Maine Trails, October - November '10
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Cover Story

By Maria Fuentes

This year at the MBTA Holiday Meeting, MBTA members will have the chance to meet some fresh faces: the 2010 MBTA Educational Foundation scholarship winners. In total, the charitable organization has awarded $16,500 in scholarships to 17 students currently pursuing careers in transportation-related fields. That is a milestone in the foundation’s nearly 20-year history; it is the single largest dollar amount ever awarded.
This crop of talented and hardworking students include Bo Li, a fourth-year civil engineering student at UMaine, two-time recipient of the MBTA’s Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship, a sustaining scholarship that was first introduced last year and goes to a student who has demonstrated a strong intrest in the industry and who shows promise as a future advocate for the the transportation community in Maine.
We are also pleased to recognize Dylan Thomas Smith, a third-year student in the construction management program at UMaine, the second recipient of MBTA’s Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship. 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 a student who shows strong creative and leadership skills.
This year, the foundation awarded three Millard W. Pray Scholarships to Amber Ferland, Nicholas Ibarguen and Jacqueline Scott, named for the former MBTA president and Educational Foundation board member. The named scholarship was created by Millard’s former employer and business partner Eldon Morrison of CPM Constructors.
Shawn Lagasse and Gregory Schools were awarded Paris J. Snow Scholarships, named in honor of a former Aroostook County legislator, businessman and MBTA board member. Also, three of the students were awarded scholarships named for Lucius Barrows who served as the Maine Department of Transportation’s chief engineer from 1928 to 1955. They are: Stephen Bates, Annika Mathiasson and Samedy Oun, all seniors at UMaine.
Giving Opportunities
A gift to the MBTA Educational Foundation helps ensure the transportation field will continue to grow, innovate and flourish in the decades to come.
There are many ways to give. Gifts of cash and securities are welcome. Members and friends may also designate contributions through a will or trust. An individual, group, or business may elect to honor an associate’s professional contributions through a named scholarship. Examples of named scholarships include the Millard W. Pray Scholarship and the Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship.
For more information about making a gift to the MBTA Educational Foundation, please contact Maria Fuentes, 207-622-0526.
Transportation Trailblazers
Bo Li
Bo Li is a senior in the civil engineering program at UMaine. He has received the MBTA Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship for the second consecutive year. The Trailblazer is the association’s sole sustaining scholarship, meaning if a recipient maintains the grades and other components of the scholarship, they can receive it for continuous years. Bo graduated from Noble High School and has a 3.61 grade point average. He has interned as a transportation researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, where he researched long combination vehicles and truck-only facilities. He currently is a teaching assistant for the materials, graphics and Matlab – a computer tutorial program. He has worked for Gifford Construction in South Berwick and Pine Brook Construction in Kittery. He has received the College of Engineering Award, Civil Engineering Department Award and National Semiconductor Scholarship. He is president of the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honors Society and has been involved with the Concrete Canoe Team. His career goal is to be a transportation engineer.
Joseph Birckhead
Joseph Birckhead graduated from Ellsworth High School and is the second student to receive the MBTA Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship. After completing an associate’s degree in civil engineering from Eastern Maine Community College, he plans to attend the University of Maine’s construction management technology program this year as a junior minoring in business. He has worked as a laborer and equipment operator for K.J. Dugas Construction in Surry, and as a laborer/foreman assistant for R.F. Jordan & Sons in Ellsworth. He has had a passion for construction since he was a young boy developing structures out of dirt. He wrote in his application: “I knew at the age of about four, that building things with the earth was my passion.” Joseph hopes to work for a large construction company after graduation.
Kenneth W. Burrill scholar
Dylan Thomas Smith
Dylan Thomas Smith graduated from Bishop Brady High School in Concord, New Hampshire and is a third year student in the UMaine construction management technology program. He is the second recipient of MBTA’s Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship. For two summers, Dylan has worked for Pike Industries, and his experience has included projects such as the installation of high-speed tollbooths in Hampton, New Hampshire and the resurfacing of I-95 in the Portsmouth area. He is vice president of the student chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. His career goal is to work in road construction.
Lucius Barrows scholars
Stephen Bates
Stephen Bates was born and raised in the small community of Wayne, Maine, and graduated with honors from Maranacook Community High. A recipient of the MBTA Lucius Barrows Scholarship, he is a senior at UMaine, where he has earned a place on the dean’s list every semester. He also is a recipient of the Presidential Achievement Award. During the past few summers, Stephen worked with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection inspecting landfills and other construction sites. He looks forward to a career in the transportation-engineering field.
Annika Mathiasson
Annika Mathiasson is a fourth-year student in the civil and environmental engineering program at UMaine. She is the current president of the American Society of Civil Engineers UMaine student chapter and a past recipient of the MBTA Lucius Barrows Scholarship. Annika was a first-place student speaker at the 59th Maine Transportation Conference. She is currently researching structural health monitoring with REU’s International Smart Structures Program. Annika looks forward to a career in engineering, as she aspires to positively impact society by increasing sustainability through innovative and green design.
Samedy Oun
Samedy Oun graduated from Biddeford High School and is a recipient of the Lucius Barrows Scholarship. A senior at UMaine, he has been on the dean’s list every semester. This year, he is focused on transportation. “It has been my passion to work with other civil engineers to build up a more effective, safer transportation system.” Samedy likes to read, play soccer, ping-pong and badminton.
Ronald St. John
Ronald St. John graduated from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School and is currently in the final year of a two-year heavy equipment operations program at Washington County Community College. He has worked as a construction laborer at Maine Home & Development and Burnett Remodeling. Ronald has been fascinated with tractors and heavy equipment since he was a child. He cites the day his father let him drive the lawn mower as “one of the happiest days of my life.” He can operate a backhoe and skid steer and holds a Class A license to operate tractor-trailers. He hopes to have a career in Maine as a motor grader and backhoe operator but will go wherever the jobs are.
Justin Charles Cleaves
Justin Charles Cleaves graduated from Piscataquis Community High School and currently is a sophomore studying construction management at UMaine. He was born in Sangerville on a family-owned seed potato farm and was “brought up to work as soon as he could walk.” In addition to farming, he has worked part-time in construction and engineering. Last summer, he worked for Haley Construction in Sangerville as an intern, first as a laborer and then moving up to a supervisory position. He enjoyed putting in water mains, road construction and paving. He also built a garden wall out of Redi Rock blocks in front of the company’s Guilford office. He learned about paving from MBTA member Stan Kitchin. His goal is to work for a Maine construction company. He enjoys hunting, fishing and “learning new things.”
Joshua Luce
Joshua Luce is a junior in the construction management technology program at UMaine. He will soon have a hazmat and tanker endorsement to go along with his class A commercial driver’s license. He graduated from Camden Hills Regional High School. His work experience includes a summer with Wardwell Contracting Division of Lane Construction as well as work with a landscaping service, where he realized higher education could lead to a good career in construction. Among the honors he has received are: a Cianbro Scholarship, the Adam Ober Memorial Scholarship and the Francis Perry and Walker Scholarships. He hopes to have a career as a construction project manager.
Alan Farrington
Alan Farrington graduated with honors from Schenck High School in 2008. In his first two years at UMaine’s civil engineering program, he earned a 3.56 grade point average and made the dean’s list every semester. He recently added a mathematics minor to his education plan. During the last two summers he worked for MaineDOT as a transportation aide and was highly involved in the paving of I-95 between Carmel and Medway. He also plays volleyball for the University of Maine’s club team.
Millard W. Pray Scholars
Amber Ferland
Amber is a third-year civil engineering student at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, and a graduate of Erskine Academy in South China, Maine. This is the second year she has received the Millard Pray W. Scholarship. She sees transportation as an industry that is constantly changing and wants to be part of that change. She is particularly interested in exploring energy efficiency and structural engineering. Amber is the current president of the Norwich Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and is active in the American Society of Civil Engineers. She wrote, “With this experience and education I am receiving at Norwich University, I hope to be able to contribute to our nation’s infrastructure and the development of new technology.” She currently has a 3.32 grade point average.
Nicholas W. Ibarguen
Nicholas is a graduate of Brunswick High School and currently is in his second year at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, where he is studying civil engineering. The son of MBTA member Michelle Ibarguen, Nicholas has grown up around the construction and transportation industries. This sparked his interest in the field. During his freshman year, he earned a 4.0 grade point average and was active in several engineering clubs, including the concrete canoe team and the school’s chapters of the Associated General Contractors and American Society of Civil Engineers. He particularly enjoyed the concrete canoe team: “This heightened my interest in the transportation aspect of civil engineering. . . providing me with invaluable engineering knowledge.” He looks forward to learning more about engineering and transportation.
Jacqueline Scott
Even though Jacqueline just graduated from Falmouth High School this past June, she has been planning and saving for her college education for several years. She worked for three summers for CPM Constructors in Freeport where she says she earned an appreciation for the importance of a “strong transportation infrastructure in Maine…for communicating, trading and business.” Jacqueline is attending Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she is pursuing a degree in business. Upon graduation, she hopes to put her expertise to work toward improving transportation, whether it is working for a road construction company or supporting legislation to improve transportation infrastructure. In addition to working for CPM during the summers, she has been a ski instructor at Sugarloaf USA. She graduated high school with a 95.3 grade point average.
Paris J. Snow Scholars
Shawn Lagasse
Shawn is a graduate of Wisdom High School in St. Agatha. He served the U.S. Marine Corps where he completed a special course and worked as a diesel technician for several years. Now, enrolled in the diesel hydraulics and commercial drivers license programs at Northern Maine Community College, he plans to pursue a career in transportation upon graduation. He considers his decision to go back to school “one of the best decisions I’ve made . . . The trucking industry is very important to our economy and will always be around.” He said that with new vehicles and technology, it will be important to have diesel technicians with advanced skills and education to maintain trucks and equipment, and he looks forward to making his mark in the field.
Gregory I. Schools
A graduate of Houlton High School, Gregory has been working since he was 13 years old, on his uncle’s potato farm in Littleton and for his father’s logging and trucking business. Working on the farm, he learned how to operate the trucks and heavy equipment, and developed a talent for maintaining and repairing the machinery. He currently is enrolled in the diesel hydraulics program at Northern Maine Community College. While he enjoys the program, it has been a challenge to maintain his studies and earn money for his college education. He has three more semesters to complete and appreciates the support provided by the MBTA that is helping him get to his goal: “School is expensive and a scholarship will help me succeed.” After graduation, he hopes to open his own diesel engine rebuild shop.
Transportation Conference Scholars
In addition to the MBTA Educational Foundation scholarships, the MBTA partners with the Maine Section of American Society of Civil Engineers to provide scholarships to UMaine engineering and construction management program students. The scholarships are funded by scholarship sponsors at the annual Maine Transportation Conference.
Katy Grime
Katy Grime came to UMaine from Brownington, Vermont, where she graduated with honors from North Country Union High School. She is a recipient of the MBTA/ASCE Maine Transportation Conference Scholarship. This past spring was the fourth consecutive semester she held a spot on the dean’s list. This year, her third at the school, she is focusing her studies more on the transportation field. Katy spent this past summer working with an environmental engineering firm that designs and maintains water and wastewater treatment plants throughout the state. She is also a discus thrower on the university’s track and field team.
Alex Michaud
Alex Michaud is from St. Agatha, Maine and graduated as salutatorian from Wisdom High School. He is a recipient of the MBTA/ASCE Maine Transportation Conference Scholarship. Alex is in his second year at UMaine majoring in civil engineering. He has made the dean’s list each semester. He is a student member of the ASCE and a member of the UMaine Concrete Canoe team. He plans on focusing on transportation during his last two years of study. Alex spent the summer working at the UMaine Wildlife and Ecology Department studying an endangered species of butterfly. He is member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and enjoys playing guitar and fishing.


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