On Oct. 18, the University of Maine Graduate School held an open house to provide students with information about the available programs. Representatives from dozens of Masters and Ph.D. programs set up booths in Stodder Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
UMaine offers over 100 graduate programs on their website, some of which are lumped into more general discipline such as the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering (GSBSE). The GSBSE contains Ph.D. programs in biomedical science and biomedical engineering.
John Bomar, a fourth-year student in the GSBSE ran the program’s booth at the open house. Bomar explained how the GSBSE offers students a range of experiences thanks to the wide scope of the program and its six partner institutions including UMaine.
“You get the opportunity to rotate through multiple different labs. So if you are coming into grad school with a little uncertainty about exactly what you want to do, you have the opportunity to test out different labs, different research areas, and really figure out what it is you want to do,” Bomar said.
Army ROTC Scholarship and Enrollment Advisor Brendan Fahey ran a booth at the open house to try to recruit graduate students for the Army ROTC program. There are currently no graduate student Army ROTC members, but the program is willing to assist graduate students financially, according to Fahey.
“The US Army, like all the other services, has a need for advanced degree holding officers to serve in research and development… our program emphasizes leadership, so we produce leaders, officers, for the US Army. Those skills will last you a lifetime we refer to it as leaders for life… you’re going to have a people-person skill set, managing multiple tasks at the same time, that corporate America loves,” Fahey said.
Fahey also mentioned that UMaine Army ROTC won the 2016 General Douglas MacArthur Award. The MacArthur Award is awarded based on a ROTC program’s recruitment success, as well as the physical and academic abilities of the ROTC cadets.
At the time of the Award, Army ROTC cadets averaged a GPA of 3.39 and a physical fitness score of 280/300.
“That speaks to the quality of the training we have and the performance of our cadets, it’s a reflection on the University of Maine student body,” Fahey said.
Susan Smith, a professor and faculty member, represented the Intermedia program at the open house. The Intermedia program brings together students with a variety of different undergraduate degrees to work on innovative interdisciplinary projects.
“Our program really uses cutting-edge technology; drones, a 3D printer, video, recording, sound, and really is at that intersection of cross-discipline… we’ve got people coming in from all different undergraduate majors and people who have been out in the workforce for a while,” Smith said.
Smith teaches public and political art in the Intermedia program.
“We’ve got a lot of projects going with our current political climate where we take artwork and projects right out into the community across Maine and Massachusetts… most recently in Toronto where we’re doing just kind of on the spot immediate performances connected with political issues,” Smith said.
Smith also highlighted that many of the facilities at the Innovative Media Research & Communications Center (IMRC), the intermedia program’s hub, are available to the general public as well as students.
Greg Howard attended the open house to represent the English Program, which he says has the potential to further one’s academic and personal growth.
“One of the things that English studies does is it focuses on close reading, thinking and synthesizing, so there’s this sense that you can understand complexity and explain complexity in a way that doesn’t reduce it.”
The English Graduate Program offers diverse instruction in everything from poetry, to contemporary literature and creative writing. Howard says that being able to understand and communicate with diverse communities is one of the many benefits to graduate English studies.
“There’s like a professional side, and then there’s a human side. That engagement with different voices, different ways of thinking, grows us as people in real important ways that I think the world right now could use,” Howard said.
The representatives from graduate programs described the differences between undergraduate and graduate school responsibilities. They all seemed to agree that more independence is given to the students, and with that independence comes pressure to perform.
“Going to an MA program is a way of understanding yourself within the discipline that you want to be in and then kind of pursuing that and moving into a more public space. So you’re responsible for your own kind of research interests, pursuing those on your own time,” Howard said.
More information on the programs offered by the UMaine Graduate School can be found at https://umaine.edu/graduate/.