A good crop
The MBTA Educational Foundation expands its annual awards with two scholarships that honor leadership potential.
The past 12 months have been a banner year for the MBTA Educational Foundation. The philanthropic arm of the Maine Better Transportation Association – along with Maine Transportation Conference sponsorship funds - awarded $15,000 in scholarships to 16 Maine students pursuing careers in transportation-related fields from diesel hydraulics to civil engineering. This year’s group of student honorees includes two first-time scholarship awards – the MBTA Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship and the Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship.
“These two scholarships represent a new direction for the foundation,” said MBTA President Tom Martin. “We are looking for not only gifted students and future engineers, but also for the individuals who will lead our field in the decades to come.”
Bo Li, a third-year civil engineering student at UMaine is the MBTA’s first-ever Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship recipient. The award was established in 2009 and seeks to identify a student who has demonstrated a strong interest in the transportation industry and who shows promise as a future advocate for the transportation community in Maine.
“We were really impressed with Bo, and how he has used his first two years of college to become involved in the community,” said Educational Foundation Board Chair Randy Mace. The Transportation Trailblazer is a sustaining scholarship, meaning Bo will be able to receive it for up to four years, provided he continues to meet the criteria.
The MBTA awarded another first-time scholarship – the Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship – to UMaine engineering student Amie Chiasson, a junior majoring in engineering with a minor in geology. The Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship was established in 2009 in memory of Ken Burrill, a former MBTA president and Transportation Achievement Award recipient (1999). Ken had a long and distinguished career in transportation and construction, and the scholarship bearing his name is meant to go to an individual who shows strong creative and leadership skills.
“Ken was a true leader in our organization – and in Maine – and throughout his career he urged everyone around them to do their best no matter what challenge they faced,” said Mace. “We felt that Amie, like Ken, has a great deal of potential to make an impact in her chosen field.”
In addition, the foundation also awarded three scholarships named for Lucius Barrows who served as the Maine Department of Transportation’s chief engineer from 1928 to 1955 and two scholarships named for former Aroostook County legislator, businessman and MBTA board member Paris J. Snow. Three students received Millard W. Pray Scholarship, named for MBTA past president and Educational Foundation board member Millard Pray, and created by his former employer and business partner Eldon Morrison. The MBTA also collaborated with the Maine Section, American Society of Civil Engineers to fund six MBTA-ASCE Maine Transportation Conference Scholarships.
“We are very lucky this year to have had such a good crop of talented students applying for MBTA scholarships,” said Martin. “It bodes well for our field and for the future of transportation in Maine.”
Below are brief profiles of the 2009 MBTA Scholarship winners.
Kazia grew up much of her life in Skowhegan, and moved to Freeport for her last two years of high school at Pine Tree Academy. She is in her second year at Husson College where she is studying psychology and criminal justice.
As a recipient of a Millard W. Pray Scholarship, Kazia said her first year of study was challenging, but rewarding. She plans to continue to work hard to achieve her goal of becoming a criminal profiler. She wrote, “I aim to graduate from Husson with honors and with minimal debt. The Millard W. Pray Scholarship will help me achieve this goal.”
Amie Chiasson, from Turner, is the first MBTA recipient of the Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship. She is a junior civil engineering major at UMaine with a 3.4 grade point average. Amie is studying transportation engineering and minoring in earth science with a primary focus on climate change and glaciers.
In the summer of 2008, Amie worked as an intern for Main-Land Development Consultants of Livermore Falls where she helped develop storm water plans for projects. She plans to go to graduate school at UMaine for environmental and water resources engineering. Eventually, she would like to work in the transportation field and focus on improving interstate safety. Amie was a student speaker at the 2009 Maine Transportation Conference, where she presented her research on the topic of composites used in guardrails.
Tyler Cousins grew up in Stonington and attended George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill. Until recently, he thought he was going to become a fisherman. Then last year, he enrolled at Northern Maine Community College where he is studying diesel hydraulics. He is a recipient of the Paris J. Snow Memorial Scholarship.
Tyler has worked as a lobsterman and at the family boat yard, founded more than 70 years ago by his great grandfather. He hopes the knowledge and skills he gains in the program will help him “expand the business so it is not just a service yard, but also a diesel hydraulic rebuild mechanic shop,” wrote Tyler. He is thankful to the MBTA for the scholarship support. He wrote, “Despite working full time, it has been a struggle to financially support myself this year and I thank the MBTA for their support.”
A second year civil engineering student at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, Amber Ferland is a graduate of Erskine Academy in South China, Maine.
Her studies at Norwich are currently focusing on structural engineering, and she has been active in the college chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Society of Women Engineers. She wrote, “The transportation industry is constantly changing, and I want to be a part of that change.” Amber is a recipient of the Millard W. Pray Scholarship.
Charles Friedman is a recipient of a Lucius Barrows Scholarship. He grew up on Peaks Island, a small island near Portland. During the summer, he builds and repairs sailboat sails, coaches kite-boarding in North Carolina and works in home construction. In 2006, Charles began studying civil engineering at UMaine.
He was a founding member and co-president of the UMaine chapter of Engineers Without Borders.
Charles is working on a capstone project that addresses transportation problems on Main Street/ Route 2 in Orono. He is interested in transportation engineering because of the opportunity it gives people to change how they impact the environment. He would like to pursue a career in sustainable development and plans to study urban planning or architecture after graduating from UMaine.
MBTA-ASCE Transportation Conference Scholarship recipient Amy Getchell grew up in Suffern, New York, and graduated with honors from Suffern High School. This year, she is a senior in the civil engineering program, where she is the student outreach officer for the American Society of Civil Engineers -UMaine Chapter.
During the summer of 2008, she worked as a field technician for an environmental engineering consulting firm in northern New Jersey, and during the summer of 2009, she was an asset management technician with the Portland Water District where she assisted with field verification and GIS mapping. During the school year, Amy spends her free time tutoring mathematics, participating on the Concrete Canoe Team and playing tennis.
Christi Holmes, from Machias, is a senior civil engineering major with a 3.8 grade point average. Christi is a recipient of a Lucius Barrows Scholarship, and was a student speaker at the Maine Transportation Conference in 2008 where she presented her research on the effects of expanding Maine railroads.
Christi has been a member of numerous groups on campus. She is currently president of the Society of Women Engineers and was a founding member, secretary and treasurer of Engineers Without Borders at UMaine. She is also involved in the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Spanish Club and was the university’s homecoming queen last year. She has interned with the National Parks Service in Seattle and the U.S. Public Health Service and plans on taking a year off to travel before attending graduate school for civil engineering.
Cody Gerard Jean, a recipient of an MBTA-ASCE Maine Transportation Conference Scholarship, developed a passion for construction while working two years as a laborer for Sargent Corp. on the new border station at Jackman.
He wrote, “The new border crossing was a tremendous project comprising both unique building aspects with essential transportation needs.”
He is a graduate of Gardiner Area High School and is currently enrolled in the construction management program at UMaine. He has a 3.39 grade point average and is minoring in engineering leadership, surveying and entrepreneurialship. He is a member of both the student chapters of AGC and ABC (he is currently president of the ABC chapter). In his free time, he enjoys playing hockey and coaches both adult and youth clinics.
Bo Li, who has been awarded the MBTA’s first Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship, is a junior in the civil engineering program at UMaine. Even as a young boy, he dreamed of designing and building roads and bridges. Two-and-half years’ comprehensive study have only seen that interest grow, and he wrote, “I have enjoyed all the courses and the activities related to civil engineering.”
Bo has worked for Gifford Construction of Redding, California, during the summer where he particularly enjoyed the joy of “seeing our works well planned, designed, and completed.” He participated in the Concrete Canoe Team competition and has been a teaching assistant for the materials, physics and mathematics programs – two experiences he said have deepened his commitment to community service, education and teamwork. Bo looks forward to completing his studies at UMaine and participating in more community service activities.
Clarissa Livingston was born in Bangor, and grew up in Old Town. She is a recipient of the Lucius Barrows Scholarship. Her earliest memories are of traveling along the east coast of the United States to visit her father’s relatives, to Europe to visit her mother’s hometown in southwestern Germany, and to a little village in central Sweden, when her family accompanied her father on a six-month sabbatical when she was five.
That early experience gave her a love of travel and learning about different cultures. When she was 14, she went on a trip to Germany and spent a week in Munich. The architecture and infrastructure of the city inspired her to look into civil engineering and architecture as future careers. She chose civil engineering because of her interest in science and math. She is now a fourth-year civil engineering major at UMaine, and has spent a year studying abroad at the Universität Stuttgart in Germany.
Nathaniel Morrison, a Millard W. Pray Scholarship recipient, grew up around construction and transportation – particularly marine transportation. His father is a welder and marine pilot. He is in his fourth year at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, where he is a marine transportation operations major.
“Ever since I was a small child I had a keen interest in transportation,” wrote Nathaniel. “Someday, I hope to be a captain of my own ship and be in charge of making decisions that will affect what U.S. citizens pay for gasoline and other petroleum products.” This is the third year that Nathaniel has been awarded the Millard W. Pray Scholarship.
Jeremy Prue grew up in Wales, Maine, and graduated from Oak Hill High School in the top 15 students in his class. He has been awarded an MBTA-ASCE Maine Transportation Conference Scholarship.
Jeremy is in his fourth year of the civil engineering program at UMaine, where he is involved in the Concrete Canoe Team, the student chapter of ASCE and intramural sports. Jeremy was a presenter at the 2008 Maine Transportation conference, where he spoke on “User Fees Based on Vehicle Miles Traveled.”
Since Jeremy graduated high school, he has worked during the summers and on school breaks at Pine Tree Engineering in Bath. His work experience ranges from water sampling to AutoCAD work and surveying.
Jeremy plans on specializing in either transportation or structural engineering, within civil engineering.
Andrew Robinson, a student at the UMaine construction management program, has wanted to build things since he began constructing trails and bridges for ATVs and snowmobiles on his family’s property in western Maine. Last summer, he got a closer look at the construction industry when he went to work for CPM Constructors in Freeport, on a bridge construction project. He wrote: “I had the opportunity to see all of the planning and other preparation that went into the project. I hope to continue in the construction industry and eventually run my own business.”
Andrew received an MBTA-ASCE Maine Transportation Conference Scholarship. He is a member of the AGC student chapter and participates in construction-related community service projects.
Jacob Silver is a graduate of Bangor High School and a recipient of an MBTA-ASCE Maine Transportation Conference Scholarship. He grew up in the family construction business (Lou Silver, Inc.) and some of his early memories include playing among giant sand piles and riding on equipment at the company headquarters. He currently is enrolled in the UMaine construction management program and wrote, “I enjoy the challenges of getting the project done and working with people to accomplish the project.”
Jacob is a member of the AGC student chapter and this past summer worked on a 15-man crew where he was put in charge of developing traffic control plans, mobilization, preconstruction operations and conducting job meetings. He hopes to join the family business after he graduates.
Cameron Stuart hails from Sanford and graduated with honors from Sanford High School. He is in this third year studying civil engineering at UMaine, and he has made the dean’s list each semester. Cameron is a recipient of the MBTA-ASCE Maine Transportation Conference Scholarship.
He wants to focus his studies on the transportation field and spends his summers working for a company that constructs roadways and other transportation related jobs. He is also a certified flagger trainer in the state of Maine. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and hockey.
Brian Stover, a native of Winter Harbor, has been awarded a Paris J. Snow Memorial Scholarship. Growing up in a fishing village in Hancock County that is also the site of a former U.S. Navy base, he wrote: “There is not a lot of opportunity in the area unless you become a fisherman. My grandfather was a fisherman; however, my father decided this was not for him and worked elsewhere.”
Brian is a graduate of Sumner Memorial High School in Gouldsboro and also attended Hancock County Technical Center School in Ellsworth, where he discovered an affinity for the diesel hydraulics field. He currently is enrolled at Northern Maine Community College, where he is continuing his studies in diesel hydraulics. He has worked for Cherryfield Foods Inc., Maine’s largest blueberry grower, for the last seven years as a general field laborer and mechanic.