Annual Arts Evening and Symposium Celebrates Original Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects


The University of Maine campus community at Farmington recently celebrated its annual Night of the Arts and UMF Symposium festivities. Most of the events were presented and viewed virtually.

This year’s events kicked off on Monday April 19 with UMF’s popular Night of the Arts, a rich collection of creative events. The evening’s celebration included solo exhibits and “Unusual Items,” the major thesis artwork of visual arts majors: Grant Forbes of Castine, Lake France of Farmington, Warren Garrett of Canterbury, Connecticut, Sam MacDonald from New Vineyard, Samantha Taylor from Farmington and Sara Taylor from Farmington.

Additionally, Eliza Robinson, Performing Arts Major, Camden, presented her video installation, “Routines of Home,” and Junior Performing Arts Major, Em Remington of Bennington, Ver., Was announced as recipient of the AY21-22 Elsie C. Grote award.

This was followed on Wednesday April 21 by the tradition of the One-Day Spring Symposium which gives students the opportunity to present their own original undergraduate research and creation projects. These rigorous academic activities, from campus-wide programs, are supported by dedicated faculty mentors throughout the process from proposal to presentation.

UMF President Edward Serna congratulated everyone for their outstanding work, with special thanks to the University’s Culture Committee – Misty Krueger, Ann Bartges, Stephen Grandchamp, Amy Neswald, Theresa Overall Doug Reusch – and to all the faculty mentors and dedicated staff who are themselves committed to the value of undergraduate research at Farmington.

Among the research efforts were many Wilson Scholar and Fellow projects. The Michael D. Wilson Competitive Research Program connects top UMF students with expert faculty mentors so that students can conduct high-level, original research that will be valuable to their professional development.

“The Wilson Scholars program offers students a significant opportunity to develop advanced skills with project development and research methodology,” said Donelle Schwalm, assistant professor of biology and director of this year’s program. “Pursuing their own unique research interests helps students explore career directions and have the kind of hands-on experiences that enhance their resumes. “

The program appoints fellows twice a year, including one-semester fellows and one-year fellows. Student researchers are individually sponsored by expert professors and supported at each stage of their research. This year’s winners include:

Spring 2021 scholarship recipients

Allen Cherkis – Dresden
A junior specialization in geography and environmental planning and GIS
Research Project: “Forest Carbon Stock Assessment in Abbott Park”

Spencer Davis – Mechanical Falls
A senior specialized in history
Research Project: “Cleaner Money: Reasons for Iroquois Trade Preferences in the Mohawk Valley”

Brandon Martin – Falmouth
A senior specializing in psychology
Research project: “The impact of traditional male ideology on perceptions of gender nonconformity among adolescent male athletes”

Nathan McIvor – Jefferson
A senior specialized in English
Research project: “The pilgrimage of Dorothy Richardson: text and context”

Ciera miller
A senior specializing in international and global studies and creative writing
Research project: “A wild nature that no civilization can endure”

Liz Niznik – Well
A senior specialized in English
Research project: “Return to Hilda Morley: a digital resource”

Sara Taylor – Farmington
A senior specialized in interactive media
Research project: “Binary is for computers!” – creative works’

Fall 2020 Scholar

Brian Tibbetts – Sidney
A senior specialized in IT
Research project: “Mapping with Python: Using computers to visualize conflicts in East Africa”

Fall 2020 scholarship recipients

Hannah Binder – Farmington
A major in history and creative writing
Research project: “The life and death of orchids: a novel”

Emily Kelley – Shapleigh
A major in Earth and environmental sciences
Research project: “Analysis of rapid human-induced evolutionary change in swift foxes (Vulpes velox) found in agricultural habitats”

Samantha Taylor – Farmington
A senior specializing in visual and performing arts
Research project: “Moldable products for sale; Creative words “

Other highlights of this year’s Symposium included the presentation of the Walter Sargent Prize to Shana Youngdahl, Assistant Professor of English, for her student research mentorship.

A UMF Trustee Performance featuring a collaborative project by Kristen Case, English teacher, and Steven Pane, music teacher. The “Quarry Animal Zero Fold: The Chaconne Project” attempted a translation of the Chaconne on piano and page.

Case read excerpts from a suite of 64 poems generated by a set of structural constraints derived from Bach’s composition of the Chaconne, and Pane performed his transcription of Bach’s Chaconne, a hybrid of the original for solo violin and piano transcriptions by Ferruccio Busioni.

In addition, a series of outdoor tours were organized by Doug Reusch and Theresa Overall and led by UMF students and faculty.

Due to Covid restrictions, this year’s events were limited to the UMF community, but all projects are posted on UMF Mantor Library Academic Work and on the UMF Symposium website at: https: / / this-year-symposium /. A fully online version of Unusual Articles: 2021 Senior Show is available here:

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