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The Interdisciplinary (INT) Student Conference is a collaborative effort that brings together students and faculty across disciplines. 2013 was the first ever INT Student Conference.  Students shared the work they did in the 2013 spring semester related to UMA's academic theme of "food" with the UMA community.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 9.09.45 AM

2013 Conference

Food for Thought: Nourishing our minds and bodies
Friday, April 19, 2013


SESSION 1 -  9:15-10:15am

Teaching About Food  - KATZ 5

EDU 380

Janna Prout, Jordan Elston, Renee Choiniere, Greg Doiron, Tristen Hinkle

Chair: Cindy Dean

In public schools the testing frenzy has all but taken over the curriculum often leaving out many important social topics that support our students' academics. Among these topics is food, in particular how our choices of food affect our social and academic lives. Helping students learn and practice healthy living, good nutrition, and exercise can help in stemming the national epidemic of childhood obesity. Each presenter will address an important aspect of food and how schools can teach children about the science of food and how to make healthy and appropriate choices.

Creative Writing Workshop  - KATZ 36

UMA Writing Center

Adrienne Beacham, Kayla Rhiannon Bates, Vanessa Valley, Patricia Swain

Chair: Michelle Lisi

UMA Writing Tutors will help participants to practice food writing, and to evaluate their own work about food.

Student Poster Session Fireplace - Lounge

A variety of student work will be displayed in the Fireplace Lounge.



SESSION 2 - 10:30-11:30am

Reading Food through Theory -  KATZ 5

ENG 300: Literary Criticism and Theory

Trish Swain, Rebecca Lux Soc, Megan Smith

Chair: Kendralee Tessier

A panel presentation and discussion of several images and a poem that represent the conference theme of food. Students will share their work from their midterm assignment where they were asked to apply at least two theories to a particular image or poem about food. Students' work explores literary and cultural implications of consumption, WWII propaganda and women's role as providers, and the transmission of cultural values via a child's environment, among many other interesting interpretations.

Pets & Food & Nutrition: Two Perspectives - Fireplace Lounge

Chair: April Doughty

Michelle Moon

Veterinary Technologies

Pet Food and Nutrition

Nutrition is not just important for humans, our furry friends also have very specific needs. Pet food commercials and labels can be very confusing. I would like to talk to about pet foods (cats and dogs). I will mostly focus on pet food labeling. I’m planning on bringing in a bunch of pet food packages for examples and explain the differences between reading labels for human foods and pet foods for the savvy pet owner. The way pet foods are formulated and nutritional content is determined may be interesting to some people. I would also like to spend some time talking about common pet nutritional deficiencies and toxicities. Q & A.

Lauren Verow

Liberal Studies and Women's Studies minor

Raising Rabbits for Food: From the Practical to the Political

AME/WST 305: American Fitness: Culture, Community, and Transformation

Rabbit meat is a traditional American meat that it largely misunderstood. At this informational session on raising rabbits as a sustainable meat source, I will outline some of the practical aspects of this practice as well as providing education concerning the nutritional value of rabbit meat, its sustainability, and the ways in which it supports local Maine business. Fliers and Q & A.


Keynote Speaker & Lunch - 11:45am - 1:00pm

Randall Student Center, Fireplace Lounge

Craig Hickman, local organic farmer and local representative, will talk to participants about where our food comes from. 

Lunch will be catered by Pangaea Catering, a catering company in Augusta that uses organic and, where possible, local ingredients to prepare their food.  Dessert is provided by Izzy's Catering in Bangor. Izzy has been providing meal services two days a week on the UMA-Bangor campus.


SESSION 3 - 1:15-2:15pm

Food & Intersections - KATZ 5

AME/WST 305: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in American Culture

Michelle Fontaine, Janet Ramey, Shawn Spellman, Caroline Campbell, Katelynn Denis, Chris Enman

Chair: Rillyria Sherifi

Continuing the conversation from the English Student Conference on April 9, and taking it in interdisciplinary directions. .... Students explore the connections between Ruth Ozeki's novel, My Year of Meats, and a variety of issues related to food in and out of this novel. In an informal discussion, students will present a number of ideas that consider food through a lens--or multiple lenses--of race, class, gender, and sexuality, using the ideas from AME/WST 305 and inspired by Ozeki's work.

Go Organic! Individual to Structural - KATZ 40


Jessica Bishop, Melissa Bolduc, Kristin Dubay, Alexandra Ireland

Connecting individual experiences with organic products with the impacts these personal choices can have on our individual health and well-being as well as the health and well-being of our communities.

Greenhouse Collaborative Project - Fireplace Lounge

ARC 305


SESSION 4 - 2:30-3:30pm

The Zombie Project - Fireplace Lounge

ENG 475 Postcolonial Fictions

Nicole Bayley (ENG); Suzanne Jones (LIB); Ryan Locke (ENG); Julia Ranks (ENG); Rachel Sherifi (BUS); Jessica Shoudy(INT); Vanessa Valley (ENG)

The class has created a large visual art project that includes images, text, and music. The project focuses on the development of zombie culture and the ways it has evolved as a colonial and postcolonial discourse. An exploration of zombies is a natural fit for a conference on food for obvious reasons. But invisible from contemporary discussions of zombies are the colonial underpinnings and dispossession of Caribbean subjects. This project attempts to connect the missing links between the oppressive appropriation of zombies and their current ubiquitous presence in popular culture.

Peacemakers Project - Fireplace lounge

Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone Project

Tessa Hayes

Smorgasbord: International Foods & Metabolic Pathways - Katz 5

This panel brings together business and science, biological processes with the pleasure of eating.

Jessica White


Foods of Jamaica

Jennifer Kilgore


Foods of Italy

David Gonella

Liberal Studies, Biology and Natural Science

Think Microscopically, Drink Locally

BIO XXX Biochemistry

My paper will demonstrate the metabolic pathway in which ethanol molecules travel, from their absorption in the stomach and intestinal tract, to their oxidation by the two enzymes primarily in the liver, and finish with alcohol’s excretion as carbon dioxide and water. These scientific processes are important for a better understanding of heart disease risks. They are also connected to the many high-end microbreweries throughout Maine that have made a positive impact on our local economy.


CLOSING ACTIVITY - 3:45-4:45pm

Organic Dance - Klahr Theater

Professor Sarah Hentges

Organic denotes the ways in which the parts of something fit together to create a harmonious whole. Organic suggests something that is of the body or of the earth. Organic is characterized by continuous or natural development. Organic Dance is all of these things...and more.

During our conference we have been asked to think about what we put in our bodies, what we put on our bodies, and what impacts these choices have on our health and wellness as well as the health and wellness of our culture and communities. To end our day, we'd like to think about the ways in which we might treat our bodies well through movement, through letting go and finding our own organic movements.

Organic Dance is a fitness program designed to connect the mind and body. This innovative fitness dance draws from a variety of popular styles of dance and fitness, adapting forms, methods, and patterns into a workout that encourages participants to move as it feels good to them. Bare feet are recommended but not required. No dance experience needed.

Interested in business technology? Public relations? Art therapy? UMA’s new Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies lets you realize your goals by designing your own major in almost any field not represented by existing degree offerings.

Degree Offered: B.A.
Offered on the Augusta and Bangor campuses


Interdisciplinary Studies at UMA

Interdisciplinary studies encourages students to work between and among traditional disciplines, to approach a topic, issue, or problem from a variety of perspectives. Interdisciplinary education is particularly valuable in our complex and changing world.


Listen to a brief interview with Dr. Bill Newell.
Dr. Newell is the founder of the Association for Integrative Studies. He discusses the field, its importance, and the skills that graduates can gain from interdisciplinary studies.

The University of Maine at Augusta offers a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses on both the Augusta and Bangor campuses and through distance technologies like compressed video and on-line classes. Interdisciplinary courses can be found listed under the INT designator as well as AME, HGH, and WGS. Students may also choose to self-design an interdisciplinary major.

The INT Major

Students interested in Interdisciplinary studies can also choose to major in INT, creating a connected, integrated program in close consultation with faculty advisors. In fact, the interdisciplinary major is one way that students can major in fields that do not otherwise culminate in bachelor degrees at UMA, including areas in which there are minors, such as American Studies. Students combine programs and courses to create a major that works with their interests and goals.

INT Minors

Students may self-design an interdisciplinary minor or they may minor in American Studies; Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights; or Women's and Gender Studies.

INT Courses at UMA

UMA offers a variety of Interdisciplinary (INT) courses that create unique learning experiences for students.  Some of the regular INT course offerings include Portfolio Preparation & Presentation, Computers & Culture, and Wham! Bang! Pow! The Graphic Novel.  UMA professors also regularly offer INT topics courses that offer a wide range of connected, integrated, learning experiences. Some previous INT courses include:

Philosophy, Art, and Architecture
Professors in Art, Architecture, and Philosophy worked with a group of students to explore the intersections of these three disciplines while also applying ideas outside of the classroom in a community service project. Students designed a new shelter and garden space for local organization, Bread of Life, and learned about the importance of actively participating in the local community. (Spring 2010)

Prisms on Culture: Art, Community, and the American Experience
A nine-credit course combining Art, English, and American studies, students explored a diverse set of "American" experiences--locally and internationally. Students read memoirs and theories of community, culture, and consciousness and applied their learning through a variety of art and writing projects. After a spring break service-learning trip to Nicaragua, students presented their critical, interdisciplinary work in a final exhibition. (Spring 2011)

A 12-credit course combining Art, English, History, and American Studies. Students explored the theme of revolution in Latin America from artistic, historical, and literary perspectives as well as through a case study of Nicaragua. After visiting Nicaragua for a service-learning trip over spring break, students presented their multidisciplinary projects in a final exhibition. (Spring 2012)

INT in Development
On the Bangor campus students can link their English 101 classes with American studies 201W to explore a range of subjects including education, state violence, popular culture, and social movements.

An interdisciplinary course that explores the science, culture, and politics of food.

6-credit Integrated INT courses that will allow students to consider a topic from a variety of lenses while also applying this learning through service projects in our local communities.

Other Interdisciplinary Programs and Courses
In addition to INT courses, Interdisciplinary studies can be found in a variety of places in UMA's curriculum. Minors in American Studies (AME); Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (HGH); and Women's and Gender Studies (WGS) allow students to consider culture, politics, economics, environment, science, language, technology, human services, justice, gender, and more, from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

FAQs: The INT Major

The INT major is ideal for the highly motivated student who is interested in combining several different areas of study into a coherent program of study that cannot be met by other UMA majors. Students may start out in another UMA program or may build an INT major from transfer credits.

The INT major allows a student to work closely with faculty members to develop an individualized course of study that is:

  • Connected: INT students are encouraged to make connections between and among disciplines, between and among the classes they are taking, and between the classroom and their lives.
  • Focused: An INT major can be focused toward particular goals and interests like social justice, innovative technologies, or education, for instance.
  • Flexible: Working closely with faculty INT students decide what to take and when to take it.
  • Student-centered: A student proposes a set of courses that meet his or her interests and goals. The self-designed major creates a unique education for each student.


A capstone gives the INT major a framework for advanced studies interdisciplinary studies. Using this framework, students will choose a particular topic to explore in more depth, and will work with their advisors to create a course that brings cohesion to their course of study.

An internship is created to complement the student's particular INT major and to provide the student with an opportunity to gain some practical, hands-on experience in the fields of their choice.


  • Students begin by exploring UMA classes and completing General Education requirements. Students may also transfer credits from other colleges.
  • As students begin to identify their areas of interest, they choose a primary advisor and begin to develop a plan of study.
  • Students will identify an area of emphasis and two areas of concentration and choose two more faculty members for a committee to advise them in creating a program of study and an INT Major Proposal.
  • Students will complete an INT Major Proposal which includes a statement of purpose and an outline of planned courses.
  • The UMA INT Council will approve the student's INT major and will provide direction and advice in addition to the student's committee.
  • Students will conclude their program of study with a capstone that allows students to apply interdisciplinary tools to their accumulated knowledge and an internship that will allow students to explore a career path and gain practical experience.

UMA--Augusta and Bangor campuses; many interdisciplinary classes are available through on-line and distance education opportunities as well.

An INT major allows for both freedom and structure and a focused exploration of a variety of areas of interest. The INT major gives a student ownership of and responsibility over her or his education.

Many of the same career paths that are available to traditional majors are also available to INT majors. In fact, an INT major might be more closely aligned with specific professional goals than some traditional majors.

The chart below gives a general understanding of some of the similarities and differences between traditional disciplinary studies, the UMA Liberal Studies major, and the UMA Interdisciplinary Studies Major.




Explores several disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives with a focus on finding connections.

Explores multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives.

Explores a singular disciplinary perspective and approach.

A layered, interconnected knowledge.

A broad base of knowledge.

A specific and focused knowledge.

A self-designed program created in collaboration with faculty; students can name and shape their course of study.

A loose framework of curriculum that allows for flexibility and a generalized knowledge.

An established curriculum that meets the standards and expectations of a particular field or discipline.

Provides students with a focused, directed knowledge and a set of skills that can provide a particular career option or a general set of skills applicable to a variety of opportunities.

Provides students with a diverse set of knowledge and skills that provide a variety of possible job opportunities.

Provides students with a specialized knowledge and a defined set of career and job objectives.


Contact your advisor, UMA's Advising Office, or Sarah Hentges, Assistant Professor of American Studies, and chair of the INT Council.

INT Program Outcomes

  1.  Identify, develop, apply, and synthesize the theories, methods, and critical perspectives of three disciplines or interdisciplines.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and the value of interdisciplinary inquiry.
  3. Develop new interdisciplinary knowledge.
  4. Develop, articulate, achieve, and analyze educational goals by employing interdisciplinary theory and methodology.
  5. Effectively communicate interdisciplinary educational goals and knowledge to others.
  6. Develop an awareness of diverse peoples, cultures, and ideas, and appreciate the importance of engaging in lifelong interdisciplinary learning to become informed and responsible global citizens.
  7. Develop and apply critical reading, thinking, and writing skill