Maine Policy Scholars

The Maine Policy Scholars Program was conceived by the late Peter Cox to engage students from the University of Maine System in the public policy process.

During the course of the academic year, one student from each of the state's seven campuses works with a faculty advisor and community mentor to tackle a real-life policy issue that Maine faces.

The scholars conduct extensive research from literature, data analysis, interviews - or all three. Each produces a final report as a memo to the governor or appropriate policymaker that outlines the problem, data available, and recommended policy solutions.

Topics can be local (energy conservation strategies for campus buildings, for example) or of statewide significance (strategies to keep Maine university graduates in state). In all cases, the topics are expected to be well-defined, subject to research, and of real concern to Maine or a segment of its people.

The scholars meet at least three times as a group with all the academic advisors, community mentors, and program leaders.They also regularly consult with their advisors on campus to focus the work, check progress, and for input on their research. Community mentors, who meet throughout the year with the students, are a link to the world off campus and serve as a “reality check” for the scholars’ work. 

One of Maine’s most important characteristics is the openness of its public policy process. Legislators, the governor, and local and state agency leaders are accessible and interested in practical solutions to real-life problems. The Maine Policy Scholars gives our students an opportunity to experience that process and at the same time make meaningful contributions to our future.

The Maine Policy Scholars' memos are available online.

Photo: The 2016 Maine Policy Scholars are, from left, Mitchell Roi (UMaine-Fort Kent), Paul Cote (UMaine-Augusta), Daniel Clark (University of Maine), Rose Miller (UMaine-Farmington), and Rhiannon Hampson (UMaine-Machias).

The Maine Policy Scholars program is managed by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine in partnership with the Maine Community Foundation. For more information, contact Laura Armstrong Reed, MaineCF’s Central Maine foundation officer, by e-mail at lreed@mainecf.org or by phone at (207) 564-3236.

 

 

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