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The Pioneers Partnership Program Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics

The Pioneers Partnership Program

Building a Cornerstone for Maine's Future

Lab with student at the microscope while a professor looks on

The Challenge

For Maine's Economy to thrive, it's leading-edge buinesses need to lead the way.

In order for new buinesses to emerge within the innovation and technology economies, it is imperative that Maine develop exciting, new teaching methods and programs that will enable more young people to study and work in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The need for our best and brightest science and engineering students has never been greater, especially in Maine, where innovation economy is key to future economic growth.

The Initiative

The University of Southern Maine is playing a pivotal role in advancing Maine's economy by establishing programs of distinction in the STEM disciplines.

Our Pioneers Program, a signature honors engineering and science program, was developed for students who aspire to become research scientists, information teachnology professionals, engineers, and mathematics or science teachers.

Student working in a labBy 2020 one in seven new jobs in Maine will arise in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics-related fields, earning salaries that are expected to be approximately 58% higher than the average Maine income.

Maine-Based companies must operate in ever more competitive, highly technical, globally driven markets. This will, in turn, require a larger and more highly trained workforce. The University of Southern Maine is committed to furthering the wellbeing and economic development of Maine, and the Pioneers Program holds the potential to reduce the outflow of academic high-performers to out-of-state universities and increase the number of well-qualified graduates needed by our state's employers. To put it simply: Mainers educated in Maine stay in Maine.

By offering opportunities for Maine students to study in this honors program for science and engineering students, USM will not only increase the number of science and technology students, but also will strengthen its educational programs through partnerships with companies operating in the southern Maine region.

How the Pioneers Program Works

The Pioneers Program was created through a three-year start-up fund from the University of Maine System's Strategic Investment Fund. Each year a limited number of young scholars will receive:

  • A full four-year scholarship, including fees
  • A pre-college summer program
  • The option for select housing on the Gorham campus in a specially-designed Learning Community
  • A notebook computer
  • Undergraduate research opportunities
  • Extensive internships with Maine companies in STEM fields

USM has designed the Pioneers Program to become a catalyst for expanding the availability of talent required to sustain and grow Maine's science and technology economy.

Becoming a Pioneers Program Partner

Pioneers students will receive full scholarships for tuition and fees for the four years of their undergraduate degrees and will have the positive impact of building the enrollment of the STEM student population at USM. It is the Pioneers Program that will drive the advancement of the curriculum and the awareness of USM's STEM educational capabilities. Over the course of this program, as the program becomes more institutionalized, it will attract a greater number of students, which will in turn assure that all STEM students benefit from the enhanced strengths of USM. At that point, revenues will begin to offset the cost of the scholarships and USM, as well as the community, will have a sustainable program that directly impacts the well being of Maine.

The funding required to run the Pioneers Program for the next ten years is approximately four million five hundred thousand dollars. These are costs over and above the USM expenditures for faculty, labs, physical plant, and staff support. The University of Maine System endorsed this program by agreeing to seed the first three years ($538,000) through its Strategic Investment Fund. For the remaining requirements of approximately four million dollars ($3,919,495) USM has created a University and Industry partnership called the Pioneer Partnership Program, through which we seek to raise the needed funds from private sources.

For more information, contact Cecile Aitchison by email: or by phone: (207) 780-4708.