Twelve undergraduate students have been named 2022 Outstanding Graduate Students at the University of Maine.

Among them are Dominique DiSpirito, the outstanding graduate student of Honors College, and the Major of 2022. Her profile story is in line. Short biographies of other outstanding UMaine graduate students follow:

A photo of Tiana Bucknor
Tiana Bucknor

Tiana Bucknor

Tiana Bucknor from Milton, Ontario, Canada is the outstanding international graduate student of the College of Education and Human Development. She majors in Kinesiology and Physical Education, with a concentration in Exercise Science. Bucknor, a Presidential Scholar, is the lead captain of the women’s soccer team and a member of the America East Student Athlete Leadership Group of Color. On campus, she chairs the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a Student-Athlete Mentor/Tutor and College Success Peer Tutor. Bucknor is also a teaching assistant in the School of Kinesiology and Physical Education. In the fall, she will pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology and physical education. After grad school, Bucknor plans to play professional football, followed by a career in exercise physiology.

A full Q&A with Bucknor is online.


A photo of Nancy DesJardin
Nancy DesJardin

Nancy DesJardin

Nancy DesJardin of Winterport, Maine is the Outstanding Graduate Student in the Division of Lifelong Learning. DesJardin is a major in university studies, with minors in anthropology, and peace and reconciliation. Her academic honors include one scholarship for adults and two scholarships for non-traditional women from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society. For his main project, DesJardin researched food insecurity in the United States. DesJardin, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Desert Storm, is a licensed cosmetologist and owns and operates a hair studio. She is also a substitute teacher at Hampden Academy. After graduation, DesJardin plans to pursue a career as a high school teacher in history or social studies.

A full Q&A with DesJardin is online.


A Grace Graham photo
Grace Graham

Grace Graham

Grace Graham of Cary, Maine is Maine Business School’s outstanding graduate student. She specializes in accounting, finance and financial economics. His many awards include a Presidential Fellowship, Maine Society of CPAs Scholarships, and the 2021 Maine Business School Faculty Award in Finance. For a year, she was involved in the MBS Undiscover Maine initiative, asstudent research project with the goal of increasing tourism and economic development in underrepresented areas of Maine. As a senior, Graham completed two audit internships at Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker LLC. Throughout his college years, Graham worked three weekend jobs in Houlton and Old Town. Upon graduation, Graham will serve on the auditing staff of Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker while pursuing a MaineMBS in accounting at the Graduate School of Business and taking the CPA exam.

A full Q&A session with Graham is live.


An Anna Lane photo
Anna Lane

Anna Lane

Anna Lane of York, Maine, is the outstanding graduate student of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture. She is a double major in microbiology and biochemistry, and a UMaine Presidential Fellow and recipient of the UMaine Flagship Prize. His many scholarships include the 2021 Liuba De Siervo Merit Scholarship. Last year, Lane was awarded a Frederick Radke Undergraduate Research Fellowship in support of his capstone research. This research, in collaboration with Professor Melody Neely, investigated the effects of antifungals on Candida albicans in the presence of group B streptococci and the symbiotic relationship of the two organisms. In the summer of 2020, Lane completed an internship at Lonza Biologics. On campus, she has served as a Maine peer tutor, teaching assistant and learning assistant, and a member of University Singers and Renaissance. After graduation, Lane plans to pursue a career in biochemistry.

A full Q&A with Lane is live.


A picture of Hua Lin
Hua Lin

Hua Lin

Hua Lin from Portland, Maine is the outstanding graduate student of the College of Engineering. He earned a dual degree in Mathematics and Engineering Physics, with a concentration in Mechanical Engineering. In 2019, Lin received a Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) Fellowship and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Fellowship in Sensor Science and Engineering. In the NSF REU Sensors initiative, he collaborated with Professor Sheila Edalatpour on the project “Nanowires and thin layers of silicon carbide for the detection of stress and pressure in harsh environments”. Lin’s thesis is “Near-Field Thermal Radiation in Graphene-Based Systems”. He has started his master’s degree in mechanical engineering and will graduate in 2023. Lin plans to pursue a career in engineering research.

A full Q&A with Lin is live.


A photo of Ethan Mathieu
Ethan Matthew

Ethan Matthew

Ethan Matthew of Sanford, Maine is the Outstanding Graduate Student of the College of Education and Human Development. He holds a major in secondary education with a concentration in physical sciences. Mathieu is a recipient of the Edward and Barbara McManus Scholarship and the Hervey A. Hanscom Scholarship, and served as Treasurer of the Student Maine Educators Association. His honors thesis is “The effects of a multicultural education course on the development of a socio-cultural awareness of teachers in initial training.” Mathieu made his pupilng at Orono High School and completed field placements at John Bapst High School and Kennebunk High School. On campus, he was a tutor with TRIO’s Student Support Services and a student teacher’s aide in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Mathieu p.lans to be a physics teacher in Maine and pursue a master’s degree in science education.

A full Q&A with Mathieu is online.


A photo of Aubree Nygaard
Aubree Nygaard

Aubree Nygaard

Aubree Nygaard of Brunswick, Maine is the outstanding graduate student of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Nygaard is a dual major in computer science and philosophy whose many academic awards include the Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students and the Roger B. Hill Humanities Scholarship. Since 2019, she is Developer and student representative at the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Laboratory (VEMI Lab), where she collaborated on research focused on an iOS application for carpooling autonomous vehicles and other projects involving human-computer interaction , virtual reality and access to information, in particular for blind or visually impaired people. She is the co-author of two peer-reviewed articles in the area of ​​privacy research. Nygaard has served as a learning assistant in Maine and a research assistant at the Privacy Engineering – Regulatory Compliance Lab (PERC_Lab) and for Professor Hao Hong in the Department of Philosophy. From 2019 to 2021, she served as Vice President of the UMaine Chapter of the Women in Computing Council of the Association for Computing Machinery. After graduating, Nygaard would pursue a career in software development.

A full Q&A with Nygaard is live.


A photo of Chisom Orakwue
Chisom Orakwue

Chisom Orakwue

Chisom Orakwue from Lagos, Nigeria is the outstanding international graduate student of the College of Engineering. Orakwue, a biomedical engineering major, was awarded the International Presidential Fellowship and the Richard E. Durst Fellowship. This academic year, she was involved in research in the lab of Professor Karissa Tilbury, focusing on the use of Spatial Frequency Domain Imaging (SFDI) to detect biomarkers of diabetic neuropathy and sepsis. For her flagship project, she designed a wheelchair cushion to help reduce pressure sores. Beyond the lab and the classroom, Orakwue has been a Black Bear Mentor, Resident Assistant, and Peer Tutor. Last year, she was vice-president of the International Student Association. Orakwue plans to pursue higher education.

A full Q&A with Orakwue is live.


A photo of Jinyoung Park
Jinyoung Park

Jinyoung Park

Jinyoung Park from Seongnam-si, South Korea, is the top international student graduating from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Park, a chemistry major, has received International Presidential Fellowships and the Charles A. Brautlecht Fellowship, as well as an Undergraduate Research Center Fellowship. For the past three semesters, Park has collaborated with Professor Matthew Brichacek on research aimed at isolating and analyzing large carbohydrate molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) using the helper TEAB. She is president of the International Student Association and leader of Operation HEARTS, and has served as a learning assistant in Maine in three chemistry classes. Park will attend dental school at Dalhousie University.

A full Q&A with Park is live.


A photo of Amanda Sandberg
Amanda Sandberg

Amanda Sandberg

Amanda Sandberg from Skurup, Sweden is the top international student graduating from the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture. She majors in biochemistry with a pre-medical concentration and a minor in molecular and cellular biology. Sandberg is a member of the women’s soccer team and a varsity athlete. His many accolades include the 2020 and 2022 Team Maine Scholars Athlete Awards, the UMaine Presidential Scholars Awards, and the Professor Frederick H. Radke Award. Together with Professor Melissa Maginnis, Sandberg studied the sign of calciumin JC Polyomavirus infection. In 2021, Sandberg participated in a summer academic research internship at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, studying downstream open reading frames and post-transcriptional regulation. On campus, she has served as a Maine peer tutor, teaching assistant, and learning assistant. Sandberg will pursue a master’s degree in microbiology at UMaine while playing his final season of eligibility. After graduating, she plans to go to medical school or earn a doctorate. in a biomedical field.

A full Q&A session with Sandberg is live.


A photo of Jakub Sirota
Jakub Sirota

Jakub Sirota

Jakub Sirota from Kroměříž, Czech Republic, is the top international student graduating from Maine Business School. Sirota is a marketing and management double major and a member of the men’s ice hockey team. He was a two-time Hockey East All-Star and a three-time University of Maine Athlete Scholar. He was also named to Athletics’ 13and Maine annual team. Sirota plans to pursue a career in hockey, followed by an entrepreneurial journey in business.

A full Q&A with Sirota is online.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, [email protected]