USM Names 2011 Creating Maine’s Future Presidential Scholarship Winners

The University of Southern Maine awarded two Creating Maine’s Future Presidential Scholarships, a privately funded scholarship program. The scholarships provide incoming USM freshmen with $5,000 in tuition assistance per year for four years. The four previous recipients from 2010 have maintained a 3.5 grade point average or above and will be returning to USM in the fall.

The 2011 recipients are Melania Jankowski of Portland, a graduate of Portland High School, and Scott Gagne of Lewiston, a graduate of Lewiston High School.

Jankowski was a two-sport team captain, playing soccer and lacrosse. She also was part of executive board, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and Key Club. While in high school, she was an intern at USM’s Wise Lab as well as a member of the National Honor Society. She has not yet decided on a major.

Scott Gagne was a member of the National Honor Society and an active member of the Yearbook Committee. Gagne performed in multiple music groups including Chamber Singers and multiple jazz groups. He played varsity tennis and golf, and received a Coach’s Award. He plans to major in business.

Creating Maine’s Future Presidential Scholarships are our most distinguished academic awards,” said USM President Selma Botman. “This scholarship supports Maine students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and school or community leadership. We are pleased to be able to welcome two more of these outstanding individuals to USM.”

The Presidential Scholarships are part of USM’s “Creating Maine’s Future Campaign for Scholarships,” an effort to help more Maine students afford a high-quality, public university education.

Posted by on August 2nd, 2011 Read More Comments Off

Maine Higher Education Assistance Foundation Awards Scholarship to Ryan Bosse

President Botman and Ryan Bosse, MeHEAF Scholarship winner

The trustees of the Maine Higher Education Assistance Foundation (MeHEAF) are pleased to announce the awarding of a scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to Ryan Bosse, a finance major at the University of Southern Maine . He is a graduate of Madawaska High School.

The Maine Higher Education Assistance Foundation was established in the 1950’s as a guarantee fund for student loans. The founders included a wide range of banks, businesses, community organizations and individuals. In 1990, the MeHEAF trustees, to continue the original intent of the founding members, initiated a scholarship program funded by the return on the original loan guarantee funds. The fund is now managed by the Maine Bankers Association 489 Congress Street, Portland.

Since 1990, a total of $260,000 in scholarships has been awarded. Colleges receiving MeHEAF grants each year are: Husson University, Maine Community College System, St. Joseph’s College, Thomas College, University of Maine at Augusta, University of Maine at Farmington, University of Maine Fort Kent, University of Maine at Machias, University of Maine at Orono, University of Maine at Presque Isle, University of New England and University of Southern Maine.

Posted by on January 13th, 2011 Read More Comments Off

South Portland’s Abbigail Shirk Wins Department of State’s Benjamin Gilman Scholarship

Abbigail Shirk, recipient of Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Imagine spending the spring semester in Jordan, studying Arabic and international relations, all while experiencing new cultures and broadening your worldview. USM senior Abbigail Shirk of South Portland no longer has to imagine.

Shirk, a political science major at USM, was awarded the Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship for Study Abroad, which will help pay for her spring 2011 semester abroad in Amman, Jordan. Shirk is the second USM student to receive the Gilman scholarship in the last two years. Tim Davis, international studies senior from Peaks Island, received the scholarship in 2009 and traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia during the 2009/2010 academic year. Both Shirk and Davis received the full $5,000 award.

Shirk will spend the spring 2011 semester learning Arabic and studying political science through the Council on International Educational Exchange’s (CIEE) Language and Culture Program. Shirk said she’s never learned a language before, but isn’t worried. “I’ll be doing a ‘home stay’ with a family over there, so I will be completely immersed in the language. I think it will help me learn faster.” She will take her classes at the University of Jordan at Amman.

Shirk decided to go to Jordan because she sees it as a place she might not get the chance to visit in her professional life. “Places like Jordan and Egypt are really at the forefront of what what’s happening in the world. I’m excited to see what’s really going on over there. I want to look beyond the American newspapers and media, and make my own opinions.”

She is planning on going into politics after graduation in May 2011, and is currently applying to law school. “I ultimately see myself in politics. It’s so current and exciting. I like new projects and new developments.”

Davis spent his year abroad studying Russian language, history, culture and politics at St. Petersburg Polytechnical University. Davis said that studying abroad allowed him to experience an education he could not have gotten in the United States. “It allowed me to learn about the Russian people and culture firsthand,” Davis said. Read our News Archive for more about Davis.

The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The scholarship was established in 2000 and is named after Congressman Benjamin Gilman, who served in the House of Representatives for 30 years. Since its establishment, the scholarship has helped 6,500 students nationwide to study abroad.

Posted by on January 13th, 2011 Read More Comments Off

Wright Express Gift Supports USM Scholarships

Wright Express check

President Botman and Wright Express Chairman and CEO Mike Dubyak

Wright Express Chairman and CEO Mike Dubyak presented a check for $34,636 to USM President Selma Botman at the monthly meeting of the USM Corporate Partners, held January 5 in USM’s Hannaford Lecture Hall. The money was raised as part of the 2010 Wright Express Governor’s Golf Tournament to Benefit Scholarships at USM, and the USM/Wright Express Creativity and Leadership Event Series lecture by author Greg Mortenson. Through these efforts, Wright Express has donated $350,000 over the last 10 years for scholarships that have benefitted 64 USM business and computer science students. “We are proud to help give the best and brightest a high-quality education,” said Dubyak. “Wright Express has been a constant and deep friend of USM and all of public higher education,” said Botman.

Posted by on January 5th, 2011 Read More Comments Off

Maria Burdick: Dara J. Kaufman Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Maria Burdick, a recipient of the Dara J. Kaufman Memorial Scholarship, attended the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia during the spring of 2010. Dara Kaufman ’05, who spent a year studying in Seville, Spain, was killed in 2006 during a camping trip. The scholarship, honoring Dara’s love of learning, travel and adventure, was established to support USM students wishing to study abroad.

When I reflect on my experience of studying abroad, I think of the Dara J. Kaufman Memorial Scholarship award notification as the turning point that made my dream a reality. It was then that I knew I would be able to spend the last semester of my undergraduate degree abroad. Looking back on my time in Australia and the University of Queensland, I view my experience as both a wonderful gift and the learning experience of a lifetime.

I have always been interested in traveling. As a high school senior, I graduated early from the Greeley class of 2005 in order to embark on one of those life changing events; a month long outdoor camping and kayaking trip along the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico through the NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) program. This was an experience I believed helped shaped my future in the real world by learning to be independent and working hard in ways that seemed unattainable in the classroom. Like high school, when I went to college I wasted no time, always working at least part-time, volunteering regularly, playing sports and staying active, all while being a full-time honors student.

Maria Burdick, Cairns, Australia

Maria Burdick, Cairns, Australia

While at USM, I found out about the Dara J. Kaufman Memorial Scholarship Program. I applied not having any sense of my chances of being awarded the scholarship. It was a hope I hung onto and thought about daily until the very end when I was notified. I knew that if I was honored with the award, I would approach my experience as not only fulfilling and exciting but as a unique educational gift, in honor of Dara Kaufman’s memory.

I attended the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia on a full-scholarship, one of the most reputable and challenging schools in Australia. Since I had already finished classes in my major (Psychology), I decided to take a variety of classes that were always of interest to me, from Food Science to Contemporary Australia. My classes were full of students from all over the world and my large group of local Australian friends made my experience all the more educational. At first I found it challenging to understand my teachers who had strong Australian or other foreign accents (four out of eight) as my teachers were from other countries, not just Australia. Once I quickly adjusted to the Australian accent and my teachers, I found great enjoyment in all my classes.

The Australian culture was very inviting and I rarely found myself lost in our cultural differences. From the beautiful weather, to the fresh produce, exotic animals, multicultural policies and phenomenal landscape, I would recommend traveling to Australia to anyone.

Great Ocean Road, 12 Apostles, Victoria

Great Ocean Road, 12 Apostles, Victoria

When first arriving in a foreign country, it is easy to only make friendships with other expats, especially from the U.S. I tried not to do this which enriched my experience. I continue to keep in touch with my friends from abroad and look forward to welcoming them to the United States of America when they come to visit, especially Australians since they are among the most frequent travelers in the world.

While in Australia, I wanted to see as much as I could in the little time I had given the massive geography of the country. Through the friends I made I was able to see Cairns (Great Barrier Reef), Byron Bay, Fraser Island (largest sand island in the world), Melbourne, Sydney, the Great Ocean Road, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Each place was beautiful and unique in its own way. One of my favorite parts of traveling in Australia was the diversity of people. I always found Australians to be helpful; no matter where I was. Australia is a multicultural country and when traveling there I met people from all over the world with the most fascinating stories about traveling, life and what brought them to Australia. To me, Australia is probably one of the most travel friendly places to go and I would recommend to anyone to take their time to travel there because the country is a lot bigger than it seems. Meeting so many people from around the world opens up vast new opportunities.

Glass House Mountains, Sunshine Coast, Australia

Glass House Mountains, Sunshine Coast, Australia

Once finished with school, I was given two more great opportunities, traveling to Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, China) and New Zealand, where I continued to learn about the world and the many cultures that enrich it. Today, I am living in Boulder, Colorado where I continue to volunteer in the community and build my professional career.

More to come…Cheers!

Posted by on November 23rd, 2010 Read More No Comments

USM Foundation dinner celebrates the Campaign for Scholarships

Read the Portland Press Herald blog post here.

Posted by on November 3rd, 2010 Read More Comments Off

Celebrating Creating Maine’s Future—The Campaign for Scholarships

Kim Lim, School of Business

Kim Lim, School of Business

Kim Lim of South Portland is the recipient one of USM’s new Presidential Scholarships, created thanks to last year’s Creating Maine’s Future—The Campaign for Scholarships. Kim immigrated from Cambodia with his family in 2008, and by the time he was a senior at South Portland High School he was earning top grades.

He was the speaker at the USM Foundation Annual Dinner on October 28, an event that celebrated the success of USM’s scholarship campaign and attended by other Presidential and Dean’s Scholarship Recipients. During the festivities, President Botman announced that the Campaign’s $850,000 goal was surpassed by $50,000.

You can read Kim Lim’s speech here:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by on October 29th, 2010 Read More Comments Off

Community Banks Launch Androscoggin County Scholarship Challenge

Pictured above (left to right) are Chief Officer Allen Sterling of Auburn Savings Bank, Richard J. Vail, president and CEO of Mechanic Savings, Joyce Gibson, USM LAC Dean, Marcel Gagne, Chair of the USM LAC Community Advisory Board, and Chief Officer Paul Andersen of Androscoggin Bank.

Pictured above (left to right) are Chief Officer Allen Sterling of Auburn Savings Bank, Richard J. Vail, president and CEO of Mechanic Savings, Joyce Gibson, USM LAC Dean, Marcel Gagne, Chair of the USM LAC Community Advisory Board, and Chief Officer Paul Andersen of Androscoggin Bank.

Three local banks have challenged the citizens of Androscoggin County to join them in creating $1,000 scholarships, renewable over four years, that will help 12 students afford an education at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College.

Under the terms of the “Community Banks of Androscoggin County Scholarship Challenge,” Androscoggin Bank, Auburn Savings Bank and Mechanics Savings Bank will match dollar-for-dollar up to $24,000 in community donations. On a pooled basis, the scholarship fund will generate up to $48,000 in support of Androscoggin County students who attend LAC College on a full-time basis. The $48,000 will provide 12 scholarships of $1,000 each per year, for four years.

“This is an investment in our communities,” said Richard J. Vail, president and CEO of Mechanic Savings, Chief Officer Paul Andersen of Androscoggin Bank, and Chief Officer Allen Sterling of Auburn Savings Bank in a joint statement. “We believe in this as an investment, both in terms of advancing Androscoggin County’s economic development and in helping to improve the quality of life for people who live and work here. Study after study shows that earning a college degree enhances an individual’s potential for success in life.”

According to the U.S. Census, only 16% of working-age adults living in Androscoggin County have at least a Bachelor’s degree, compared to 25% in Maine and 34% in New England.

“Many of our students at LAC are older learners with families and other responsibilities,” said USM LAC Dean Joyce Gibson. “A scholarship that provides $4,000 of support over four years could really make the difference in whether a student earns a degree or not. I like to tell people that USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College is your college, established by the people of Lewiston-Auburn, so it is fitting that our community banks are collaborating with community members to support fellow citizens who want to earn a degree.”

USM has been focused on raising scholarship dollars to help more Maine students afford a high-quality, public university education. More than $900,000 has been raised to date for range of new USM scholarships. “To have these banks step forward, pledge money and issue a community challenge is a wonderful testament to how strongly these communities value the educational needs of local students,” said USM President Selma Botman.

Scholarship aid is becoming increasingly important for students who wish to pursue an education. In the most recent academic year, 8,900 students, or more than 91 percent of USM students, received some form of financial aid, much of it in the form of loans. The average student debt for an undergraduate upon graduation from USM is $25,892.

For more information on how to meet the “Community Banks of Androscoggin County Scholarship Challenge,” call 753-6553 or visit

The University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College was joined by Androscoggin Bank, Auburn Savings Bank and Mechanics Savings Bank to announce the start of the “Community Banks of Androscoggin County Scholarship Challenge”. The announcement was made at a recent Androscoggin County Chamber Breakfast at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston.

Posted by on October 26th, 2010 Read More Comments Off

USM LAC Students Receive Scholarships


Pictured are some of the recent scholarship recipients at USM's Lewiston-Auburn College. Left to right are Lori-Ann Touchette, Kessi Waters Kimball, Luke Gizinski, Lynn Poor, Richard Leslie, and Johnathan Warner.

The following scholarship winners were announced recently by USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College:

The LAC Graduate Scholarship: Kayla Smith, Karen Thorp;

The Helen L. Greenwood Scholarship: Lynn Poor;

The Mechanic Savings Bank Scholarship: Caitlin Durgin, Luke Gizinski, Renee Giasson, Lori-Ann Touchette;

The Susan M. Campbell Scholarship: Caitlin Durgin;

The LAC Scholarship: Deidra Dubuc, Caitlin Durgin, Lynn Poor, Lori-Ann Touchette;

The Dr. Harlan Philippi Memorial Scholarship: Jamie Kravetz;

The Betty D. Robinson Scholarship: Jamie Kravetz, Richard Leslie, Marion Russell;

The Edna Frances Dickey Scholarship: Julie Kravetz, Susan Teich, Jonathan Warner;

The St. Mary’s Health System Scholarship: Sandra Milliken;

The Madeleine Giguere Memorial Scholarship: Kessi Waters Kimball.

Posted by on July 29th, 2010 Read More Comments Off

USM’s Franco-American Collection Awards Scholarship

Kessi Watters Kimball

Kessi Watters Kimball

The 2010 recipient of the Madeleine D. Giguère Scholarship at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College has been announced.  Kessi Watters Kimball, an Arts & Humanities major at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College, received an award of $1000.  The scholarship is named for Professor Madeleine D. Giguère and is given by the Franco American Collection Board of Directors. Board member Maureen Perry presented the scholarship to Watters Kimball during the USM LAC Graduation and Recognition Ceremony in May. “The establishment and growth of the Franco-American Collection at USM LAC is due in large part to Professor Giguère’s efforts”, says Perry. “This scholarship is a fitting memorial to her life’s work.” The Collection awards up to three $1000 scholarships each year. To be eligible a student must be enrolled in a degree program at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College, demonstrate an interest in French North American Studies and/or in the local Franco-American community, and maintain a 3.0+ grade point average.

The University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American collection is one of the largest repositories of Franco-American archival material in the State of Maine. The Collection’s holdings cover local history, government, religion, language, education, industry, sports and the arts. The mission of the Collection is to develop and promote interest in and study of Franco-American culture and history on the part of the University community, academic community, and the community at large. The Collection focuses on Lewiston-Auburn and other areas of Maine, with additional regional materials providing a link to the wider contexts of French North America. The Collection is located on USM’s Lewiston-Auburn campus, 51 Westminster St. in Lewiston. Hours of operation and more information are available online at or by calling 753-6545.

Posted by on July 29th, 2010 Read More Comments Off