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Senator Spotlight: Cynthia Shelmerdine

University of Maine undergraduate student senator Cynthia Shelmerdine has high aspirations for her fellow engineering students and is just getting started.

Shelmerdine, a Midcoast Maine native, is one of UMaine Student Government Inc.’s first-year students serving on the student senate. She doesn’t let this hold her back. Rather, she uses it to boost herself and other students.

During her first semester, she stated that being a student senator felt “a bit like imposter syndrome. It seems like not a lot of freshmen are doing it. It was daunting, but everyone is super friendly, and everyone just wants to help.”

“I was heavily involved in school politics when I was in high school, so I had looked for those same opportunities here,” she said. This led to her contacting the President of UMSG, Michael Delorge, with questions about involvement. She describes the student senate as “a collective goal that everyone is working towards,” be it funding clubs or writing acts to urge for valuable change on campus.

Shelmerdine is a biomedical engineering student concentrating in tissue engineering. Her dream job is to work in a laboratory focusing on organ genesis or regenerative medicine after she pursues higher education. Shelmerdine has a lot to navigate: her first year of college, being a woman in a STEM field and being the only student senator in the College of Engineering. She has hung up posters with her information to ensure that others feel heard, encouraging engineering students to reach out to her for representation.

Part of the reason for the advertisement is to encourage students to get involved. “I had so many conversations with [people in engineering] asking, ‘Oh, what do you do here?’ I’d say I’m part of [the] student senate. ‘Oh, what’s that?’”

“A lot of kids had no idea that [UMSG] was something that was an offer this school has. I remember one of the meetings the 3D Printing Club came in, and they had an issue because the Mechanical Engineering College was not giving them funding…I felt really embarrassed that they didn’t know I was there to help them,” she said, adding that she would have facilitated conversations between students and the department.

One of Shelmerdine’s favorite parts of UMSG is meeting new people from all majors, backgrounds and walks of life. “It was super interesting to be able to connect with all parts of the school at once and be able to hear so many people’s experiences,” said Shelmerdine.

Despite being new to UMSG, Shelmerdine says she has grown very comfortable with her constituency and fellow student leaders. “[UMSG Executives] have been very generous, inviting me to certain meetings like one with the Dean of Engineering…everyone wants to get involved. It’s a very nice community to be a part of,” she said.

To students who are nervous about getting involved, her advice is simple. “If you’re really passionate about it, it doesn’t feel like it’s a big, overwhelming task. Everyone is there to help you.”

Shelmerdine encourages students to reach out to her, especially her engineering student constituency. She can be reached at

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