Dilyse Lorello and her twin sister Maureen are both planning on staying in Maine to teach. (Courtesy of UMF)

FARMINGTON — There is more than one pathway to a college education at the University of Maine at Farmington, and study at a community college can work seamlessly with the Farmington residential college experience.

That’s what twin sisters from South Portland, Dilyse and Maureen Lorello, were happy to discover when they both transferred to UMF in 2021 from Southern Maine Community College.

The Lorellos started on the pathway to becoming teachers during the challenging COVID years. Unsure what the future looked like, they started their education close to home at SMCC.

After earning their associate’s degrees in elementary education at SMCC, they transferred to Farmington to obtain their bachelor’s degrees and have the residential college experience. Both have excelled in their studies and will be marching in the upcoming Class of 2023 Commencement ceremony in May, after which they  both have plans to stay in Maine and teach, Dilyse in central Maine and Maureen in southern Maine.

“Farmington has made it easy for students to transfer from community college with our conversion to the three credit system,” said Joseph McDonnell, UMF president. “Students who begin in a community college can still receive a Farmington education to prepare them to become teachers or professionals in other fields. We warmly welcome community college transfers into our small college community.”

“I have had the best college experience,” said Dilyse Lorello. “My years at SMCC and Farmington each provided unique social and learning opportunities. I can’t say enough good things about all of my professors, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

As a Farmington student, Dilyse has served practicums in first grade at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru, and fourth grade at Manchester Elementary School. She is currently doing her semester-long student teaching in Vickie Lailer’s second grade at Mallett Elementary School in Farmington.

“I am getting a wonderful professional preparation,” she said. “Doing my student teaching now is a huge jump, but it really prepares you for the classroom.”

The UMF program prepares pre-service teachers with a wide variety of education and classroom experiences as well as a large network of professional support.

“I also have amazing support in my mentor teacher Ms. Lailer, my UMF supervisor Cindy Stevens, and my advisor Hiram Sibley. And once a week I have an in-person seminar class with more than 20 other Farmington K-12 student teachers in districts around Maine where we can all share what we are learning. It provides a valuable opportunity to learn more about best practices when it comes to creating lesson plans, progress reports and classroom management strategies,” said Dilyse.

“UMF is really providing me with a toolkit of experience, knowledge and mentorship that I can draw on in any teaching situation and at any time,” she said. I am really excited about starting my teaching career in western Maine and hope to give back by being a mentor to UMF students and upcoming teachers.”

Maureen will be marching with her sister in the upcoming UMF graduation this spring and hopes to finish her student teaching next fall in southern Maine where she wants to work as an elementary school teacher.

“We have existing articulation agreements with all of the Maine Community Colleges for some of our UMF programs. However, our curriculum conversion from 4-credit courses to 3-credit courses will be complete this fall and that means the doors are wide open for new agreements in all of our programs,” said Erin Connor, associate dean for Graduate and Continuing Education.

Anyone interested in transferring to UMF can visit https://www.umf.maine.edu/admissions-aid/transfer/  or contact the UMF admission office at 207-778-7050.