Kaylee Brann of Albion, Katelyn Ellis of Dixfield and Sadie Libby of Skowhegan are the first people to earn degrees as Maine’s Top Scholars at the University of Maine, according to a news release from the university.

Maine’s Top Scholar program, which began in 2017, provides high-achieving undergraduates with full tuition, a designated faculty mentor and opportunities for research experience. They’re also invited to join the Honors College.

Today, more than 100 students are designated Maine’s Top Scholars. And they’re taking courses in a number of academic areas, including the College of Education and Human Development, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture; the Honors College; and the Maine Business School.

Kaylee Brann Photo courtesy of the University of Maine

Brann, a biology major who will graduate in December 2021, has been admitted into a 3+4 Accelerated Program undergraduate partnership at the New England College of Optometry. Through the program, she’ll be awarded a joint Bachelor of Science degree from UMaine and, later, a doctorate from the New England College of Optometry.

At UMaine, she conducted research with associate professor of biological sciences Clarissa Henry and graduate student Elisabeth Kilroy. “The MTS program meant a great deal to me, especially in regard to the research opportunities,” said Brann. “My mentor became someone who I greatly look up to, for she taught me invaluable lessons about what it means to be a great researcher and a well-rounded student.”

Katelyn Ellis Photo courtesy of the University of Maine

Ellis will earn her Bachelor of Arts in kinesiology this summer, then attend the University of New England to pursue a master’s degree in occupational therapy.

“It [MTS scholarship] allowed me to study hard and pursue my dreams without the stress of debt,” said Ellis.

Sadie Libby Photo courtesy of the University of Maine

Libby earned a degree in psychology with a behavioral/cognitive concentration. She minored in international affairs, concentrated in women’s studies and conducted psychology research with associate professor of psychology Shannon McCoy and graduate student Shelby Helwig.

“The MTS scholarship is the reason I chose to go to UMaine, as I felt that UMaine valued me as a student and person to give such a generous award, said Libby. “I felt like the school must have believed in me and my abilities, and was helping me try to fulfill my potential by allowing me to study there with minimal costs.”

Next year, Libby will take courses to prepare for graduate study in medical science.

All three had planned to march at commencement in May. But because of the coronavirus, a traditional ceremony has not yet been held.

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