Artistic Excursion To the MFA

Artistic Excursion To the MFA

By Audrey Carroll Contributing Writer


The museum not only focused on modern art– it also focused on ancient artifacts, too. (Photo by Emily Mokler)

Recently, Associate Professor of Art History and UMF Gallery Director Sarah Maline brought her Contemporary Art class, her World Film class and guests to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, MA. Entrance fees to the museum had been generously paid by a donor for Maine students and accompanying faculty.

   Emma Pierce, a sophomore Visual Arts major and Graphic Design minor, felt as though the time flew by. “That museum is so big that you can get lost in it,” said Pierce.

   Similarly, Emily Mokler, a senior Creative Writing major, and a guest on the trip was astounded by the vastness of the museum. “You could easily spend a couple of days in there, and still not see everything— it was that big,” said Mokler. “I feel like I saw maybe 10 percent of the place.”

   Since the MFA is so large, it occupies artworks of all kinds. This ensures that any attendee is likely to find

This designer look has broken the boundaries of gender through fashion. (Photo by Emma Pierce)

an exhibit or a specific piece of artwork that captivates them. For Mokler, this exhibit was that of the Egyptian mummies. “There was this climate controlled room, where they had different mummies from ancient Egypt,” said Mokler, “and they had hieroglyphs from the tombs. . .They structured these rooms so that you could see them laid out, and you could still see the colors— you know, some red and some blue.”

   For Pierce, the piece that captivated her was “The Postman” by Vincent Van Gogh. “First of all, Van Gogh is my man,” said Pierce. What struck her about “The Postman” is how one can see the paint coming off of the original canvas. “Because he used a lot of paint… it gives it [the painting] texture, and it also shows where he put the brush— which is surreal,” said Pierce. “It’s almost like you were there with him.”

   Pierce’s acknowledgement of the details of the artwork at the MFA, details that one can only witness in person, is exactly why Professor Maline takes this trip with her classes every semester. “The MFA offers us a chance to experience ‘live art,’” said Professor Maline via email, “The opportunity to experience live art— in your own physical presence— is so important. Very different from seeing it onscreen or projected. You see scale, texture and color in a different way.”

   Though the trip is always a fun success, Professor Maline often experiences a moment of anxiousness during the outing. “We always have one student lost— either at the MFA at closing time or at Quincy Market after dinner— thank goodness for cell phones,” said Maline, “20 years ago when I first ran this trip we didn’t all have cells, so it was very stressful.”

   Upon returning home from the MFA, Professor Maline’s students will complete a critical analysis paper of an artwork that they viewed on the trip. For this assignment, students “describe [an artwork] very closely, analyze it, then compare it to another artwork that is related conceptually— though not necessarily culturally or temporally,” said Maline.

   Pierce is writing her analysis essay on a piece from the exhibit “A Gender Bending Fashion Show.”  This exhibit displayed geometrically oriented neon lights surrounding outfits created by a variety of designers that “challenge the rigid definitions of dress based on gender,” said Pierce. This piece was designed by Viktor&Rolf for Tilda Swinton— an actress who “has a gender non-conforming style,” said Pierce.

   This trip is a fun and educational experience for all, especially for the students in Professor Maline’s classes. “I recommend this trip to the patient and the open-minded,” said Pierce, “I would recommend it if you’re willing to experience art in the most open way— otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy it as much.”

   Even for guests, exploring the MFA and Quincy Market was interesting and relevant. The excursion to Boston alone offered a different atmosphere for students to escape to. “This trip is great if you want to experience a change of pace,” said Mokler.

   The trip to the MFA is taken once a semester. To attend, a student may either enroll in a class taught by Professor Maline or pay a $30 travel fee at the Student Life office on campus to attend as a guest.

How UMF Helped to Establish Ms. AlLee Cookson

How UMF Helped to Establish Ms. AlLee Cookson

By Audrey Carroll Contributing Writer


AILee Cookson’s 2018-2019 school photo for Carmel Elementary. (Photo courtesy of AILee Cookson)

In the summer of 2017, AlLee Cookson was on track to graduate a semester early from UMF. All that stood between Cookson and her diploma was one general education course and the student teaching requirement of the Education Program, which she would obtain credit for during the upcoming fall semester – allowing her to graduate in December of 2017, instead of May. However, in August, before she had acquired any student teaching experience or her diploma, Cookson accepted a job at Glenburn Elementary as a fourth grade teacher.

   At the start of the school year in September 2017, Cookson stood in front of a classroom full of fourth graders with no field experience to guide her through this sudden and unfamiliar journey. “It was terrifying,” said Cookson, “I had no student teaching. I had my practicums, but those were only two days a week. There was only so much I could get from that.”

  Cookson feared that inexperience would lessen her success in the the classroom, despite the hard work that led her to this wonderful opportunity. Regarding the first day of teaching in her own classroom, Cookson said, “I remember being really nervous, and unsure of what was going to happen, or how I was going to connect with [the students]. There was just a lot of uncertainty.”

   Cookson’s apprehension lasted the entirety of the first day, and was not self-alleviated. In fact, Cookson credits much of the confidence that she now holds to her coworkers at Glenburn Elementary. Another UMF Alumni, Alexandra Crocker, comforted Cookson on her first day at Glenburn. “When I first walked in, [Crocker] was like ‘We went to Farmington, we’ve got this,’ and that really helped,” said Cookson, “I just needed to prove to myself that I could do it, and embrace that this was my moment.”

   Cookson’s uncertainty of her worth in the classroom persisted due to parents. UMF is well known for preparing aspiring teachers to work with students everyday, but it can’t provide thorough direction regarding their parents. “There was a parent who found out that I wasn’t certified because I hadn’t finished the program yet,” said Cookson. “She told me that she didn’t think I was qualified to teach her child, and that I shouldn’t be teaching there.”

   However, at the end of the year, the same parent thanked Cookson for how well she had taught the children in her classroom. “She was so proud of how her child’s report card looked,” said Cookson.

   Though Glenburn Elementary provided Cookson with remarkable and irreplaceable teaching experiences, Cookson moved to Carmel Elementary the following school year where she taught  second grade.

   Soon after settling in at Carmel Elementary, Cookson became the Glenburn Middle School cheerleading coach. Through this position, Cookson noticed both profound similarities and many differences between coaching and teaching. “I noticed that with coaching there was a lot less structure,” said Cookson, “I didn’t feel as much pressure to meet ‘the standard’ – although there is a standard of what you expect – but it was really just me setting the standard for the girls.”

   Because of her experience with a wide range of grade levels, Cookson feels confident that she could handle any teaching position thrown her way: “To go from teaching fourth grade, and teaching second grade, and coaching middle school it feels like I have a whole realm of possibilities for my career of coaching and teaching.”

   UMF provided Cookson with the opportunities that allowed her to pursue her dreams very early on, before she had even graduated, and for that she will always be grateful

UMF Cheerleading Club Searching for Athletes Willing to Compete Next Year

UMF Cheerleading Club Searching for Athletes Willing to Compete Next Year

By Audrey Carroll  Contributing Writer

Joy Jancewicz, Annie Dobos, Kara Doana, and Crystal Macomber pose for a photo before cheering their first game of the season. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Carroll)

    After a stellar 2018-2019 competition season, consisting of two first place victories on the road, the UMF cheerleading club is unable to compete at all this year due to a lack of participants. Now the team is searching for next year’s competition squad.

   The club has diminished from 19 members last year to only seven this year. This significant decrease has affected the squads competition season dramatically. “Unfortunately, the UMF team is unable to compete this year. The program does not have the number of athletic roles to achieve that goal,” says Annie Dobos, President of the club.

   This year, the squad simply did not “have the right amount of flyers,” said the club’s Vice President Joy Jancewicz. Flyers are the athletes who are lifted during the stunting portion of the routine. An important part of a cheerleading routine is stunting, or lifting one or more athletes into the air who showcase their flexibility and other skills in order to receive a higher score. “Potentially, you can teach someone to fly. . .It would be hard work, but not impossible,” said Jancewicz.

   Although the club’s seven athletes are not competing this year, they are still keeping busy. So far, the club has cheered at two basketball games – one at UMF and one hosted at Thomas College. Some of the cheerleaders also set up a table at the Spring Club Fair and were approached by a few interested individuals, showing hope for next season.

   The club has also been brainstorming fundraising ideas for this year. Not only would these events raise money for the club, but they would also “get people’s attention, and remind them of our program” said club member Kara Doane.

   So far, the club has discussed hosting a clinic for young cheerleaders, and is also considering participating at this years Relay for Life on campus. Both ideas served well for the club in the past.

   Last year, the club held a community-based event, focused on getting local children active. “The entire UMF cheering team put a cheer clinic together that younger athletes could attend to better their skills as a cheerleader,” Dobos says. This event consisted of three sessions, during which the children were grouped by age and then taught a small routine that was performed for their parents during the last session.

   At last year’s Relay for Life, the club sold energy drinks and performed a few stunts for the attendees, while also cheering on participants in the relay from approximately 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

   “With all of these events, the club was very busy and very active in the student life at UMF as well as the surrounding community,” said Dobos, demonstrating why the club would like to do them again.

   While the club hopes to raise awareness through these events, current athletes always encourage anyone who has ever wanted to cheer to join their team as soon as possible. “If you’re interested in joining cheering at all, I would say do it, because even if you don’t have any experience in it or anything, we’re very willing to help you build the needed skills,” said Doane.

“It’s not a difficult thing to do, it’s just time consuming. You have to be willing to put in the effort to get the result.”

   While it may be too late for anyone interested to cheer at basketball games with the club this year, it is not too late “to take part in other events this semester,” said Jancewicz. “I think it would help, too, for you to get a feel for the team – to dip your toes in the water to see if it something that you might be interested in for next year.”

     If you’re interested in joining, you are encouraged to contact the clubs President Annie Dobos, or Vice President, Joy Jancewicz, via email at or