Department of Environmental Science

Maine Community Foundation Names USM Maine Policy Scholar

The University of Southern Maine (USM) is proud to announce that Nick Northcott of Damariscotta has been selected as a 2013-2014 Maine Policy Scholar. Northcott is one of seven students selected from University of Maine System campuses this year to participate in the Maine Policy Scholar (MPS) program and engage firsthand in the public policy process.

Northcott, a junior at USM, is currently pursuing a major in environmental planning and policy and a minor in economics. He was selected due to his strong academic record, recommendations from USM faculty, and focus and substance of his research proposal, which will be implemented as part of the MPS program.

“He’s a great student,” said Dr. Travis Wagner, Northcott’s professor and faculty advisor. “He has a keen ability to understand environmental problems and identify the root causes.”

Northcott, who previously worked for several years on his father’s commercial fishing vessel, is currently studying sustainable fisheries practices in New England as part of his major. Earlier in the year, he worked with staff at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to evaluate the lobster limit entry licensing system as part of a service learning project.

As a Maine Policy Scholar, he plans to conduct an analysis of management policies throughout New England fisheries. Northcott will work closely with his MPS program advisor, Dr. Lisa Morris, assistant professor in the public policy and management program at the USM Muskie School of Public Service. Ultimately, he hopes to use his studies at USM to help restore Maine’s commercial fisheries.

"My hope is to use this great opportunity to be part of the solution to Maine's groundfishery problems,” said Northcott. “I am looking forward to researching and speaking to key stakeholders to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues. It’s important to me that Maine does not lose the unique culture and way of life found in its coastal fishing communities."

The Maine Policy Scholar program is managed by the Maine Community Foundation. First conceived by the late Peter Cox, the program strives to engage students in the University of Maine System in the public policy process. Throughout the year, policy scholars learn from and interact with legislators, community leaders, and policy experts, who will inform their research process.  Scholars from throughout the system will meet in April to present final research reports.