USM students, faculty and staff share their stories of summer in Maine

Bob Bahm and Mike Lynch

By Valerie Kazarian, Staff Writer

The dog days of summer are upon us and people in the USM community are finding a variety of ways to enjoy themselves. From unique foods to picturesque places, students, staff and faculty are taking advantage of some of Portland’s best features. The Free Press spoke to a number of USM community members and they shared how they are spending their summer.

Sophia Spiller from Poland Springs, is a nursing student aspiring to be a psychiatric nurse. When she’s not working at Applebee’s or studying this summer, Spiller spends as much time as she can on the lake at home jet skiing and boating. She is especially fond of lobster rolls.

Sandhya Bogati, who is originally from Nepal, now lives in Portland and enjoys exploring the world. She is majoring in information technology (IT) and expects to graduate in 2020. When she’s not working at the campus bookstore, Bogati can be found exploring Freeport, the Old Port and Cape Elizabeth, or you can find her at the nearest Dunkin Donuts.

Jillian Provencher is a sophomore from Rumford and is in the USM nursing program. She would like to work either in an emergency room or with children but for now she works at the Information Counter in Woodbury. She spends her spare time on Pleasant Pond at her camp, kayaking, boating and tubing. She is especially fond of watermelon.

Collin Pember is an intern in the New England Environmental Finance Center’s summer internship program. During the school year he is a psychology major at Bates but is spending his summer at USM. He really loves Maine’s outdoors, especially hiking and exploring the area. He has recently discovered Tony’s Donuts in Portland. “Portland is a really fun city,” Pember said. “It is big but tight knit.”

Bob Bahm and Mike Lynch were lunching in Woodbury after a morning Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) class. This summer the two are enrolled in “the orchestration of war.” Bahm is from Falmouth and is an amateur foodie. He loves to read and exercise. He also enjoys the culture of Portland and has too many favorite restaurants to list. He came to the city for the culture, food, community and its civil atmosphere.

Lynch lives in Westbrook and is from “all over” Maine, he says. When he retired he chose the Portland area, as it had everything he wanted – mountains, lakes, music – and everything is close by. Besides taking OLLI classes, Mike enjoys homemade ice cream, blueberry flavored anything and lobster rolls.

Professor Maureen Ebben has been in Maine since 2006. She is teaching two summer courses this year, a course on social media and a senior seminar. Professor Ebben is from Wisconsin but she has, “lived all over—from Illinois to Texas to London, England, also a summer in China, and a summer in Tunisia, North Africa.” During the summer, she especially enjoys the ocean, the beach, and especially the weather. There’s plenty of sunshine and long days, she says. Her favorite foods are chocolate and fruit and she spends her spare time reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling and poking around the nooks and crannies of Maine. “There are so many wonderful discoveries to be made,” she says.

Michele Reagan is the Account Support Specialist in the USM Financial Aid office where she has worked for six years. She has been busy helping the office send out the bills for the fall semester and fielding phone calls from students and parents about aid packages, fees and panic in general. In her free time, Reagan enjoys Maine’s State Park walking paths, especially Sebago, but she also enjoys Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth and Wolfe’s Neck Woods in Freeport. Her favorite summer foods are corn on the cob and ice cream – especially the ice cream from local stands in Standish.

Mohammed Mahdi came to Portland from Iraq. He expects to graduate in 2020 with a degree in biology. When he’s not studying for one of the summer courses he is taking this summer or working at the Help Desk in Luther Bonney, Mahdi likes to go to Munjoy Hill and simply enjoy the view and talk with friends. Mahdi said, “I love Portland. I’m not going anywhere.” He also enjoys going to the East End Beach in Portland. He has two favorite foods, pizza and pizza. Mahdi feels that, “If you live in Maine, you’re living in Heaven.”   

Members of the USM community are working hard and studying hard, but they are also finding time to have fun this summer. Everyone we spoke to is making the most of their summer in Maine enjoying the outdoors and finding their favorite summer comfort food.     

Valerie Kazarian can be contacted at [email protected]


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