyways of downtown Farmington to create and perform art as part of the Water Bear Confabulum, an alternative arts festival hosted by the UMF Art Gallery.
The event included a 5k run, with proceeds benefitting local high school students attending UMF who have an interest in both the arts and the environment.
Photo Courtesy of Emily Mokler
Visitors saw the downtown change with art unfolding from UMF students and professionals. Students in a Drawing class drew each other in chalk, an exercise known as blind contouring. Abby Sanborn, a freshman Creative Writing, and Art major was one of the students drawing in the alleyway next to Renys with chalk. Each figure had distinct blocks of color.
Student working on a mural near the alleyway by the Homestead Bar & Bakery on Broadway. Photo Courtesy of Emily Mokler
“The point of the exercise is to draw what our eyes see, not what our mind sees,” Sanborn said as she rubbed the chalk into the wall, building up the vibrant color.
Following the sound of drums led to students dressed as animals, and statues of animals dressed like humans. AJ Mae, a freshman, wore a gown made of trash bags and set up an installation using reflective, everyday objects ranging from party masks to CDs.
“Different people see themselves in different places and in different ways,” said Mae. According to Mae, the installation was inspired by how “the media frames how we see ourselves, and distorts our expectations.”
Another alley had large charcoal drawings of landscapes, and visitors were asked to smudge the original work into whatever they wanted with bread. A volunteer spoke about exhibits in Bonney Woods. There were interactive installations about asking for phrases
By Gavin Elliott – Contributing Writer
UMF recently hosted a Peace Corps panel that featured current, prospective and past members of the organization discussing their goals to help people in need, their uncertain expectations and how the program helped them.
The event kicked off with a video from 2016 UMF graduate Elizabeth Ferry, who is currently stationed in Tanzania. The audience of 40-some-odd people watched as Ferry walked around her modest home.
“Why the Peace Corps? It wasn’t the plan,” Ferry pondered. “I went to the same panel you are at now, heard the people speak, was pretty inspired, and thought, why not pursue education and service at the same time and why not do it abroad?”
Reflecting on her 17 months of service with a big smile painted across her face, Ferry stated that “[joining] has been the best decision I’ve ever made…every day [the secondary school students] teach me more than I teach them.”
Afterwards, 2016 graduate Katy Schrader talked about her first year in Mozambique as a Peace Corps volunteer via video. She discussed her previous expectations of possibly living in a small village without running water and electricity and her surprise when she got placed in a “three bedroom house with an indoor bathroom, running water, and energy.”
Schrader also talked about her role as a teacher of future primary school teachers in Mozambique. “I spend lots of time watching my kids student teach,” said Schrader. “I know that my future students are changing education in Mozambique. It has been really amazing to watch the transformation of how they first started student teaching to how I have taught them.”
Katy Schrader with all the second year students from the teachers training college on their last day of class. Next year the student teach for a whole year.
Photo Courtesy of Katy Schrader.
People then got to hear from two UMF seniors; Danny Marshall, who will be departing to Mongolia in May to co-teach English and Lindsay Gorman, who is hoping to travel to Ghana to teach special education.
Together, they discussed the long process of applying for the Peace Corps and suggested that anyone seriously interested should apply the summer before their senior year.
Members who had already served then began to speak of their expectations versus the reality. Linda Beck, a UMF professor in Political Science said, “when I went in, I envisioned all of the Senegalese I would get to know, and I made wonderful friends, but what I hadn’t anticipated was what incredible fellow Americans I would meet while in Senegal…one of which became my husband.”
Grinning, President Kathryn Foster remembered that she feared she would be served “goat eyeballs by a host family and expected to eat them” when deployed in Swaziland.
The crowd laughed at her recollection. Although Foster never was served goat eyeballs, she did learn a great deal about “how to be and live and be successful in a different culture.”
The previous Peace Corps’ members also discussed how much they did outside their designated area of work. Jo Josephson, one of the Peace Corps’ first members to travel to Ghana in 1963, was appointed to teach biology but ended up working on literary magazines, coaching soccer and driving the school lorry.
“I even worked in a bush hospital on the weekends helping deliver babies!” said Josephson.
Wrapping up the panel, President Foster discussed the support of the Peace Corps. “The first ten weeks when I went [to Swaziland] was just with other Peace Corps volunteers learning about the culture, food, ceremonies, and language,” she said. “So, you really feel like you have a network, even when you’re posted to a remote village.”
To learn about opportunities to challenge yourself and be a part of the Peace Corps contact Career Counselor Cyndi McShane at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.