2015 SBE Graduate Research Exposition Winners

Graduate students from all disciplines presented their work and competed for thousands of dollars at the 2015 Grad-Expo on April 2nd & 3rd in the University of Maine’s Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC).Many graduate students from The School of Biology & Ecology participated in the event and emerged as winners.

Maureen Correll, a PhD candidate studying Ecology and Environmental Sciences, was presented with two awards following her presentations at the Graduate Exposition. She won first place in the Natural Sciences Oral Presentation competition for her delivery and explanation on one of the chapters from her dissertation work entitled, “Specialist Avifaunal Collapse of Northeastern Tidal Marshes.” For this particular research, Correll explored trends in tidal marsh bird populations and collected historical databases on the marshes between Maine and Virginia. Additionally, Correll took second place in the Pecha kucha competition after speaking about an internship she completed with the Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative in Kaktovik, AK. In order to accumulate the information for her presentation entitled, “A Summer in Kaktovik; Lessons Learned by a Natural Scientist in Search of Stakeholder Feedback in a Rapidly Changing Coastal Arctic,” she interviewed Alaska Native residents in Kaktovik and inquired about the impacts of abrupt climate change on subsistence living.

Kourtney Collum, a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology and Environmental Policy program, is currently studying farmers’ pollination management practices while focusing primarily on their conservation of wild bees in the lowbush blueberry industries of Maine and Prince Edward Island, Canada. Collum presented preliminary findings from her dissertation research in a talk entitled: “On-farm bee conservation: Agricultural Policy and Farmers’ Participation in Conservation Agriculture.” Following the presentation, she received the second place award in the Social Science Oral Competition. The purpose of Collum’s research, in her own words, is to “determine ways to improve pollination security for fruit and vegetable growers,” due to the availability of commercial honeybee hives declining as the price simultaneously rises.

Deciding to try something new after giving various formal presentations lately, Kaitlyn O’Donnell submitted and displayed some of her own artwork at the Grad Expo. O’Donnell is an Entomology student who focuses on forest and agricultural ecology, and besides physically studying insects in the natural world to fulfill her passion, she also thoroughly enjoys drawing and painting them. For the expo, O’Donnell submitted a few drawings and paintings of a weevil, a leaf cutter ant, a praying mantis, a lacewing, and a bee using different mediums (pastels, colored pencils, and water colors). By submitting her artwork, O’Donnell was able to explore her talents and gain insight on what has been going on in other programs within the university.

Additionally, Jennifer Lund was awarded second place in the Natural Sciences Oral Competition for her presentation entitled: “Prey Utilization and Nest Structure of Cerceris fumipennis,” through her continuation of research in entomology.

Megan Leach, who is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Ecology and Environmental Science, submitted a photo to the expo that earned her first place in the Graduate Dean’s Photo Contest.