April Mulherin
Associate Director of Media Relations
Office: (207) 778-7081
Cell: (207) 491-0064
TDD: (207) 778-7000

Office of Media Relations

UMF Experts List


UMF presents “Noisy, Wild and Extremely Troublesome” lecture series, Feb. 24 & Mar. 2

FARMINGTON, ME (February 9, 2016)—The University of Maine at Farmington’s continuing series, “Noisy, Wild, and Extremely Troublesome: Lectures in the Arts and Humanities,” returns for the spring semester, 2016, with two events. With zombies, sea monsters and other creatures involved, these lectures promise to be noisier, wilder and even more troublesome than before.

Roundtable Discussion of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”
Wednesday, Feb. 24
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Rm. 23, Roberts Learning Center
UMF English faculty members will lead this roundtable talk about the new movie mash-up of Jane Austen with the undead. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is currently playing at Narrow Gauge Cinemas in Farmington. See it before the roundtable and join the discussion.

“The Products of Intertextuality: The Value of Student Adaptations in a Literature Course”
Wednesday, March 2
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Performance Space, Emery Community Arts Center
This lecture, by Misty Krueger, visiting assistant professor of English, focuses on examining intertextuality—the way that similar or related texts influence or differ from each other—and engaging students in textual production through the creation of an adaptation. It will discuss the success of assigning an adaptation project in an upper-level literature course at UMF and show examples of several student projects, including adaptations of writings by William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Mary Shelley and Ben H. Winters and of existing film adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and Frankenstein. Krueger links student projects to critical concepts such as re-vision and multimodality, and disciplines such as literary studies and the digital humanities. She also analyzes how the projects reflect students’ interests in popular culture and fandom.

This series of events is sponsored by the UMF Division of Humanities; the Department of Sound, Performance, and Visual Inquiry and the UMF Honors Program.

These events are free and open to the public.

More on University of Maine at Farmington

A nationally-recognized public liberal arts college, UMF enjoys a 150-year tradition of providing a quality academic experience combined with the personal attention and close student / faculty collaboration that help prepare all students to be successful. Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF offers top quality programs in the arts and sciences, teacher preparation, and business and pre-professional studies. UMF is located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region and is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for engaged citizenship, enriching professional careers and an enduring love of learning.

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Media Contact: Michael Johnson, UMF professor of English, or 207-778-7424

UMF named by Howard Hughes Medical Institute as associate in nationwide research project

FARMINGTON, ME (February 3, 2016)—The University of Maine at Farmington has just been named by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an associate member in its nationwide SEA-PHAGES project—a pilot research program designed to engage college students in true scientific research and discovery as early as possible in their academic careers.

The SEA-PHAGES project (Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) was built around a national experiment in bacteriophages, a commonly occurring virus that infects bacteria. Beginning in fall 2016, a select group of first-year UMF science students will have the opportunity to take the two-semester phage genomics course instead of the traditional pathway, which focuses on plant and animal biology.

Students in the first semester of the SEA-PHAGES project, will isolate, name and characterize their bacteriophages, extract DNA and select a specimen for whole genome sequencing. In the second semester, students will analyze the genome sequence using special computer software and participate in the nation-wide study by submitting their findings to the National Center for Biotechnology Information GenBank database.

Throughout the pilot program, HHMI will provide participating institutions with all necessary curriculum, materials, host cell organisms, computer software, training and support.

“This program is based on experiential learning, where first year science students participate in relevant and important research, something usually reserved for upper level students,” said Jean Doty, UMF professor of biology. “Students in the program will not only receive a great educational foundation and valuable lab experience, but also contribute to an important national scientific body of knowledge aimed at understanding complex biological systems.”

The Science Education Alliance (SEA) works with science educators at colleges and universities across the country on pilot projects designed to advance science education on a national scale. The goal of the organization is to help form connections among individuals and institutions so they can turn good ideas into effective programs.

The SEA-PHAGES community has reached over 70 campuses since 2008 and has offered more than 4,800 undergraduates a research experience in a laboratory class. The project is led by HHMI Professor Graham Hatfull at the University of Pittsburgh and by members of its Undergraduate and Graduate Programs group.

More on University of Maine at Farmington

A nationally-recognized public liberal arts college, UMF enjoys a 150-year tradition of providing a quality academic experience combined with the personal attention and close student / faculty collaboration that help prepare all students to be successful. Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF offers top quality programs in the arts and sciences, teacher preparation, and business and pre-professional studies. UMF is located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region and is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for engaged citizenship, enriching professional careers and an enduring love of learning.

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Media Contact: Jean Doty, UMF professor of biology, at or 207-778-7366


UMF Public Classroom series features “The Psychology of Marathon Training,” Feb. 9

FARMINGTON, ME (February 2, 2016)—As a part of its ongoing “Public Classroom” lecture series, the University of Maine at Farmington is pleased to present “Only 26 Miles to Go: The Psychology of Marathon Training.” The fifth topic in the popular faculty speaker series, this lecture will take place at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, in Lincoln Auditorium, Roberts Learning Center.

UMF Psychology Professors Lilyana Ortega and Steven Quackenbush

UMF Professors Lilyana Ortega and Steven Quackenbush

A long-distance running event of slightly more than 26 miles, marathons are held around the globe, testing the physical, mental and emotional endurance of each participant. While long-distance running can improve a person’s cardiovascular health and overall physical fitness, such as helping to control weight and blood pressure, it can also produce a holistic transformation changing participants’ self-image and life goals.

In this talk, Steven Quackenbush, professor of psychology, and Lilyana Ortega, assistant professor of psychology, will discuss the factors that contribute to a runner’s success and explore the research that shows the sport’s link to psychological well-being. Attendees will be encouraged to share their running experiences and how they had a positive effect on their lives.

“Marathon training affects every aspect of a person’s life from nutrition and injury prevention to how an individual looks at themselves and interacts with the running community,” said Quackenbush. “It isn’t a quick fix, but a personal learning experience that can have a long-reaching positive impact.”

As a UMF faculty member, Quackenbush has taught a broad range of psychology courses. His scholarly interests and areas of expertise include aging, the history of psychology and narrative approaches to the study of lifespan personality development. Of his various accomplishments, he is especially proud of his long track record of involving undergraduate students in original research. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Quackenbush completed his Ph.D. in social-personality psychology at Kansas State University.

Ortega is passionate about instruction, research, practice and the interaction of all three. Her expertise includes child and adolescent development, clinical and counseling psychology and educational psychology. Her recent research has focused on evaluating intervention and prevention programs for at-risk youth. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“The Public Classroom” series is sponsored by the UMF Office of the President. Lectures in this series are free and open to the public.

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Media Contact:  Steven Quackenbush, UMF professor of psychology, at or 207-778-7518

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at

Photo Credit: UMF photo

Photo Caption: Left to right, Lilyana Ortega, UMF assistant professor of psychology and Steven Quackenbush, UMF professor of psychology


UMF presents non-fiction author Kathryn Miles as next reader in Visiting Writers Series, Feb. 11

FARMINGTON, ME (February 1, 2016)—The University of Maine at Farmington is proud to present non-fiction, environmental author Kathryn Miles as the next reader in its celebrated Visiting Writers Series. Miles will read from her work at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 11, in The Landing in the UMF Olsen Student Center. The reading is free and open to the public and will be followed by a signing by the author.

Author Kathryn MilesAccording to author Janine DeBaise, Miles’ non-fiction work is known for combining the scientific facts of a story with a good narrative that entertains while educating. Miles’ “Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy” (Dutton 2014), is the first complete, moment-by-moment account of the largest Atlantic storm system ever recorded. In this riveting account, she takes the reader inside the enormous storm and the people whose lives were forever changed.

Miles’ recent works also include “All Standing” (Simon & Schuster 2011), the true story of the Jeanie Johnston, one of the legendary Irish famine ships that transported immigrants from Ireland to North America. While 100,000 immigrants perished on the other so called “coffin ships,” Miles tells how the Jeanie Johnston never lost a passenger.

Miles has written about diverse subjects, including, Puerto Rican street food, eel poachers, homing pigeons and lifesavers. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications including Best American Essays, Between Song and Story, Ecotone, History, How To Write About Anything, Outside, Popular Mechanics and The New York Times.

Miles currently serves as writer-in-residence for Green Mountain College and as a faculty member for Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program.  She is also a scholar-in-residence for the Maine Humanities Council and a member of the editorial board.

She received her PhD in English from the University of Delaware in 2001.

This event is sponsored by the UMF Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program.

More Information on the UMF Creative Writing Program

As the only Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the state of Maine and one of only three in all of New England, the UMF program invites students to work with faculty, who are practicing writers, in workshop-style classes to discover and develop their writing strengths in the genres of poetry, fiction, screenwriting and non-fiction. Small classes, an emphasis on individual conferencing, and the development of a writing portfolio allow students to see themselves as artists and refine their writing under the guidance of accomplished and published faculty mentors. Students can pursue internships to gain real-world writing and publishing experience by working on campus with The Beloit Poetry Journal, a distinguished poetry publication since 1950; or Alice James Books, an award-winning poetry publishing house.

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Media Contact: Jeffrey Thomson, UMF professor of creative writing, at 207-778-7454, or

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at
Photo Credit: Submitted photo

UMF Partnership for Civic Advancement receives grant from Franklin Savings Bank’s Community Development Foundation

FARMINGTON, ME (January 28, 2016)— The University of Maine at Farmington was recently notified by officials at Franklin Savings Bank that their Community Development Foundation has awarded a three-year grant totaling $45,000 to UMF’s Partnership for Civic Advancement.

“We are indeed proud of the considerable accomplishments of the UMF Partnership for Civic Advancement,” stated Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president. “In addition, we are deeply grateful for the Franklin Savings Bank’s Community Development Foundation’s valued support of the community-university partnerships we have formed to take our students beyond our campus and immerse them in learning experiences that address local, regional, State, and global issues under the guidance of their faculty and community mentors.”

The goal of UMF’s Partnership for Civic Advancement is to engage students in meaningful community-based activities. These are designed in collaboration with the western Maine community to address community needs and economic and community development priorities, and with students and faculty, to achieve specific learning objectives of the students.

In making this award, Peter Judkins, President and CEO of Franklin Savings Bank stated, “Franklin Savings Bank is pleased to be able to help provide internship opportunities for young people through the Partnership for Civic Advancement. An internship is an excellent place to test the waters for a career while gaining valuable experience.”

The community-based student internship program is a key component of the Partnership, matching the skills and interests of undergraduate student interns and faculty mentors with the needs of small businesses and community organizations. Through these internships, students gain valuable work and life experiences and develop the professional, civic and leadership skills they need, while small businesses and community organizations have access to important resources that help them be successful.

Since its launch in 2012, the Partnership’s internship program has grown by more than 300 percent, and new components of the program have been initiated, including volunteerism and leadership training and education.

“This award from the Franklin Savings Bank Community Development Foundation will provide the needed scholarship support to permit our most committed students to work with various community organizations, agencies and businesses to advance the priorities of our community partners, while the students acquire a range of new educational, professional and leadership skills,” said Celeste Branham, UMF vice president for student and community services.

In recognition of Franklin Savings Bank Community Development Foundation’s support of the Partnership and its projects throughout the community, interns sponsored through the Foundation’s support are known as the UMF-Franklin Savings Bank Interns.

Media Contact: F. Celeste Branham, UMF vice president for student and community services, 207-778-7087, or


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UMF joins with Western Maine high schools to present second annual EdCamp, Feb. 6

FARMINGTON, ME (January 25, 2016)—The University of Maine at Farmington and Western Maine K-12 school districts are collaborating to present their second annual Western Maine EdCamp.  This professional development opportunity is offered to empower educators of all kinds to share their vision for high quality teaching and learning.

EdCampWME is free and open to the public and will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Mt. Blue High School, in Farmington, Saturday, Feb. 6 (Feb. 7 snow date.)

This year’s EdCamp “un-conference” is organized by UMF College of Education faculty members and teachers from Mt. Blue, Mountain Valley, Wells and Greeley high schools. The flexible schedule of professional development sessions are determined by the interests of the participants and can include discussions, demonstrations, teaching ideas, etc. on any educational topic.

“The goal of this event is to energize educators of all kinds through a positive sharing of creative ideas,” said Johanna Prince, director of the UMF graduate program in education.  “Last year’s EdCamp brought together more than 80 participants, and we look forward to another successful gathering.”

K-12 teachers and administrators, pre-service teachers, parents, homeschoolers and any interested educators are welcome to attend.  Registration is recommended and can be completed at:

For more information, contact Johannna Prince at


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UMF and Shiretown Bookers feature historical talk by Dean Emeritus Rob Lively, Jan. 31

FARMINGTON, ME (January 22, 2016)—The University of Maine at Farmington and the Shiretown Bookers—community friends of UMF’s Mantor Library—are pleased to present a talk by Rob Lively, retired UMF dean and associate provost, on a collection of historical documents that shed new light on the nineteenth century view of the end of the world.

UMF Dean Emeritus Rob LivelyThe story of the discovery and the implications of these remarkable documents will be presented at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 31, in room C23 in the Roberts Learning Center at 270 Main Street, on the UMF campus. This event is free and open to the public.

Historically, groups that anticipate the imminent Second Coming of Christ (Millenarians) have been made up of people lacking power, money and influence in this life. They looked forward to the time when the roles would be reversed, and they would live with Christ during his millennial reign—to the exclusion of all others.

Lively’s talk will explore a cache of documents of the Catholic Apostolic Church of nineteenth century England—a religious group composed of members of Parliament, landed gentry and aristocracy—that didn’t fit that profile.

The Shiretown Bookers, the community friends of Mantor Library, are a group of collectors and booklovers who provide exhibitions and lectures throughout the year with the goal of fostering the relationship between the university and the community.

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Contact: Reid Byers – or 609-306-1002

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at
Photo Credit: UMF photo
Photo Caption:  UMF Dean Emeritus Rob Lively

UMF Art Gallery presents “Hot Dust” exhibit by artist Jesse Potts, Jan 28-Mar 6

FARMINGTON, ME (January 20, 2016)—The University of Maine at Farmington kicks off the semester with an exhibit at the UMF Art Gallery by Jesse Potts, sculptor, artist and UMF assistant professor of art. “Hot Dust” is a collection of sculptures, prints, and animated installations and is on display from Jan. 28 through March 6. Free and open to the public, the exhibit will feature an opening reception 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28.

Digital print by Jesse Potts, artist

“(X)” digital print by Jesse Potts

The works in this exhibit explore the intersection of place, memory and time. They emerged from a meditation on the meaning of “home” and the ways that “home” shifts based on one’s perception of its permanence or transience. In the studio, the artist questions how the memory of an experience is organized through its relationship to a place and time. How might those memories be mutated, overwritten or erased by time?

A re-occurring element in this body of work is the reference to the road either through the use of maps or through the reference to the solid double yellow-line bisecting lanes of traffic. Potts is attracted to the road in not only its symbolic reference to mobility and to the line between two points, but also its coded system of rules. Some works contain momentum, some works are the residue of momentum and some remain lost in between.

Potts’ sculpture and installations combine constructed and found objects, printed image, video, light, performance and sound. Kinetic and interactive components within the work link time-based functions to action and outcome. The work itself exists as the residual matter of a meditation on the relationship between time, sensory perception, culture and mortality.

He has been an artist in residence at the I-A-M residency, Berlin, Germany, The European Ceramic Work Centre’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France. He has received grants from The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Vermont Arts council, The Kansas City Artist Coalition and VCU School of the Arts.  His work has been included in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and reviewed by Hyperallergic and the New York Times.

Potts completed his MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University.

This UMF Art Gallery exhibition is sponsored by the Department of Sound, Performance and Visual Inquiry. The gallery is located at 246 Main Street in Farmington, behind the Admissions Office. Gallery hours are Tuesdays–Sundays, 12-4 p.m. and by appointment.  For more information, or to make an appointment please contact Sarah Maline at or 207-778-1062.

More about the UMF Art Gallery

The UMF Art Gallery is dedicated to bringing contemporary art and artists to campus and the regional community. In its focus on innovative and challenging new work, the gallery reinforces the academic vision of the university and the Department of Sound, Performance and Visual Inquiry in celebrating art as a powerful agent of community and cultural identity. The gallery develops interdisciplinary educational opportunities for students and community and works with local schools to integrate art into their curricula.

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 Media Contact: Jesse Potts, UMF assistant professor of art, at

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at
Photo Credit: Submitted photo
Image:( X )” digital print

UMF faculty member to be featured speaker at international biosciences conference in Nepal

FARMINGTON, ME (January 7, 2016)—Chris Brinegar, adjunct associate professor in the University of Maine at Farmington Division of Natural Sciences, has been invited to be the keynote speaker for the Biodiversity & Natural Products session of the International Conference on Biosciences and Biotechnology held in Kathmandu, Nepal, Feb. 4-6.

UMF faculty member Chris BrinegarBrinegar’s research specialty is plant phylogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of genetic lineages in plant populations. The genetic data resulting from this research can shed light on plant species evolution, assess biodiversity and help identify populations in need of conservation.

His talk will summarize his genetics research on Cinchona officinalis that he conducted during a recent Fulbright fellowship in Ecuador. Tree species in the genus Cinchona are a rich source of quinine, an anti-malarial drug, and were among the first plants in the New World to suffer from overexploitation after Spanish colonization. Brinegar’s lecture will also describe how genetic studies can guide conservation approaches for threatened and endangered plant species which produce commercially important natural products.

Brinegar has taught ecology, environmental science and biochemistry at UMF since 2006. He has twice been named a Fulbright Scholar to pursue his teaching and research: in the Biotechnology Department at Kathmandu University in Nepal in 2008 and at the Technical University of Loja in the Andes Mountains of southern Ecuador in 2014.

He received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, M.S. in food chemistry from Cornell University, and Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin. Following post-doctoral training in plant molecular biology at the Plant Cell Research Institute in California, he joined the faculty of the Biology Department at San Jose State University in 1987 where he taught molecular biology, cell biology, botany and evolution. His research there focused on the population genetics of coastal and forest plants of northern California, including coast redwoods.

The ICBB conference organizing partners include the Asian Federation of Biotechnology, The World Academy of Sciences and the Research Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology.

More on University of Maine at Farmington

A nationally-recognized public liberal arts college, UMF enjoys a 150-year tradition of providing a quality academic experience combined with the personal attention and close student / faculty collaboration that help prepare all students to be successful. Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF offers top quality programs in the arts and sciences, teacher preparation, and business and pre-professional studies. UMF is located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region and is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for engaged citizenship, enriching professional careers and an enduring love of learning.

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Media Contact: Chris Brinegar, UMF adjunct associate professor of biology, at

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at
Photo Credit: Submitted photo

UMF employee Lois King named Hospice Volunteer of the Year

FARMINGTON, ME (December 15, 2015)—Lois King, UMF employee since 1979 and volunteer with Beacon Hospice in Augusta, has been selected from hundreds of nominations across 34 states as Hospice Volunteer of the Year. Kelly Herlihy, volunteer coordinator at the Augusta facility, an Amedisys company, made the memorable announcement at UMF’s University Store where King is employed.

King started volunteering for the hospice organization several years ago after her mother, a dedicated volunteer herself, required hospice care. A great lover of poetry, her mother had an extensive collection of poems she would share with friends and loved ones in her personal correspondence.

Wanting to see her mother’s caring legacy continue, King started a Bereavement Poetry program with Beacon Hospice where she shares her mother’s poetry to cheer and console bereaved family and friends of hospice patients.Lois King receives award.

“Lois is not your typical direct care volunteer,” said Herlihy in her nomination letter of King for the hospice award. “What a great way to honor and carry her mother’s traditions with her than to use her mom’s stationary to send a small token from the heart to bereaved families.”

King received a commemorative plaque, flowers, and a $2,500 check. Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president, also gave her a book of poetry by Wes McNair, Maine Poet Laureate.

In addition to her poetry program, King gave over 100 hours creating more than 25 Chart a Life boards for individuals in hospice care. These collages of patients’ personal experiences and things they loved help care givers get to know and interact with a patient and are given to the family afterwards as a keepsake.

“Hospice is a wonderful organization,” said King. “They provide comfort, companionship and support for patients and their families when they need it the most. I love what I’m doing.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo can be found at

Photo Credit: UMF photo

Photo Caption:  Lois King receives Volunteer of the Year award.