Twelve students were named 2022 Outstanding Graduating Students at the University of Maine.

Among them is Dominique DiSpirito, the outstanding student at Honors College, and the Born in 2022. Your profile history is on-line. The following are brief biographies of UMaine’s other outstanding alumni:

A photo of Tiana Bucknor
Tiana Bucknor

Tiana Bucknor

Tiana Bucknor from Milton, Ontario, Canada is the outstanding international graduate student from the College of Education and Human Development. She is a kinesiologist and sports educator with a focus on movement science. Bucknor, a Presidential Scholar, is a senior captain of the women’s soccer team and a member of the America East Student Athlete of Color Leadership Group. On campus, she serves as the Chair of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a Student-Athlete Mentor/Tutor and Peer Tutor in the College Success program. Bucknor is also a teaching assistant at the School of Kinesiology and Physical Education. In the fall, she will pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology and physical education. After her work in grad school, Bucknor plans to play professional soccer, followed by a career in exercise physiology.

A full Q&A with Bucknor is online.


A photo by Nancy DesJardin
Nancy DesJardin

Nancy DesJardin

Nancy DesJardin from Winterport, Maine, is the outstanding student in the Lifelong Learning Department. DesJardin is a university major with minors in Anthropology and Peace and Reconciliation. Her academic honors include a scholarship to complete adult studies and two scholarships for non-traditional women from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society. For her senior project, DesJardin studied food insecurity in the United States. DesJardin, a US Army veteran who served in Desert Storm, is a licensed cosmetologist and owns and operates a hair salon. She is also a substitute teacher at Hampden Academy. After graduation, DesJardin plans to pursue a career as a secondary school teacher in history or social sciences.

A full Q&A with DesJardin is online.


A photo Grace Graham
Grace Graham

Grace Graham

Grace Graham from Cary, Maine is the Distinguished Student at Maine Business School. She is ​major​ in accounting,​ finance and financial economics. Her numerous awards include a Presidential Scholarship, grants from the Maine Society of CPAs, and the 2021 Maine Business School Faculty Award in Finance. For a year she was involved in the MBS initiative Undiscovered Maine, asStudent research project aimed at promoting tourism and economic development in underrepresented areas of Maine. As a senior, Graham completed two audit internships with Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker LLC. During her college days, Graham had three weekend jobs in Houlton and Old Town. Upon graduation, Graham will join the audit team at Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker while pursuing a MaineMBS in Accounting from the Graduate School of Business and sitting the CPA exam.

A full Q&A with Graham is online.


A photo Anna Lane
Anna Lane

Anna Lane

Anna Lane from York, Maine, is the distinguished student at the College of Science, Forestry and Agriculture. She has dual majors in microbiology and biochemistry and is the recipient of the UMaine Presidential Scholar and the UMaine Flagship Award. Her numerous scholarships include the 2021 Liuba De Siervo Merit Scholarship. Last year, Lane received a Frederick Radke Undergraduate Research Fellowship to support her graduate research. This research, in collaboration with Professor Melody Neely, examined the effects of antifungal drugs on Candida albicans in the presence of Group B Streptococcus and the symbiotic relationship of the two organisms. In the summer of 2020, Lane completed an internship at Lonza Biologics. On campus, she has been a peer tutor, teaching assistant and Maine Learning Assistant, and a member of University Singers and Renaissance. After graduation, Lane plans a career in biochemistry.

A full Q&A with Lane is online.


A photo of Hua Lin
Hua Lin

Hua Lin

Hua Lin from Portland, Maine, is the distinguished student at the College of Engineering. He has a double degree in mathematics and engineering physics with a focus on mechanical engineering. In 2019, Lin received a Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) Fellowship and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Fellowship in Sensor Science and Engineering. He worked with Professor in the NSF REU Sensors initiative Sheila Edalatpour on the Silicon Carbide Nanowires and Thin Films for Sensing Strain and Pressure in Harsh Environments project. Lin’s thesis is “Near-Field Thermal Radiation in Graphene-Based Systems”. He has started his master’s degree in mechanical engineering and will graduate in 2023. Lin plans a career in engineering research.

A full Q&A with Lin is online.


A photo by Ethan Mathieu
Ethan Mathieu

Ethan Mathieu

Ethan Mathieu from Sanford, Maine, is the distinguished student at the College of Education and Human Development. He is a high school graduate specializing in natural sciences. Mathieu is a recipient of the Edward and Barbara McManus Scholarship and the Hervey A. Hanscom Scholarship and has served as Treasurer of the Student Maine Educators Association. His thesis is “The impact of a course in multicultural education on the development of sociocultural awareness in student teachers.” Mathieu taught his studentng at Orono High School and had field internships at John Bapst High School and Kennebunk High School. On campus, he was a tutor at TRIO Student Support Services and a student assistant in the Faculty of Mathematics and Statistics. Mathieu plan wants to be a physics teacher in Maine and pursue a master’s degree in educational science.

A full Q&A with Mathieu is online.


A photo of Aubree Nygaard
Aubree Nygaard

Aubree Nygaard

Aubree Nygaard from Brunswick, Maine, is the distinguished student at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Nygaard is a dual major in computer science and philosophy whose numerous academic awards include the Non-Traditional Student Scholarship and the Roger B. Hill Humanities Scholarship. It has been since 2019 a developer and student representative at the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Lab (VEMI Lab), where she has collaborated on research focused on an iOS app for autonomous ridesharing and other projects involving human-computer interaction, virtual reality, and information access , especially for blind or visually impaired people. She is the co-author of two peer-reviewed articles in the field of privacy research. Nygaard was the Maine Learning Assistant and Research Assistant in the Privacy Engineering – Regulatory Compliance Lab (PERC_Lab) and for Professor Hao Hong in the Philosophy Department. From 2019-21 she was Vice President of the UMaine Chapter of the Council on Women in Computing of the Association for Computing Machinery. Upon graduation, Nygaard will pursue a career in software development.

A full Q&A with Nygaard is online.


A photo of Chisom Orakwue
Chisom Orakwue

Chisom Orakwue

Chisom Orakwue from Lagos, Nigeria is the outstanding international student in the College of Engineering. Orakwue, a biomedical engineering major, received the International Presidential Scholarship and the Richard E. Durst Scholarship. During this academic year, she was involved in research in Professor Karissa Tilbury’s lab focused on the use of Spatial Frequency Domain Imaging (SFDI) to detect biomarkers of diabetic neuropathy and sepsis. For her capstone project, she designed a wheelchair cushion to reduce pressure sores. In addition to the lab and classroom, Orakwue has served as Black Bear’s mentor, resident assistant, and peer tutor. Last year she was Vice President of the International Student Association. Orakwue plans to graduate from graduate school.

A full Q&A with Orakwue is online.


A photo of Jinyoung Park
Jinyoung Park

Jinyoung Park

Jinyoung Park from Seongnam-si, South Korea, is the Outstanding Graduating International Student at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Park, a chemistry student, has received international presidential and Charles A. Brautlecht fellowships and a fellowship from the Center for Undergraduate Research. For the past three semesters, Park has been collaborating with Professor Matthew Brichacek on research to isolate and analyze large carbohydrate molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) using TEAB adjuvants. She is President of the International Student Association and a leader in Operation HEARTS and has served as a learning assistant in Maine on three chemistry courses. Park will attend Dalhousie University Dental School.

A full Q&A with Park is online.


A photo of Amanda Sandberg
Amanda Sandberg

Amanda Sandberg

Amanda Sandberg from Skurup, Sweden is the Distinguished International Student at the College of Science, Forestry and Agriculture. She is majoring in biochemistry with a focus on medicine and minoring in molecular and cell biology. Sandberg is a member of the women’s soccer team and a competitive athlete. Her many honors include the 2020 and 2022 Team Maine Scholar Athlete Awards, the UMaine Presidential Scholar Awards, and the Professor Frederick H. Radke Prize. In collaboration with Professor Melissa Maginnis, Sandberg studied the calcium signget in JC polyoma virus Infection. In 2021, Sandberg participated in a summer research internship at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research studying downstream open reading frames and post-transcriptional regulation. On campus, she has served as a peer tutor, teaching assistant, and Maine learning assistant. Sandberg will be pursuing a master’s degree in microbiology at UMaine while playing her final season of eligibility. After graduating, she plans to study medicine or do a doctorate. in a biomedical field.

A full Q&A with Sandberg is online.


A photo by Jakub Sirota
Jacob Sirota

Jacob Sirota

Jacob Sirota from Kroměříž, Czech Republic, is the Outstanding Graduating International Student at Maine Business School. Sirota has a double degree in Marketing and Management and is a member of the men’s ice hockey team. He is a two-time member of the Hockey East All-Academic Team and a three-time University of Maine Scholar Athlete. He was also named to Athletics ’13th annual team Maine. Sirota plans a hockey career followed by an entrepreneurial career in business.

A full Q&A with Sirota is online.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, nagle@maine.edu