By Melanee Terry
As an active student at UMPI’s Houlton Center, Tim Youngfellow has found himself busier than ever this semester, with school, work, community service, and the global pandemic to balance. A third-year student studying Elementary Education with a focus in Social Studies, he has been taking classes at the Center for his entire college career. In addition to his school work, Tim works two jobs in his hometown of Houlton. While he has been challenged during the pandemic, he has thrived this year despite the difficulty.
As an extension of UMPI, the Houlton Center is taking the same COVID-19 precautions as the main campus in Presque Isle. The Center made changes to its building during the summer to prepare for the arrival of students. There are hand sanitizer dispensers right around the building, available for anyone. There are arrows guiding students around the building. The Center’s front desk has a glass shield between the reception desk and visitors. As a student and employee of the Center, Tim has seen these changes to the building firsthand.
“For the one class I did have in-person, it felt like nothing was different. I got used to wearing the mask for work study before I had class, so having it on is kind of like my glasses, I forget about them,” Tim said.
As an Education major, Tim is required to complete field experience hours. He wanted to tackle his hours early in the semester, but there were some challenges. Multiple schools in Houlton went to code red during the time he needed to get hours. As a member of the Houlton community, it was important for Tim to complete his hours in his hometown.
“Another thing being here at the center allows me to do is get field experience where I went to school growing up. I get to observe teachers I previously studied under and it’s great,” Tim said.
Tim currently works at the Center performing multiple tasks. He is a receptionist and also spends time cleaning the building as a janitor. A few days a week, Tim closes the building, which consists of cleaning, locking the doors, and turning off the lights. He also performs other miscellaneous tasks, such as answering questions or directing people to where they need to be.
He also holds a job at the radio station, Northern Maine Media (WHOU), as a Video Production Coordinator. Tim does various duties for the station, such as record advertisements and live stream local high school sports events. Tim is able to balance both jobs in town, while successfully taking classes at the Center.
“I’m very fortunate to have two jobs that allow me free time to work on my course assignments. Even with two jobs I don’t get 40+ hours a week, which means I do still have a lot of free time on my hands,” Tim said. “Both places are also super understanding of me having things come up in my life. If I need to take a day off at the station, my boss won’t think twice about letting me.”
Through Tim’s hard work and passion toward education, he was recently the youngest person to be elected to the RSU 29 School Board in Houlton. His boss at the radio station is the current chairman of the board. He mentioned to Tim that he should go for the position, since he was studying Elementary Education.
“I thought, why not? I had to get about 70 signatures of Houlton voters. I succeeded in getting the signatures and was on the ballot running unopposed. I went to my first meeting as a board member on Dec. 7 and had a lot of fun,” Tim said.
As a school board member, employee, and student, Tim stays busy and is always looking for a challenge. His dream is to become a 6th grade social studies teacher in the state. He has considered a job in education administration or video editing, due to his job at the radio station.
Tim has been very busy this semester with classes, work and his recent role with Houlton’s school board. Through dedication, work ethic, and the opportunities that have been given to him through UMPI’s Houlton Center, Tim has excelled during this difficult year.
“If I was on campus or commuted, I most likely wouldn’t have the job I have now at Northern Maine Media and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to connect with all my friends at the Center,” Tim said. “The Center completely changed my educational journey.”