AFUM Social Justice Scholarships | 2021

The University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine, MEA/NEA (AFUM) Scholarship for Social Justice was established in February 2020 with an initial gift from members of AFUM. In 2021, we are awarding our first three scholarships of $300 each to three outstanding UMA students: Amanda Brown, Linda Dolloff, and Joseph Spiller.

In 2020, Maine’s bicentennial year and a watershed moment for recognizing the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, we are marking this moment as a time of action — to provide support to students who exemplify our faculty’s commitment to increasing the benefits of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment and a more just society. UMA’s chapter of AFUM is dedicated to a safe, inclusive, and fair university.

This scholarship will support our commitment to expanding access to education and professional development, and ensuring that the learning and working environments we shape are inclusive in serving diverse constituents and groups of people. Our awardees demonstrate personal, educational, or professional investment in social justice and/or diversity, equity, or inclusion initiatives in the areas of racial diversity, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, veteran status, single parents, incarcerated people, or in another relevant area. Recipients were selected based upon the contributions they have made to UMA and/or their community in the past and/or the ways in which they seek to contribute to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and socially just academic environment, at UMA and beyond.

Amanda Brown is a student rep on the newly-formed DEI Council this academic year and has also helped form a student DEI Action Club “where students can come together and work towards the changes they feel are needed.” As a peer tutor, Amanda works with UMA’s diverse student body, branching out to support and advocate for students in a number of ways. As a part of the DEI Council Amanda works on the mini-grant, community engagement, and internal policy sub-groups. She has also continued her education through a number of professional development opportunities such as: Gatekeeper Suicide Training, Equity Leadership webinars, ESOL Tutor training through the Literacy Volunteers of Maine, The Maine Multicultural Centers “400 Years of New Mainers” series, Creating Just Schools webinar, and LQBTQ+ Awareness training through Northern Light Hospital. Amanda advocates and supports her community in a number of less formal ways too. As a single parent, she has learned how to navigate systems and find needed resources. She shares her knowledge of local resources such as food pantries and free clothing programs and her experiences navigating the Department of Health and Human Services and other local programs that help with medical care such as Care Partners and the local clinics. She is also a troop leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop and continues to educate herself to help create a better future for all of us.

As SGA and GSA President, Joseph Spiller has spearheaded a number of programs and initiatives that work to educate our campus community about diversity around gender, sexuality, and race (among other things), including: The Reality of Racism I & II, Reality of the LGBTQ+ Community, Non Gendered Makeup Seminar and the Spooky Makeup Event (that was specifically presented to be inclusive), coloring pages that create and draw with DEI messaging using inclusive body types, themes, and messaging. He created the designs for 1000s of buttons that have been sent out to students for PRIDE, Black History Month, and Women’s History. He has worked to find opportunities for students to learn about diversity from a number of angles—from the personal experiences of impacted individuals to conversations about systemic challenges, social constructions, and institutionalized norms. Joseph also advocates for all students of all diversities within the numerous committees and councils he has served on and he also took on a mental health wellness initiative this year related to the lack of spring break. Joseph is also a student rep on the newly-formed DEI Council this academic year and has also helped form a student DEI Action Club “where students can come together and work towards the changes they feel are needed.”

Linda Dolloff is finishing her Associate’s degree in Liberal Studies this summer and then will continue her educational journey at UMA. Linda is active in social justice movements in a number of roles and ways. She is a member of the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, and has volunteered in support of the Special Olympics of Maine and veterans groups. As a trained counselor substitute with a paralegal certificate, she helps women navigate the disciplinary process within the Department of Corrections to ensure the adherence of constitution rights, state statutes, and policies. To help mitigate the social injustices of women suffering from substance use disorder, she trained with the Maine Alliance of Addiction Recovery and became a certified recovery coach. She assists and guides women in building recovery capital to ensure their successful re-entry back to their communities. She is also a trained facilitator with the Maine Humanities Council and leads groups in discussions about important social issues. The Maine Humanities Council collaborates with schools, libraries, and community groups to foster critical thinking and conversations about diversity, equity, and social justice concerns by using books, poetry, and other texts. Linda is also a research intern for Big Picture Educational Consulting, a leader in the field of film education and media literacy.