Community Engagement

Two women conversing over a piece of paper

The University of Southern Maine is Maine’s Metropolitan University. Through community participation, internships, research, and public service, our faculty and students are involved with communities small and large in the greater Portland area, as well as Lewiston-Auburn. We focus on building collaborative partnerships, bringing our academic and research resources to help Maine’s communities develop new responses to the pressing educational, economic, and social issues they face.

Research is a vital way for faculty and students to bridge academic scholarship and learning with helping communities create real world solutions. Through a broad range of USM research initiatives, faculty, staff, and students aim to produce results that will be usable, practical, and sustainable in the community.

Examples of ways faculty and students work with community members through research include:

View of the sea over a rocky shoreEnvironmental Science students in Karen Wilson’s Water Quality Assessment and Control class collect and test samples from local streams during the winter, looking for road de-icing salts (chloride) that are washed off roads. The students pass on their results to local communities in the form of reports and presentations, helping communities make decisions about managing storm water run-off near road crossings and mitigating its effects on local streams.

Public Health Education Corps

As part of the Maine Public Health Education Corps – a partnership between the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Muskie School of Service's Master of Public Health program – three Muskie School students developed an educational intervention to teach middle school students about Lyme disease and other tick and mosquito-borne disease.

USM’s Cybersecurity Cluster (CSC) brings together students from around the state to gain practical experience in preventing and mitigating cyber-attacks. The CSC works with the US Coast Guard and other partners on cyber-security issues, teaching general awareness of the problem and how to protect key systems. Students in the program have also had internships in a range of local companies, including UNUM, MaineHealth, Sage Data Security, and WEX, where they gain real-world experience in both cyber-security and general information technology.

For information about how you or your organization can become involved in research activities that bring about real change for Maine’s citizens, please contact Maggie Vishneau, 207-780-5469,