FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington’s Partnership for Civic Advancement celebrated the completion of the first year of its internship program.

According to a press release, UMF’s Partnership for Civic Advancement is a new initiative to engage students in meaningful community-based activities.

Bangor Savings Bank Foundation, which awarded a three-year grant to the Partnership for its internship program last December, sponsored the event to recognize achievements of the student interns, their faculty mentors and the community organizations and businesses with which they worked.

Celeste Branham, UMF vice president for student and community services and director of the Partnership for Civic Advancement, acknowledged the University’s deep gratitude for Bangor Savings Bank Foundation’s “generosity and community-mindedness, which caused the Partnership to become more than a concept-in-development, and instead a living, breathing initiative that they (Bangor Savings Bank) helped to launch with the gift of financial support for students working in the community.”

UMF President Kathryn A. Foster noted what a “wonderful confluence of four separate groups” the Partnership has created — students, community businesses and organizations, faculty and professional staff at UMF and funders such as Bangor Savings Bank. Having had an internship experience in college herself, Foster talked about the impact of that experience on her life, noting that “it was real — it was beyond the classroom,” and that she felt a part of something important. “It not only gave me the opportunity to test myself in the field, but helped me gain experience and confidence,” Foster said.

The Partnership placed eight interns during this past summer and fall including: Nicholas Camic, of Waterville; Joseph Dignam, of York; Ty Hughes, of Yarmouth; Kyle Norweg, of Norridgewock; Veronica Penniman, of Northport; Michael Phelan, of North Kingstown, R.I.; Anna Soule, of Kingfield and Sarah Spencer of Farmington.

These interns worked with seven different community organizations: High Peaks Alliance, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, Western Maine Community Action, Somerset Woods Trustees, Western Mountains Alliance, Mercer Community Club and the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area’s TerraCycle Program.

University faculty members recognized for their service as mentors for these interns included: Linda Beck, Matthew McCourt, John Messier and Nancy Prentiss.

Approximately 10 to 14 internships for the spring semester are being finalized between the student applicants and 12 different community organizations. Internship opportunities for the upcoming summer and fall are already being developed with community partners and are posted on the Partnership’s website (pca.umf.maine.edu) as they are received.

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