Office of Public Affairs

April 18, 2018 — USM students present “Thinking Matters” research projects on Friday, April 20

For Immediate Release 4/18/18


Press contacts:Danielle Vayenas, USM Director of Communications and Media, 207-780-4150 / 207-239-5715 (cell)


Daniel Hartill, USM Communications and Media Relations, 207-780-4744 / 207-333-9910 (cell)


USM students present “Thinking Matters” research projects on Friday, April 20


PORTLAND — More than 200 University of Southern Maine students will unveil a wide variety of research projects on Friday, April 20 during a day-long Portland Campus symposium titled “Thinking Matters.”


The event  — held at USM’s Abromson Center at 88 Bedford Street  — give students meaningful opportunities to apply their learning in real-world contexts and share what they’ve learned.


The symposium will begin at 8 a.m. with welcome remarks by USM President Glenn Cummings and Southern Maine Community College President Ron Cantor.


Student researchers — both undergrads and graduate students — will introduce their works in spoken or poster presentations during three 90-minute sessions beginning at 8:15 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and and 4 p.m. They will be followed at 6 p.m. with six “Lightning Talks,” a new addition in which students can introduce their work in TED Talk-style presentations.


“With the Lightning Talks, we are giving our students an opportunity to showcase their learning in engaging formats,” said Rebecca Nisetich, the director of USM’s Honors Program


“Thinking Matters” began 17 years ago as a chance for undergraduates to perform in-depth research and present their findings. It has grown into an annual student research symposium, promoting high quality student-faculty research collaborations and opportunities and share their work with both the USM community and the general public.


This year, the schedule has been expanded to incorporate Maine Gun Safety Coalition’s events, which include participation in the National School Walkout and a teach-in, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.


“With the Walk-out and Teach-in, we are supporting students by helping them to put this set of events and debates into context of history, culture, policy, etc,” Nisetich said. “We aren't shaping the debate or telling students what to think, but giving them an array of opportunities to figure out what they think by being exposed to lots of different ideas and perspectives. The goal is for students to leave the teach-in feeling that they have a new understanding of gun violence from a wide variety of disciplinary contexts and cultural perspectives. We also want them to know how they can participate in critical conversations about gun violence as it affects their personal lives and communities.”


For more details, check out the Thinking Matters website.




Situated in Maine’s economic and cultural center, the University of Southern Maine (USM) is a public university with 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students taking courses online and at campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn. Known for its academic excellence, student focus and engagement with the community, USM provides students with hands-on experience that complements classroom learning and leads to employment opportunities in one of the nation’s most desirable places to live.