News icon Scholars Carve Their Way to a Stronger Community at UMaine

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 33 seconds

When Lauren Turcotte Seavey asked fellow Mitchell Scholars at the University of Maine what they wanted to do for fun this fall, many spied an opportunity for something they hadn’t done in years.

“After MILE I, Scholars on campus were excited about the new friendships that were forming and told the ambassadors that they wanted an event where they could get together again,” said Turcotte Seavey, the 2019 Scholar from Bangor High School and campus ambassador for Scholars at UMaine. “The consensus seemed to be for doing something festive, and many of us realized we hadn’t carved pumpkins in a very long time. It was super fun for all of us to catch up on how school is going, reminisce about MILE I, and get our hands dirty.”

In all, nine Scholars gathered in the Coe Room of Memorial Union for the fellowship. From left to right are Dominique Ouellette, the 2021 Scholar from Brewer High School; Ruth Griffith, the 2022 Scholar from Piscataquis Community High School; Lauren Turcotte Seavey, the 2019 Scholar from Bangor High School; Jasper Makowski, the 2022 Scholar from Foxcroft Academy; Annie Bickerstaff, the 2022 Scholar from Central High School; Gabe Hall, the 2022 Scholar from George Stevens Academy; and Weston Hartley, the 2022 Scholar from Edward Little High School. (Not pictured are Deklin Fitzgerald, the 2022 Scholar from Oceanside High School, and Annika Gil, the 2022 Scholar from Erskine Academy, who had to leave before the photo was taken.)

All enjoyed loads of Halloween-themed snacks and the chance to decorate 23 donated pumpkins.

“I got them through a local farmer who supplies mini-pumpkins for Home Depot in Bangor,” said Turcotte Seavey, a senior Business and Sociology major. “He was going to throw them all away and offered them to me for free since I was having difficulty finding regular-sized pumpkins. It was a right-place, right-time’ moment.”

The Scholar-Who-Came-From-the-Farthest Honor went to Deklin Fitzgerald, the 2022 Scholar from Oceanside High School and a first-year Media Studies major at USM. He made the long drive up to Orono to photograph the fun and the jack-o-lanterns.

Among the pumpkins in progress is one with a special shout out to Senator Mitchell being carved by Scholar Weston Hartley (lower right), who has outlined in marker “I Heart GJM.” Below is the resulting masterpiece.

Turcotte Seavey reported that she and fellow Scholar-ambassadors Natalie Bickerstaff and Casey Kneissler have seen “an uptick in participation” from Scholars since a corner has been turned with the pandemic.

“We have been strongly encouraging Scholars to participate in events — this was just our first — to form connections on campus with other Scholars that can lead to life-long friendships and career networking opportunities in the future,” she said.

Scholar Jasper Makowski shows some of the handiwork from early in the event.

If you are a campus ambassador to Mitchell Scholars at your school, don’t forget that the Institute stands ready to support — and even help fund — activities that bring Scholars together just as Turcotte Seavey, Bickerstaff, and Kneissler have done at UMaine. (We cannot wait to see what they and other ambassadors will do next!)