UMA staff presented and a UMA graduate took part in a panel discussion at the Educate Maine Symposium held on December 7, 2018 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. Educate Maine “champions college and career readiness and strives to increase the educational attainment of the Maine workforce.” The symposium was an opportunity to bring together business, policy, and educational leaders to share ideas, network, and support those educational practices and innovations that benefit tomorrow’s workforce.
As part of a panel discussion on Finding Post-Secondary Success as an Adult Learner, Molly Orcutt, a recent UMA graduate, joined Anja Hanson, Academic Advisor at Portland Adult Education and Zainab Miguel, a student at SMCC to discuss the experiences, challenges, and opportunities faced by nontraditional students. Molly shared her story of finding support at UMA’s Ellsworth Center and the UMA Bangor Campus. She acknowledged the challenges of “juggling work, part-time school and family” and stated that the support of advisors and faculty made the difference. Currently, Molly is a case manager in Bangor for adults with mental illness and is considering a Master’s Degree in the near future.
Also taking part in the Symposium were Shelley Taylor, Student Services Coordinator, UMA Brunswick Center and Laurie Grant, Student Services Coordinator, UMA Saco Center, who presented a breakout session on “It takes a Village: Best Practices for Improving Persistence and Degree Completion for Adult Learners”. Laurie and Shelley gave an informative session on the external (such as, housing and food insecurity), internal (such as, resilience and preparedness) and institutional (such as, financial aid and navigating college processes) challenges faced by adult learners. In a lively discussion with those in attendance, Laurie and Shelley shared best practices and strategies for supporting students through these various challenges.