FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington recently named 13 students as Michael D. Wilson Scholars for the spring 2014 semester, according to a UMF press release. This undergraduate research program provides top UMF student scholars with faculty mentorship and project funding to help them pursue the highest level of undergraduate research investigation.

“UMF’s Wilson Scholars and Fellows Program energizes the spirit of academic and creative exploration on our campus,” said Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president, in the release. “Its extraordinary level of original, independent undergraduate research builds new confidence, inspires new direction and helps prepare students for the challenges of the professional world.”

Wilson Scholar Kara Chiasson, from Methuen, Mass., is using her award to learn about conserving books in the digital age. A senior majoring in creative writing and English, Chiasson is exploring the importance of book preservation—both the physical preservation of the book itself and the digital preservation of the book’s content.

Chiasson’s project began with her interest in conserving a family book from 1939. Her Wilson award helped her take that interest to the Houghton Library at Harvard and the Northeast Document Conservation Center, in Andover, Mass., where she gained a new understanding for the value of all types of literature preservation.

“I’ve had the chance to handle a book that was carefully preserved from the 1500’s,” said Chiasson. “That experience gave me a new appreciation for the preservation of literature, from oral tradition and hand-written manuscripts to the digital age. My research has opened a whole new area of academic interest for me, and I hope to continue the study of book history and conservation after graduation.”

The UMF Wilson Program names student awardees twice a year including single-semester scholars and year-long fellows. The spring 2014 awardees are: Amanda Barrows of Union; Kara Chiasson of Methuen, Mass.; Curtis Cole of Pittston; Sean Igoe of New Haven, Connecticut; Grace Kendall of Buckfield; Alana Knapp of Kingfield; Carlee Knox of Saco; Nicole Lejonhud of Hebron; Marianne O’Loughlin of Nashua, N.H.; Sean Slattery of Farmington; Mallory Smith of South Berwick; Tobey Tozier of Jefferson and Cadyn Wilson of Hallowell.

The program provides funding to help underwrite student project expenses. It was established by Michael and Susan Angelides, of Columbia, Conn., in honor of their good friend and UMF alumnus Michael D. Wilson, class of 1976.

2014 Spring Wilson Scholars:

Amanda Barrows — Union

A senior majoring, Barrows is examining the social impact of the law that established French as the official language of Quebec on immigrant rights in Quebec, Canada. Her faculty sponsor is Clint Bruce, assistant professor of French.

Kara Chiasson — Methuen, Mass.

A senior majoring in creative writing and English, Chiasson is exploring conserving books in the digital age. Her faculty sponsor is Eric Brown, professor of English.

Curtis Cole — Pittston

A first-year student majoring in secondary education: English, Cole is researching Postmodern Japanese existentialism. His faculty sponsor is Erin Kappeler, visiting assistant professor of English.

Sean Igoe — New Haven, Conn.

A senior majoring in creative writing and English, Igoe has a joint project with fellow Wilson Scholar Nicole Lejonhud, exploring the field of digital humanities through the creation of an original immersive digital text. Their faculty sponsor is Patricia O’Donnell, professor of English.

Grace Kendall, of Buckfield — A senior with a major in bachelor of general studies, Kendall is writing a memoir as the partner of a transgender man. Her faculty sponsor is Teal Minton, assistant professor of creative writing.

Alana Knapp, of Kingfield — A senior majoring in art, Knapp is exploring the role and relevancy of costume in art as it relates to female identity. Her faculty sponsor is Katrazyna Randall, associate professor of art.

Carlee Knox of Saco — A senior majoring in Geology, Knox is examining petrographic and geochemical evidence to determine the origins of the Rome-Norridgewock pluton. Her faculty sponsor is David Gibson, professor of geology.

Nicole Lejonhud of Hebron — A senior majoring in creative writing, Lejonhud has a joint project with fellow Wilson Scholar Sean Igoe, exploring the field of digital humanities through the creation of an original immersive digital text. Their faculty sponsor is Patricia O’Donnell, professor of English.

Marianne O’Loughlin, of Nashua, N.H. — A senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in environmental education, O’Loughlin is researching best practices for improving animal mental health in zoos and aquariums. Her faculty sponsor is Mary Schwanke, professor of biology.

Sean Slattery, of Farmington — A senior majoring in geology, Slattery is investigating the petrographic and geochemical characterizations of past tectonic activity in areas of the Maine coast. His faculty sponsor is David Gibson, professor of geology.

Mallory Smith of South Berwick — A senior majoring in arts administration, Smith will research, curate and present an art exhibition entitled: “Objects of Consumption.” Her faculty sponsor is Sarah Maline, associate professor of art history.

Tobey Tozier of Jefferson — A senior majoring in arts administration, Tozier is exploring rejection within intimate relationships through language, the mundane and the dramatic in film. His faculty sponsor is Katrazyna Randall, associate professor of art.

Cadyn Wilson, of Hallowell, A senior majoring in creative writing, Wilson is exploring the concept of identity, drawing upon the works of philosophers such as Martin Heidegger and Judith Butler and producing a final essay that she will submit to an undergraduate research publication. Her faculty sponsor is Kristen Case, assistant professor of English.