FARMINGTON — UMF senior Dovey Balsam’s passion for helping military families has its roots in her family’s history of service. So, it was only natural that as UMF’s 2012-13 Maine Public Policy Scholar, her research explored the problem of domestic violence among Maine veterans and how best to help them and their families.

The scholarship program challenges students to tackle real-life policy issues currently facing the state of Maine and, after an extensive process of research and analysis, to recommend policy solutions to the highest level of state government, according to a news release. Balsam recently presented her research at UMF’s annual Symposium, a day-long celebration of student scholarly and creative achievement.

Balsam, of Industry, is majoring in political science and interdisciplinary studies — a degree program that helps prepare students to integrate knowledge from different perspectives — with a concentration in sociology/anthropology.

As a nontraditional student with family members that have served multiple deployments in the military, Balsam understands the challenges that military families can face. Her recommendations explore how community-based services can help veterans and their families avoid and recover from the crisis of domestic violence. She concludes these local outreach programs can better serve this population in states like Maine that have a large veteran population spread over a wide rural area with limited VA resources, according to the release.

Balsam served as an intern last summer with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and with the American Red Cross. She is a first responder with the Industry Fire Department and a member of Veterans for Peace. After graduation she hopes to continue advocating for veterans and their families and to become an emergency medical technician.

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