FARMINGTON — University of Maine at Farmington’s recently celebrated Michael D. Wilson Scholars and Fellows Program creates opportunities for undergraduate students to challenge themselves and grow as professionals, according to a press release.

Natasha Varney, a UMF senior from Turner, is a good example of that. Her original Wilson Program research on global business strategy is slated for publication in a professional journal. In addition, it has been accepted by the International Conference on Business and Management for presentation to policy makers and professionals from around the world at its upcoming meeting in Izmir, Turkey.

Varney is one of 12 UMF students recently named spring 2013 Wilson Scholars by the UMF Undergraduate Research Council who will be presenting their work at the upcoming, university-wide symposium. The competitive Wilson Program connects top UMF students with expert faculty mentors so students can conduct sophisticated, original research that will be valuable to their professional development.

“Undergraduate research helps students grow in confidence and learn to be scholarly, independent thinkers,” said Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president, in the release.

“The Wilson Program is one of the many research opportunities at UMF that puts an exclamation point on students’ education and helps prepare them for the professional world.”

The UMF Wilson Program names student awardees twice a year including single-semester scholars and year-long fellows. The spring 2013 scholars include: Laura Cowie, of Farmington; Max Eyes, of Norwalk, Conn.; Taylor Fitzgerald, of Belgrade; John Harlow, of Athens; Jonathan Knight, of Biddeford; Joseph Knight, of Biddeford; Lindsey Laforge, of Milford, N.H.; Silas Lunetta, of Francestown, N.H.; Alexandra Portela, of Windsor; Simone Thiry, of Berkeley, Calif.; Matthew Towle, of Brunswick; and Natasha Varney, of Turner.

The program provides funding to help underwrite student project expenses. Awards are funded by a generous gift from Michael and Susan Angelides, of Columbia, Conn., in honor of their good friend and UMF alumnus Michael D. Wilson, class of 1976.

Laura Cowie, of Farmington, a senior majoring in creative writing and English, is working on a dual project with fellow student Max Eyes creating a mixed-media journal on their international experience in Cordoba, Argentina. Her faculty sponsors are Marisela Funes, assistant professor of Spanish, and Jeffrey Thompson, associate professor of creative writing.

Taylor Fitzgerald, of Belgrade, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies a concentration in philosophy and religion, is exploring the topic of Buddhism and the development of an eco-conscience. Her faculty sponsor is George Miller, assistant professor of philosophy.

John Harlow, of Athens, is a senior majoring in art. Harlow is conducting a historical investigation of the contemporary artistic context of the Farm Security Administration through artistic practice. His faculty sponsor is Kate Randall, associate professor of art.

Natasha Varney, of Turner, is a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in outdoor recreation business administration. Varney is exploring how the world’s most influential organizations impact global business strategy. Her faculty sponsor is Waleck Dalpour, professor of business.