Career Fair Encourages Students to Find Jobs after Graduation

By Nicole Stewart Staff Reporter

 Walking into the Olsen Student Center on the Monday morning after spring break, students found tables set up with businesses participating in UMF’s Career Fair. Each table had a spokesperson willing to talk to students as they walked by.

   Students who participated in the event received a list of the companies at the fair, with a packet containing descriptions of the place, what positions they were looking for, and what majors best suited the job.

   Students had bright smiles and were eager to learn about companies and organizations in Maine that were hiring positions for part-time, full time or summer employment. The Career Fair was a great opportunity for students to interact with places outside of Farmington and expand their horizons elsewhere in Maine.

   Cyndi McShane, a Counselor in the Career Center, was in charge of the fair that has been going on for nearly 20 years. McShane believes that attending the Career Fair is a great learning experience for students.

   “Even if you are not really looking for a job at the fair, if you talk to an employer, you become more familiar with talking with employers,” said McShane. “You get more skills in networking, and working a fair like that, shaking hands, introducing yourself. It’s a really great opportunity just to see what’s out there.”  

   Junior Kyleigh Roberts, an Elementary Education major who attended the fair, found it to be beneficial. “The Career Fair is wonderful because it gives you in the insights you need into future options,” she said. “Even if it’s a summer position, it’ll get you where you need to be.”

   Senior Angelica Levy, a Psychology major with a minor in Rehab, found that applying for a job after college can be a bit terrifying. Levy admits that the Career Fair provided opportunities she did not think about before.

   “The Career Fair is very broad, which is awesome. I think that helps,” said Levy, who originally attended to find jobs related to mental healthcare, but found herself talking to some of the summer camps that were there.

   As for the future of the Career Fair, Roberts hopes that they will continue to be the same number of businesses involved. “I think it’s wonderful for college students to have [the Career Fair] brought to us because sometimes, it gets so busy that we just forget about jobs and everything,” said Roberts. “But this is a great way to remind us how important it is to be branching out.”

   The Career Services Office offers one on one meetings for students who want to discuss plans for their career after college. “It’s one of many opportunities Career Services give students to help them think about their future,” said McShane.

   Career Services is hosting is a College to Career panel on April 12th, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Landing. “It is a panel of a whole bunch of different employers or alumni, people who work in different industries talking about how they left college and came into their careers,” said McShane. Students who are thinking about the next step after college are encouraged to attend the event.

UMF Students Embrace Global Writing Community at AWP

UMF Students Embrace Global Writing Community at AWP

By Dale J Rappaneau, Jr. Contributing Writer

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) recently concluded their annual conference, held this year in the sunny city of Tampa, Florida.

   As has been the tradition for years, more than a dozen UMF Creative Writing majors traveled by car, bus, and plane to attend this national conference, in hopes of gleaning information from prominent writing figures in the industry. Many of these students had their entire trip covered by the school through a funding program run by the UMF Writers Guild.

   “This was my first year attending the conference,” said Zoe Stonetree, a sophomore Creative Writing student minoring in Physics. “I went w

UMF Creative Writing Majors in Tampa, Florida for this years AWP. (Photo by Alexandria Dupuis)

ith the Writers Guild, so of course it was all free.”

   The conference featured such prominent writers as George Saunders, Kaveh Akbar, and Layli Long Soldier. The conference is structured around hourly panel discussions on such topics as diversity, craft and MFA programs, and attendees have the freedom to attend as many panels as their schedule can fit.

   Each year, the Writers Guild picks members to send to AWP with all costs covered, thus allowing students to experience the greater writing community. The criteria for selection—which is “very casual,” according to Stonetree—involves attending the Writers Guild’s weekly 7 p.m. meetings on Mondays.

   “They select people who have been coming consistently for over a year,” said Stonetree. “Most people go to AWP twice if they are consistent members, some people go three times, but generally they max people out at two.”

   For UMF students, the ability to learn from the writing community at large provides a wealth of opportunities unavailable in their everyday classroom.

   “It was a wonderful way to get outside this tiny little UMF community,” said Michaela Zelie, a senior Creative Writing major who also attended AWP for the first time this year. “Our campus community is wonderful and supportive, but it is small. To go out to meet other writers, some very successful, it’s a huge benefit.”

   Stonetree echoed these sentiments: “I went to a panel called something like ‘Dreamwork of Poetry,’ which was really cool. They talked about the connection between dreams and the archetypes of the unconscious, and how it can be applied to poetry. It’s something I have been interested in, and it was really cool to hear them talk about it.”

   According to Zelie, she only learned about the Writers Guild’s funding program during her junior year, and she regrets not having learned about it sooner. “I highly recommend students take advantage of these programs,” she said. “I didn’t know about Writers Guild until last year, and students should get involved, they should do these things, even if you think it’s a little scary. It was amazing to be at AWP and be surrounded by so many successful people.”

   The Association of Writers & Writing Programs boasts approximately 12,000 attendees each year, along with 2,000 presenters, 550 panels, and 800 literary organizations from around the world. It is the largest literary conference in North America, and next year it will be held from March 27 to 30 in Portland, Oregon.

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

UMF Students Discuss Walkouts over Recent School Shootings

UMF Students Discuss Walkouts over Recent School Shootings

By Olivia White Contributing Writer

UMF students support different views towards the walkouts happening to show support towards students involved in the Parkland school shooting, where seventeen students and staff were killed. Schools across the country coordinated a school walkout on Mar. 14th.

   Carson Hope, president of the Advocates for the Education of Young Children club on campus, wrote in an email that she believes that all students should use their voice to help better our country in any way possible. Hope “applaud[ed] every student who used their voice on March 14th. Because of inclement weather, a lot of willing students across New England did not participate in protests, but I encourage them to let their voice

Farmington Community Members, from UMF to surrounding high schools, gather to march in support of Gun Control. (Photo by Eryn Finnegan)

be heard every day of the year.” 

    Stephen Riitano, President of the Aspiring Educators club, agreed with Hope, saying that in order to make changes students should become more active within politics.

   “College students should get an absentee ballot if they are away in college and vote in all the elections,” Riitano said. “Your voice matters, so get it out there, not just in the streets, but in the voting booths as well.” 

    Riitano further elaborated on his views towards the event suggesting that administration should have made it a school-wide event for the whole 17 minutes.

   “Have students lead a protest or walk out if they wish, but also provide spaces for discussion that students could go to and have staff facilitate or lead various groups or activities for the duration of the 17 minutes to make it all the more impact full and meaningful,” Riitano said. 

    Patrick Fallon, President of the College Republicans, did not agree with Riitano on how schools should have handled the event. Fallon does not believe that schools should be taking this approach, regardless of the cause of the walkout. 

“If a school allows this for one cause, they will have to allow it for every walkout that students want to do,” Fallon said.

   Riitano wrote in an email interview that he was filling in as a substitute teacher on the day of the school walkout. While Riitano was not able to participate himself as he was required to supervise those who did not want to participate, he felt as though school districts handled the situation appropriately if they let students leave and voice their opinions.

    While Fallon and Riitano may have different views towards student participation in such an event during school, they do believe that the protesters have handled themselves well. Jeffrey Willey, president of the College Democrats, laughed as he said that the students handled themselves “better than some adults” while participating in the protest. 

    The three students agreed that someone needs to take action and implement a piece of legislation that can help deter those who may have malicious intentions from buying weapons. Willey said he believed that a waiting period for buying weapons could deter those who may want to cause harm to anyone. 

    In addition to lending their voices to the conversation surrounding gun violence, UMF also participated in a “March for our Lives” protest on Mar. 24. The march began at 11 a.m. at Mallet Elementary School and ended at Meeting House Park, where those involved had the opportunity to listen to different speakers and discuss gun control measures.

Reinventing the UMF Honors Program

By Darby Murnane Contributing Writer

The new Director of the UMF Honors Program, John Messier, plans to bring new life to the program by working to increase student engagement, bolster involvement in community service, and foster a better cohesion throughout the program as a whole.

   The current Honors Program is facing a number of challenges in trying to create a meaningful experience for its students, the foremost of which is a distinct lack of student involvement.

   “We have a lot of students who aren’t really active in the program,” Messier said. “A lot of students come in their freshman year and they’re quite excited about the program and they take a course or two but then over time, there’s not a draw to bring them back in.”

   To combat this issue, Messier intends to increase the number of required credits as the current requirement is a minimum of 12. To ease of the burden of accumulating the requisite credits for students with larger majors, more general-education honors classes may be created so students can fulfill core requirements while also gaining honors credit.

   Messier is also exploring ways to give students more autonomy over their honors experience. “I’m really thinking about focusing the Honors Program on a project-based learning model, so that students have more agency and ownership over their learning and are doing some of it outside the classroom,” Messier said.

   Students would have a great deal of flexibility over what these projects could be–a presentation on a study abroad experience, research, or even working with a volunteer organization. The hope is that the projects could be a culminating piece of the students’ honors experiences that give them a specific goal to work towards.

   Messier defines the idea as something that’s “intensely personal about finding a meaningful project for the students but that they’re doing outside the classroom so they have to figure out how to solve problems, how to be autonomous, how to achieve their ends.”

  Steven Pane, a professor of music and honors instructor at UMF, supports this idea as it aligns with his goals in honors courses. “I see myself trying to encourage student-oriented projects for the campus,” Pane said. “For example, I was an active member in a student run philosophy group in which the students selected their own readings to discuss and debate.”

   While the independence over larger projects can be daunting, Pane is highly confident with the students he’s worked with. “[Honors] students are really self-motivated and there’s in intensity about what they do,” Pane said. “They’re not afraid to go off into a weirder area which is often where brilliance lies. Students really need to be given space to find their own way.”

   When students are not in the classroom, Messier is hoping to increase the community service aspect to the program in order to give back to those in need as well as to keep students more involved.

   “A change for the program could be that students have to accumulate so many hours or do so much community service,” Messier said. “And perhaps during semester’s where they’re not taking an honors course, the expectation is that they’re going to do some sort of community service or involvement, to keep them active and engaged in the program.”

   Honors student Rowan Burns, a Junior Early Childhood Education and Psychology major, is eager to partake in volunteer service, however as a busy student, she is worried that reaching a set amount of hours may be difficult.

   “I think the volunteering idea is good as a concept, but not so great as a practice. It leaves little to no room for Education students who need to do student teaching and internship, students who transferred and don’t have a lot of extra time, or students who enter the program later on and are already struggling with time by taking extra classes,” Burns said in an email interview. “If exceptions and adjustments could be made for those students then I think it will work, but if not then it’s only going to further limit opportunities.”

   There are also service-oriented travel courses in the works. Messier is currently working on setting up a trip to the highlands of Guatemala to build stoves for the Mayan families living there. The service aspect of the trip would greatly cut down on the cost as it would not be for credit, therefore students would not have to pay for tuition.