ORONO — Maine Impact Week, an annual showcase of the research, creativity and public service from the University of Maine community, returns with free virtual events throughout the week of April 12.

The series of online programs, to be viewed daily from April 12–16 on the Maine Impact Week website, allow the public to learn about various studies and projects from Maine’s sole public research university. The weeklong event includes webinars, panel discussions, challenges and awards. 

“Maine Impact Week provides an excellent opportunity to connect with UMaine and gain awareness about the university’s latest contributions to social and economic advancement in Maine and beyond,” says Kody Varahramyan, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “We invite the public to join us for as many of the planned events.” 

The week will culminate with the 2021 UMaine Student Symposium (UMSS21) starting at 9 a.m. on April 16. 

The event will feature exhibits, posters and oral presentations from 569 undergraduate and graduate students that showcase their research and creative works, all delivered through video presentations on the UMSS website. Projects will cover a range of topics in science, the arts, education, engineering, business and more. The symposium this year features a record number of student participants.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will serve as the keynote speaker, delivering his address at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom. Registration for the symposium is required, and can be done online

“This annual event is the largest research event in the state with a very diverse and broad range of research connected to every aspect of our lives,” says Ali Abedi, associate vice president of research and director of the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR). “The opportunity for the general public to engage in a dialogue with UMaine students and learn about UMaine’s impact in the state is priceless.” 

Other highlights for Maine Impact Week include: 

EPIC Discovery Race
April 12–15
Student teams will compete by completing virtual challenges posted each day to win points, with the top three teams that earn the most winning a monetary award of up to $500. Winners will be announced at the UMaine Student Symposium awards ceremony.

Faculty Mentor Awards
April 12 
The awards recognize faculty from each college for their ability to guide and inspire students. Recipients will be selected from student nominations. Video messages from the winners and nominators will be posted on the Maine Impact Week website on April 12. The winners also will be recognized during the UMSS Awards Ceremony.

Big Gig Pitch Competition: Season Finale
5 p.m. April 13
Three entrepreneurs will propose their early-stage businesses or business ideas to win the $500 cash prize and the chance to pitch for $5,000.

VEMI Lab Autonomous Vehicle Roundtable
7 p.m. April 14 
The Virtual Environments and Multimodal Interaction Laboratory (VEMI Lab) at UMaine will host an autonomous vehicle roundtable discussion with a YouTube Live Q&A session. The event will feature lab co-founders Richard Corey and Nicholas Giudice and other transportation experts. 

More event details and registration information can be found on the Maine Impact Week website