Everybody Loves Eloise

Everybody Loves Eloise

By Caitlin Raye Contributing Writer

  In a vacant South Dining Hall, surrounded by the loud noise of the radio coming from the overhead speaker, sat a humble and beloved member of the Sodexo employee staff.

   Eloise Wallace, a Sodexo employee, can almost always be found in the South Dining Hall twice a day, greeting students and swiping dining hall cards with a smile. Before working in the dining hall, Wallace taught at the childcare center on campus for 25 years, has been a student herself, and even worked on-campus while she was a high school student. Wallace has worked at UMF for a total of 34 years.

Eloise Wallace is a beloved member of both Sodexo and the UMF community.

   Marshall Maxsimic, a junior, described Wallace in an email interview as someone who “is just always smiling and always interacting with students.” Maxsimic continued by saying, “Students know that if they are having a bad day, they will see Eloise later and she will ask them how things are going or wish them a happy Friday. There is no better feeling than entering the weekend with a ‘happy Friday’ from Eloise.”

   When asked what qualities make her a good employee, Wallace was unable to say but expressed that, “I try to make sure I greet each [student] that comes through and that I do it with a smile. I try to make sure that everybody feels that they are an important part of this and want to come back again.”

   Wallace continued by saying, “IIt doesn’t matter who anyone is or what their dress is, what their skin color is, what their orientation is. People are people!”

   Eila McCulloch, a freshman, said in an email interview, “I have a very difficult name to pronounce. It is always mispronounced or butchered in some way, shape or form.” McCulloch said that “[Wallace] would stop me and make sure she was saying my name correctly whenever I came into the dining hall for lunch, until she was sure she had it right. It absolutely warmed my heart to know that someone would care that much about the students they see every day, especially when I am just one person of thousands on this campus.

   Maxsimic said, “[Wallace] always welcomes me with a smile to the dining hall. She also knows pretty much everyone’s name and uses their name when she greets them. I think that is pretty telling about her friendliness.”

   In her years working at the dining hall, Wallace has won the “Dining Hall Staff Award,” voted by students each year. Wallace has received this award around 8 to 11 times. The award has recently been renamed the Eloise Wallace Dining Center Award.  

   Wallace expressed her gratitude by saying, “I’m very honored and I appreciate it. I think being recognized by you students is so much more than somebody walking out of the office and somebody said something like good job.”

   While Wallace is thankful for the support and praise from the students, she explained that she no long wishes to be picked to receive the award because it is now named after her and feels she should not being given her own award. Wallace expressed that is it time for someone else to receive the recognition they deserve.

  When talking about the award, Wallace felt that the whole dining hall staff deserved the award. “We are a team and it’s a team effort. And when somebody is out, we notice,” Wallace said. “This team, this group, nobody has a grudge for anyone. You just fill in. They do it for me so why not do it from them. I think that goes all the way around.”

   Maxsimic and McCulloch both agree that Wallace is likable. Maxsimic said, “She is so likeable because she is very genuine in how she treats everyone. She is one hundred percent real and she honestly makes everyone feel good when they are interacting with her.” McCulloch echoed Maxsimic’s opinion by adding, “She is so likeable because she has such a warm personality and always radiates positivity.”

   Outside of working, Wallace enjoys spending time at sporting events on campus, her favorite being basketball. Wallace enjoys the opportunity to go and watch, as well as speak with the players.

   Outside of UMF, Wallace enjoys sewing and making quilts. She also likes to crochet and make afghan blankets. Along with sewing and crocheting, Wallace enjoys getting outside, going for walks and meeting up with friends. “I just enjoy living. I enjoy life and people,” Wallace said.


UMF Fullbright Scholar Teaches English in Spain

UMF Fullbright Scholar Teaches English in Spain

By Kristen Hill Contributing Writer

Travis Bent, a 2016 UMF graduate, spent nine months in Madrid, Spain as an English teaching assistant (ETA), which was fully funded through the Fulbright Scholar Program.

   “One of the main objectives of a Fulbright Grantee is to be a “cultural Ambassador” Bent said. The Fulbright Program is an American scholarship program which encourages international education exchange. Graduates across the nation compete for this scholarship that gives them the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach abroad. The only basic requirement is a U.S. bachelor’s degree but Bent said, “One should keep in mind that you are competing with a nation of applicants, so it is highly competitive.”

   Bent’s teachers pushed him to apply for this scholarship because they believed he had a great chance of getting it. The first decision he had to make was whether he wanted to do research or be a teaching assistant. He then had to choose which country he wanted to teach in. Bent graduated with a Bachelor’s in History as well as minors in Spanish, French and International and Global Studies.

2016 Graduate and Fullbright Scholar, Travid Bent.

   “My main thought with this was, I am only going to apply to the place that I could dream of myself being in, a country that I loved and knew a lot about, which was Spain,” Bent said. He began taking Spanish is eighth grade and continued all the way through college.

   Bent spent his time in Spain as an ETA at IES Ramiro de Maeztu, one of the biggest public schools in the country, where he taught three classes a day.

   “The school I taught at was a bilingual school, so I was actually teaching subjects in English rather than Spanish,” Bent said. Bent taught classes on 20th century history and social media. He usually worked around 18 hours a week, and in addition, he taught private classes that he could charge significantly more for.

   “The English level of the students was extremely high, which made my job easy,” Bent said. During his journey, Bent stayed with a Spaniard who showed him the way and helped him with his Spanish. Bent said, “We were in charge of finding our own living quarters from the start. The process of finding a piso [apartment] took me about two weeks, before then I was in a hostel.”

   Before going to Spain, Bent had saved some money but “the money they gave us was more than enough to comfortably live and travel on,” he said.

   The Fulbright Scholar application process includes a decision on conducting research, to study or to be an ETA and then where you want to be located. The application includes a general information form, three letters of recommendation, a one-page statement of grant purpose and a one-page personal statement.

   “I probably spent about 100 hours on the statements and applications, blew through probably 15 drafts, as well as campus interviews where five professors interviewed me for about 30 minutes, about five minutes of which were in Spanish to test my ability,” Bent said about applying for the scholarship.

   When Bent wasn’t working, he was exploring. “I enjoyed the different pace of life, the sights, the smells, and the lights. But I also used my long weekends to travel quite a bit,” Bent said.

   In Spain, Bent traveled to Burgos, Barcelona, Salamanca, Toleda and El Escorial, as well as different parts of France, Portugal, England and Germany.


Found Footage Festival Provides Students a Night Full of Laughter

Found Footage Festival Provides Students a Night Full of Laughter

By Nicole Stewart Staff Reporter

UMF’s Association For Campus Entertainment (ACE) recently featured a Found Footage Festival where students were able to sit down in comfy chairs and watch a collection of videos put together for the comedy show.

   Joe Pickett, one of the men from the Found Footage Festival, was the host for the night, showing a variety of videos made from VHS tapes. The group finds the videos at various thrift stores and com

Students learn about post-graduate employment opportunities at the career fair. (Photo courtesy of UMF)

piles them together to create a comedy show.

   Videos shown at the show ranged from old exercise videos from the 70’s and 80’s to Pickett and partner Nick Prueher going on news shows, impersonating workout instructors and doing wacky antics while the news anchors were unaware of it.

   Students who attended were laughing non-stop, as Pickett added commentary while the videos were playing. Pickett also talked about what the people in the videos are up to now after they recorded and released the video.

   Gabby Crisafulli, the President of ACE, said this was the first time the club has ever hosted an event like this. “We found them in one of our old NACA [National Association for Campus Activities] catalogues,” said Crisafulli. “I found them really interesting, so I decided to some research. I got in contact with their manager and set everything up.”

   Students who attended were able to interact with one of the videos that was shown. “Rent-A-Friend” featured a man named Sam who was interacting with the viewer. In the video, he takes a camera out to take a picture with the person watching, and the crowd, along with Pickett, pretended to pose like they were taking a picture with the man in the clip.

   Kali Hopkins, the treasurer of ACE, said that it was a bit of a process to get the Found Footage Festival to come to UMF. “We started talking to them [Pickett and Prueher], I think before last semester ended. We tend to contact people a couple of months ahead of time.”

   According to Crisafulli, the shows are not always the same for each event. “They’ve done family videos, like past home made videos that they found. Videos that teenagers took of their friends, that kind of thing,” said Crisafulli. “So, it’s a different mixture of all different kinds of videos, but they’re all homemade videos.”

   Those who did not attend the show can still view the videos on Pickett and Prueher’s website http://www.foundfootagefest.com/ which features other videos that were not shown at the festival as well. There is a range of topics in the videos, but some of the content is graphic.

   For more information on upcoming events hosted by ACE, students are encouraged to stop by the ACE Office in the Student Center, or they can attend their meetings on Tuesdays at 6:30PM in Roberts 105.

The Found Footage Festival has also been featured on shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.


UMF will Explore Western Maine with new Summer Nature Term

By Eryn Finnegan Editor-in-Chief

UMF recently announced that it will offer a unique array of summer courses called the Nature Term, which will focus on the outdoors of western Maine across multiple subjects.

   The Nature Term is the result of a collaborative effort between Academic Provost Eric Brown and Associate Provost and Dean of Arts & Sciences Nic Koban. The term includes both academic and recreational classes that will begin on June 1st. Koban called the program “an attempt at increasing summer enrollment.”

   “Eric Brown and I were kicking around a bunch of different ideas,” Koban said. “What Eric had in mind was something to attract people to come to western Maine. We have mountains and lakes and all sorts of opportunities. He felt we could offer some classes that would take advantage of Maine’s natural beauty.”

   So far, the program boasts 19 classes that range from four week academic courses such as three creative writing workshops in fiction, poetry and memoir, Environmental Art and Ecological Psychology, to one week recreational activities such as hiking and canoeing. Students will be able to take some classes simultaneously, such as an academic course in the morning followed by a recreational activity in the afternoon.

   “We wanted a really flexible four weeks where students can come and learn how to fly fish or learn to kayak and have it coupled with a more traditional academic experience,” Brown said. “What if you could take a four credit writing course and work on your novel in the morning? What if in the afternoon you could go hiking or biking or fly fishing? Those things can mutually inform one another.”  

   Koban is particularly optimistic about a one week full immersion Swahili course in preparation for a travel course to Tanzania and a course in filmmaking offered by Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Bill Mesce, noting that the latter would be difficult to have during the regular academic year.

   “What I love about [Bill’s course] is that the class will go through the entire filmmaking process. They have to write the script and scope out locations and film it and edit it, all in four weeks,” Koban said. “That’s hard to do in the winter when you only meet every other day. I think it’s really neat and I think people would love it.”

   Koban and Brown both emphasized that the program will be open to people beyond the UMF community, with Brown also hopeful that the focus on Maine’s natural beauty will pull students and community members away from online classes and back to campus.

   “We’re really trying to leverage our place and bring students to campus and people around the state,” Brown said. “They may already be on the way to Maine, they may just be driving through or visiting family for a few weeks. Either way, this can offer a rich learning experience.”

   Brown added that in addition to these new courses, some are expanded versions of existing courses. “One of the first things I had Nic [Koban] do was work on this term based on what we were doing already. There were already a lot of courses that aligned with the [natural] theme like field science courses and nature writing, but they weren’t concentrated or motivated,” Brown said. “We worked to build the content around the idea of being outside and wanted to create new content.”

   Brown and Koban are looking forward to finding out how many people will enroll in the program, which courses will be popular and how the classes will overlap.

   “I’m interested to see how many students are truly taking advantage of the mix of classes,” Brown said. “We hope it becomes a mainstay. I’m interested to see how this structure’s first iteration works. I can’t wait to see it come to life.”

   For more information, contact Nic Koban at nicholas.koban@maine.edu.

Assistant Professor William Mesce Discusses Pedagogy and Screenwriting

Assistant Professor William Mesce Discusses Pedagogy and Screenwriting

By Nathan McIvor Contributing Writer

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing William Mesce is the author of two dozen screenplays and a former corporate writer at HBO. His industry experienc

Mesce wrote the screenplay for Road Ends, a 1997 crime film starring Denis Hopper. (Photo courtesy of IMDB)

e serves him well in teaching a craft that, for better or worse, exists as an industrial product in mainstream Hollywood.

   In conveying the difficulties of the profession to students, Mesce describes the screenplay as “a tool for somebody else, not an end … it’s a document to be used by one-hundred fifty other people.”

   Tinseltown can be a tough on aspiring screenwriters, something Mesce learned as young man when he submitted a screenplay to a contest held by Brian De Palma, director of Scarface and The Untouchables. The rules promised that the winner’s work would be used for De Palma’s next feature film. Mesce received a meager check for winning and no further response.

   When De Palma’s next film Blow Out was released years later, Mesce noticed two lines of dialogue he had written in the film. Mesce had been duped into doing uncredited work on a film “Written and Directed by Brian De Palma.”

   Despite this rude awakening to the screenwriter’s trade, Mesce dedicated himself to the craft.  Mesce likes to impart resilience to his students because they deserve to know the reality of the trade before moving to Los Angeles. The 1997 film Road Ends, a crime thriller starring Dennis Hopper and Mariel Hemingway, remains Mesce’s best known work.

   After leaving HBO in 2009, Mesce found his love for teaching when a friend from graduate school asked him to teach a class at a local New Jersey college. Mesce says there is “no greater buzz than being in a classroom when it’s clicking.”

   A metropolitan man, teaching at a campus like UMF was uncharted territory for him when he joined UMF in Sept. 2017. “This one is the smallest schools I have taught at,” Mesce said. “It gives you the opportunity to have the same student several times.  A professor can watch them grow over the years and develop a bond. That could never happen in any of the other places I’ve taught at. I had the same number of students in my high school class as the entire student body here!”

   Mesce also noted the easy going demeanor typical of a small Maine town, saying “people are nicer and I find that the students have a different frame of reference from what I am used to. So far, I’ve never had a writing student who couldn’t write.”  

   Mesce found his love for movies growing up in Newark, New Jersey, where he spent his summer afternoons at the local movie theaters. Mesce credits Chinatown as his generation’s genre film, and prefers films that have “a sense of place” and lists Sam Peckinpah and Sidney Lumet as his favorite directors.

   Mesce most recent book, The Rules of Screenwriting and Why You Should Break Them was published by McFarland in 2017.

UMF to Offer Capoeira Class

By Jane Metsker Contributing Writer

Next semester, for the first time, UMF will be offering an Afro-Brazilian musical martial arts class called Capoeira. The class incorporates history and dance as well as martial arts and will be instructed by Professor Chelsea Fairbank.

   Fairbank has always had an interest in music, culture, and history. She first saw Capoeira being played in a park and became fascinated with it. At nineteen, Fairbank moved to Hawaii and was able to find classes there with an instructor from the “motherland” of Capoeira, Bahia Brazil.

   “I was very lucky to train with him and have some very close lineage,” said Fairbank. “It’s similar to martial arts where there’s a lineage of teachers, what they call mestre [meaning master] in Portuguese.” Fairbank trained with her mestre for a few years before relocating to Brazil to study full time and learn Portuguese.

   According to Fairbank, Capoeira incorporates history, music and community. Historically it has been disguised as a dance and described as a “fight dance.” It has been criticized for being different from traditional forms of martial arts, however, Fairbank said she absolutely believes it could improve anyone’s confidence and ability to protect themselves.

   “If somebody was looking for a more straightforward self defense, protection oriented, I think it can fulfill those but it’s not the primary mission of training in Capoeira,” she said.  

   Tekia Cox, a Junior Anthropology Major, stated in an email interview that she’s looking forward to taking a class that’s both fun and could be useful for developing self defense skills.

   “I hope to be able to protect myself and also an anthropological look at that type of defense,” Cox said. “Even if UMF prides itself on being safe it’s important for everyone to learn self defense.”

   Fairbank explained that Capoeira is a form of physical and mental training that develops “cunning of an awareness around you and a confidence towards self protection.” Fairbank noted that there’s an ongoing debate about the differences between Capoeira versus more traditionalized martial arts, self defense, that we would think of in the west. She also stated that the class is very inclusive and proactively welcomes all genders.

   Senior Psychology major Emily Beard is interested in the course because she has previous experience with martial arts and interested in furthering her education on the subject.

   “I took Taekwondo for years and I recognize that this is a very different style of martial arts but I would like to get back into it.”

   Beard has some previous knowledge of Capoeira and explained it’s a very defensive art. “It’s good for preventing harm without causing it, it teaches you to block attacks but you won’t learn much about instigating attacks.”

   Fairbank said Capoeira has been historically used as a means of escaping oppression and using cunning to facilitate that. “It’s a large symbol for liberation.” She explained that it was a way of training under the gaze of your oppressor so that they don’t know what you’re doing. “It represents empowerment and community in a huge way, it represents inclusion.”

   The text included in the course will be an ethnographic text call The Ring of Liberation, however the course is open to anyone with an interest in any component of the course. Fairbank said anthropology students might have an especially keen interest in the course because of its background, but could be intriguing to anyone.

   “It is a really unique and special place to explore your own limits but also expand beyond them and have an openness and willingness to do that kind of work,” Fairbank said. “Capoeira presents the the opportunity to do that in a really playful and community based and really joyous kind of way.”

   Any students feeling intimidated by the idea of taking the course can be assured it’s an open and inclusive environment for students of any skill level. “If there’s any intimidation about approaching the course, remember that in Portuguese it’s called playing Capoeira, not fighting Capoeira, and I that captures a real sense of how playful the growth that you can achieve through Capoeira is.”


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