Interdisciplinary Studies

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 in Augusta, Bangor, and Online

Interdisciplinary Studies

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.