Maine State Science Fair Showcases High School STEM Talent

The 73rd annual Maine State Science Fair (MSSF), organized by The Jackson Laboratory and Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, was held on March 23, 2019, and included 250 students representing 36 schools in 13 Maine counties. Each high schooler presented their original research and engineering project to a state-wide audience of peers and mentors, in competition for coveted state titles and over $548,000 in scholarships and awards.

Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin attended the conference to give remarks of encouragement and acknowledgment to the student participants this year.

This year’s winners include:

  • 1st Grand Award – Tyler Delargy, Bangor High School, “Developing Three-Dimensional Spatial Cognition for the Visually Impaired Using Computational Depth Mapping and Vibro-Tactile Display”
  • 2nd Grand Award – Antonina Zakorchemna and Artem Laptiev, Fryeburg Academy, “Product Development of an Alternative Low-cost Braille E-reader”
  • 3rd Grand Award – Amara Ifeji, Bangor High School, “Testing the Effectiveness of Mycorrhizae in the Phytoremediation of Heavy Metals from Stormwater”

Delargy, Zakorchemna, Laptiev, and Ifeji will represent Maine at the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Ariz. The Intel ISEF is the premier global science competition for students in grades 9-12, and provides a forum for 1,700 students from 70 countries, regions, and territories to display their independent research.

“As a nonprofit biomedical research institution, we understand the importance of excellent STEM education, and we’re so proud to support the MSSF and students across the state of Maine,” said S. Catherine ‘Katy’ Longley, J.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The Jackson Laboratory (JAX).  “On behalf of JAX, I would like to congratulate every one of these bright teenagers for their ingenuity and creativity.”

MSSF is one of the largest high school STEM programs in Maine. STEM professionals from 48 Maine companies, non-profit organizations, higher education, and governmental organizations volunteered to interact with students, provide feedback on their projects, and select the top projects in categories including Behavioral Sciences, Biological Sciences, Energy, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, and Physics.

In addition, over $548,000 in scholarships, including several full-tuition scholarships, from The University of Maine, College of the Atlantic, University of New England, University of Maine at Augusta, and Husson University were distributed to students who demonstrated creativity, innovation, aptitude and great scientific potential. In addition to scholarships, students were awarded spots in summer STEM enrichment programs at the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership and in the Keller BLOOM program at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

“Science fairs are really cool, they give young people an opportunity to demonstrate their competence, but mostly, they give people the opportunity to follow their imagination, to do research, to have the fun of discovering things,” said U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME). “This is really important for Maine and our country.”

The following students received full tuition scholarships from the University of Maine:

  • Leila Davids, Bangor High School
  • Ijeoma Obi, Bangor High School
  • Rowan Andrews, Bangor High School
  • Madeline Ahola, Bangor High School
  • Madison Momenee, Noble High School
  • Emma Fitzpatrick, Greely High School
  • Amara Ifeji, Bangor High School
  • Connor Noddin, Bangor High School
  • Anthony Caccese, Bangor High School
  • Blake Erhard, Boothbay Region High School
  • Lily McLaughlin, Bangor High School
  • Marina Mohawass, Bangor High School

 The following students received a $20,000 yearly scholarship from the College of the Atlantic, renewable for four years.

  • Jennifer Noyes, John Bapst Memorial High School
  • Jordyn Miller, Bangor High School

The following students received a $5,000 yearly scholarship from the University of New England, renewable for four years:

  • Sarah Dorey, John Bapst Memorial High School
  • Adelaide Valley, John Bapst Memorial High School
  • Shannon O’Roak, Dexter Regional High School
  • Madison Momenee, Noble High School
  • Alyssa Ellis, Nokomis Regional High School

The following students received a $1,500 yearly scholarship from the University of Maine at Augusta, renewable for four years:

  • Lauren Underhill, Nokomis Regional High School
  • Jordyn Miller, Bangor High School

The following students received a $1,000 scholarship from Husson University:

  • Shannon O’Roak, Dexter Regional High School
  • Beau Briggs, Nokomis Regional High School
  • Madison Hopkins, Nokomis Regional High School
  • Vanessa Scott, Deering High School
  • Taya Wood, Washington Academy

The following students earned experiential awards for STEM enrichment programs in Maine:

  • Keller BLOOM at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences: Jordyn Miller, Bangor High School
  • HurricaneIsland Advanced Marine Biology Camp: Wade Wahlig, Falmouth High School
  • iXplore STEM Summer Program: Swetha Palaniappan, Cape Elizabeth High School
  • UNE Health Careers Exploration Camp: Alya Theriault, Caribou High School

Additional winners from the Maine State Science Fair include:

  • Future Innovator Award for outstanding research and engineering projects by 1st year students, given by The Jackson Laboratory:
    • Sirohi Kumar, Mount Desert Island High School
    • Alden Wilcox, Caribou High School
    • Quinn D’Alessio, Bangor High School
    • Noah Coyle, Bangor High School
    • Lily Millard, Bangor High School
  • Reach Center Award for outstanding research and engineering projects by students from schools new to MSSF:
    • Dexuan Tang, Hebron Academy
    • Antonina Zakorchemna and Artem Laptiev, Fryeburg Academy
    • Blake Erhard and Lilley Harris, Boothbay Region High School
    • Erica Schlichting, Gray New Gloucester High School
  • Intel Computer Science Award for the most outstanding project in computer sciences: Ryan Kinney, Bangor High School
  • Society for Science and the Public Community Innovation Award for a project that will better humanity and improve conditions in the local community: Ibrahim Saleh, Greely High School
  • Stockholm Junior Water Prize, recognizing the most outstanding project in water and watershed research:
    • Merline Feero, Waterville Senior High School
    • Lily McLaughlin and Rowan Andrews, Bangor High School
  • Judges Fund Award for Excellence in Genetics: Brandon Aponte, John Bapst Memorial High School
  • Naval Science Award
    • Leila Davids, Bangor High School
    • Tyler Delargy, Bangor High School
    • Anthony Caccese, Bangor High School
    • Luke Conroy, Noble High School
  • Mu Alpha Theta: Samanthak Thiagrajan, Bangor High School

MSSF Category winners include:

  • Animal Sciences, general – Logan Eckmann, John Bapst Memorial High School
  • Animal Sciences, marine sciences – Vetri Vel, Bangor High School
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences, sociology – Micah Pietraho, Brunswick High School
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences, clinical, neurological, physiological, cognitive studies – Sirohi Kumar, Mount Desert Island High School
  • Biological Sciences and Engineering – Yu Dong, Gould Academy
  • Biomedical and Health Sciences – Blake Erhard, Boothbay Region High School
  • Chemistry and Materials – Marina Mohawass, Bangor High School
  • Computer Science and Mathematics – Ijeoma Obi, Bangor High School
  • Energy – Frederick Oldenburg, McKayla Kendall and Roland Ladd, Bangor High School
  • Engineering Mechanics – Tyler Delargy, Bangor High School
  • Environmental Sciences, general studies – Andrea Grossmann, John Bapst Memorial High School
  • Environmental Sciences, water quality – Maddie Brookings, Bangor High School
  • Physics and Astronomy – Lindsay Cote, Nokomis Regional High School
  • Plant Sciences – Amara Ifeji, Bangor High School

Maine State Science Fair is further supported by R.H. Reny, Inc., Texas Instruments, ON Semiconductor, Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Poland Springs, and Mölnlycke.

The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance supports educators to teach STEM in more meaningful ways through professional development resources for K-12 educators, research and evaluation of STEM learning experiences, and building relationships and networks to sustain systemic statewide improvement.

The Jackson Laboratory offers educational programs for scientists throughout their careers — from STEM education for high school students and training for science and math teachers to courses and conferences for experienced researchers defining the cutting edge of genomics research and specialized training for physicians interested in incorporating genetics and genomics into their practices.

MSSM Wins 2019 Maine State Science Bowl Competition

Submitted by Ryan McDonald, Summer Programs Director and Public Relations Coordinator at Maine School of Science and Mathematics

It was an exciting Saturday in March at the University of Southern Maine, Gorham, as 20 teams from 12 Maine high schools battled it out answering questions related to Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, Astronomy, Energy, and Mathematics at the Maine State Science Bowl.  After 10 rounds of play, including two tie-breaker sets to determine placements for the semi-finals, MSSM Team A emerged victorious. MSSM Team B placed 4th in their division, but did not advance to the semi-finals.  This is MSSM’s fourth win, with previous victories in 2007, 2013, and 2014.   The winning team now receives an all-expense-paid trip to the National Science Bowl competition, which is held just outside Washington, DC, at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD, on April 25-29.  While at Nationals MSSM will compete against schools from around the US, as well as listen to lectures from leading scientists and visit many of the spectacular museums found in our nation’s capital.

MSSM Team A is comprised of Daniel Brower (from Carmel), James Hawkes (from Portland), George Johnson (from Kennebunkport), Jay Philbrick (from North Yarmouth), and Jordan Theriault (from Caribou), and is coached by Dr. Debbie Eustis-Grandy.  MSSM Team B is comprised of Madison Albert (from North Yarmouth), Amanda Chen (from Thomaston), Annie Giroux (from Belgrade), and Mari Witmer (from Fort Kent), and is coached by Tracy Meyer.

Nobleboro K-8 School Partners with Kieve

Submitted by Kris Harriman, Librarian at the Nobleboro Central School Library in AOS 93.

Two familiar faces have returned to Nobleboro Central School (NCS) as part of an ongoing partnership between NCS and mentors from The Leadership School at Kieve. The collaboration was launched through discussions between former NCS Principal and current AOS 93 staff member, Ann Hassett and Kieve’s Director of Education & Operations, Charlie Richardson.

Noah Dines and Nelson Bandy are Kieve educators in residence who once again will support students and staff at NCS. Dines will remain at the school until the end of May this year, while Bandy will finish up in March.

The friendly duo attend school daily starting in January and take part in lunch, recess, field trips, and other special activities. They also visit general and special education classrooms from kindergarten through grade 8, and the school’s Center For Alternative Learning (CAL).

They often can be found playing on the playground during recess, opening milk cartons at lunch, and joining in a competitive game during a physical education class. They helped cook and serve green eggs and ham in the school library to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss in March.

Their most ambitious project is the popular after-school program they run Mondays through Thursdays at NCS. They provide healthy snacks and lead students in games and activities both indoors and outdoors. They organize games in the gymnasium, bake bread, talk about the “Question of the Day,” and encourage the youth to sample healthy and unfamiliar snacks.

Dines is in his third year at NCS, and Bandy has returned for a second year. They serve as positive role models and mentors for students, and in the past have joined field trips and other off-campus activities such as ice skating and excursions to the Hidden Valley Nature Center
in Jefferson.

This year NCS is affiliated with the Winter Kids program, which means Kieve will be adding additional outdoor activities, Dines said. The annual collaboration is part of a partnership between NCS and Kieve, which is located just down the road in Nobleboro.

For more information visit Kieve’s web page:

Maine’s National Board-Certified Teachers Celebrate at Pinning Ceremony 

 The number one reason we do this (National Board Certification) is the students. Educators are about kids and we want our students to have the best teachers possible,” said Tami Fitzgerald, Director of Outreach and Engagement for the National Board of Professional Standards. Fitzgerald, who traveled to Maine from Washington DC for the event, was one of the featured speakers at the March 29, 2019 ceremony: a celebration honoring and recognizing Maine’s new and renewed National Board-Certified Teachers.

Friends, families, and colleagues throughout the state gathered at Cony High School to attend the ceremony, which was co-sponsored by the National Board-Certified Teachers of Maine Network and the Maine Education Association. Also speaking at the ceremony were Grace Leavitt, NBCT and President of the Maine Education Association; Melissa Guerrette, NBCT and Chair of the Maine NBCT Network; and Constance (Connie) Russell, NBCT and 2018 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year. 

In achieving National Board Certification, teachers demonstrated that their teaching meets the profession’s standards for accomplished practice through a rigorous, peer-reviewed and performance-based process, similar to professional certification in fields such as medicine. This comprehensive process includes four components: a computer-based assessment to test content knowledge and three classroom embedded portfolio entries which include student work samples, assessment practices, videos of teaching, and in-depth written reflections. Through the four components, teachers provide evidence of their ability to advance student learning and achievement 

Due to the rigorous and personalized nature of this process, a common sentiment expressed by the speakers was the commitment –mental and emotional—that National Board Certification requires. Russell spoke about feelings of vulnerability and insecurity that arose as she shared her teaching samples at the candidate support workshops, “I was putting my teaching on the big screen, out there in front of people” and yet, as uncomfortable as it was, how she benefited from it, “at school we never had the kinds of conversations I was having with my National Board colleagues—I knew the feedback was making me better—I began craving it.” Fitzgerald echoed Russell, “teacher candidates are always asking, ‘how do I keep getting better, how do I reach higher?” 

The speakers also reflected on the new lens that National Board Certification gave them: a lens in which to view their students, standards, content, and teaching practice. Russel shared, “I started looking at every lesson, bulletin board, field trip, and guest speaker through the lens of how any of these activities would impact student learning.”   

Along with being congratulated and honored for achieving National Board Certification, the speakers told the new NBCTs that this is not the end of the journey. Honorees were encouraged to use their “NBCT-voice” to advocate for their students, schools, and to elevate the teaching profession.  

After the pinning was completed, the new NBCTs were given “tapping cards” – invitations for them to extend to their colleagues to begin their own journey toward National Board Certification.  

Maine’s new 2018 National Board Certified Teachers:

First name Last Name Employer


Employer School
1. Jennifer Dorman RSU 54/MSAD 54 Skowhegan Area Middle School
2. Laura Phelps RSU 1 Phippsburg Elementary School
3. Matthew Leland Lincoln Academy
4. Seth Anderson Lincoln Academy
5. Gayle Martin AOS 92 Winslow Elementary School
6. Kelly O’Brien-Weaver RSU 22/MSAD 22 George B. Weatherbee School
7. Kristin Lorbeski RSU 11/MSAD 11 River View CMTY School
8. Anne Dalphin Portland Public School District Presumpscot Elementary School
9. Hillary Hoyt RSU 22/MSAD 22 Leroy H Smith Elem School
10. Ryan Avery RSU 11/MSAD 11 Gardiner Regional Middle School
11. Patricia Forster Five Town CMTY School District Camden Hills Regional High School
12. Michael Hayashida RSU 16 Poland Regional High School
13. Emily Powers Lewiston Public Schools Gov James B. Longley Elem School
14. Christina Rich RSU 55/MSAD 55 South Hiram Elementary School
15. Courtney Cole RSU 19 Etna-Dixmont Elementary School
16. Rebecca Humphrey Hanaburgh Falmouth School District Falmouth Elementary School
17. Gordon Crosby RSU 16 Poland Regional High School
18. Angela McLaughlin RSU 26 Asa C Adams Elementary School
19. Toni Barboza RSU 19 Etna-Dixmont Elementary School
20. Emilie Throckmorton Bangor School District Bangor High School
21. Luanne Mudgett RSU 55/MSAD 55 Sacopee Valley Middle School
22. Rebecca Maiorano Portland Public School District Presumpscot Elementary School
23. Katie Dutil Augusta School District Lillian P Hussey Elem School
24. Rebekah Brockway RSU 12 Windsor Elementary School
25. Pauline Leadbetter RSU 17/MSAD 17 Harrison Elementary School
26. Marie Dickson Lewiston Public Schools Thomas J McMahon Elem School
27. Venise Philbrick Lewiston Public Schools Martel Elementary School
28. Jennifer Lunt Portland Public School System Portland High School
29. Dawn Pendergrass Biddeford School District Biddeford High School
30. Jason Kash RSU 22/MSAD 22 Reeds Brook Middle School
31. Nell Hermann Union School Dist 93 Blue Hill Consolidated Elem School
32. Megan Markgren Portland Public School District Longfellow Elementary School
33. Sonya Logan RSU 55/MSAD 55 Sacopee Valley Middle School
34. David Boardman AOS 92 Mid-Maine Technical Center

For more information about National Board Certification: 

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: 

Tamara Ranger, MDOE Educator Excellence Coordinator: 

Melissa Guerrette, Maine NBCT Network Chair: 

Central Maine Educators Regional Conference (CMERC) is a Success

Submitted by Wendy Berce, Administrative Assistant at Regional School Unit No. 68

On March 15, 2019, SeDoMoCha school in Dover-Foxcroft Maine hosted the 7th annual regional professional development day. This year’s event, formally known as MooseTech, was rebranded as the 1st annual Central Maine Educators Regional Conference. Over 400 teachers, support staff, and administrators from five local school districts attended the days events. Attendees from RSU 68 (Dover-Foxcroft), Foxcroft Academy, AOS 94 (Dexter), SAD 31 (Howland), and SAD 41 (Milo) were given the opportunity to attend four one-hour sessions ranging in topics that included technology, poverty, social and emotional learning, student safety, instructional strategies, and student engagement.

In addition to these individualized breakout sessions, attendees were also able to attend a keynote presentation by Heather Blier Ph. D., owner and psychologist at Dirigo Consulting. Dr. Blier has a doctorate in clinical psychology and she specializes in clinical assessment and intervention, placing a special emphasis on research-based practices and applied research in clinical and academic settings.

The main focus of this conference is bringing together some of the area’s smartest and most influential educational minds in the state. In addition to sessions being lead by local educators, many external organizations such as universities, private and public businesses as well as local law enforcement all contributed to the day’s learning. Coupled with the generous donation of time and knowledge by the session presenters, this year’s event could not have be completed without the generous donations of all of our sponsors, including our host sponsor, Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union.

Planning for next year’s event is already underway!