ORONO – The Society of Women Engineers at the University of Maine would like to congratulate eight Maine seniors for attending and receiving the Certificate of Merit Award on Dec. 11 (this was an in-person masked event). The Certificate of Merit Award recognizes a female identifying high school junior or senior who has ‘achieved excellence in a science or math related activity’ and who has demonstrated science and mathematics courses with high distinction.

McKayla Leary is a junior at the University of Maine at Orono studying mechanical engineering and she helped produce this event as the co-chair of Outreach for this chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Leary explains the event by saying that  “Certificate of Merit is a special opportunity where we, the University of Maine SWE Section, can recognize young women from around Maine for their accomplishments in STEM.” Leary goes on to show the societies reason for the event, “We aim to provide these young women with the opportunity to ask us any questions they may have, as well as build meaningful connections, not only with the members of our section, but also with our speakers, such as the dean of engineering and various faculty members.” 

The Society of Women Engineers at the University of Maine at Orono would like to personally congratulate the recipients of this award for their school/academic achievements as well as their commitment to the community. The recipients of the award that attended the ceremony are Georgia Cahoon of Noble High School in North Berwick, Emma Butterfield of Brewer High School, Amelia Plant of Hampden Academy, Mackenzie Wilson of Morse High School in Bath, Riley Simon of Freeport High School, Alaina Lambert of Winslow High School, Anna Arb of Maranacook Community High School, and Blair Fortin of Lawrence High School.

Leary shows her commitment to inspiring leaders in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields with this statement, “We want them to know that their hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed by any means. We hold this event to congratulate them, as well as give them insight into what pursuing a STEM degree in college looks like.”

The Certificate of Merit event consisted of three guest speakers and a student panel from the university. The three speakers were Dr. Sarah Lindahl (representing the Department of Chemistry), Dean Dr. Dana Humphrey (representing the College of Engineering and specifically the Civil and Environmental Engineering department), and Danika Evangelista (a senior in Biomedical Engineering with a double minor in mathematics and bioinstrumentation). 

The award is given globally to one junior or senior in each high school that participates in the award; this award can be recorded on college and scholarship applications. All three speakers and the Society of Women Engineers would like to say congratulations to the recipients of this award and we all look forward to seeing the inspiring things you will accomplish in the future.