News & Events

UMPI welcomes new employees to campus

The University of Maine at Presque Isle is welcoming 17 new employees at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, including new professors, coaches, and professional staffers.

The University is welcoming five new faculty members to its College of Arts and Sciences and College of Professional Programs.

Hyrum Benson joins the Art Program as an Assistant Professor of Art. He most recently taught ceramics and interior design at Tartant Country College in Fort Worth, Texas. Prior to that, he taught and served as an Assistant Administrator in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. Benson is also an accomplished artist with several years of successful exhibits and shows. Benson has presented exhibitions in galleries from Texas and Georgia to Kansas and Idaho, and has art work in the permanent collection at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Benson holds an MFA in Ceramics from the University of North Texas. He earned his BFA in Ceramics and his ASA in Graphic Design, Fine Arts and Spanish from Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Dr. Melissa Crowe rejoins the University as an Assistant Professor of English. Dr. Crowe, who served as a full-time Assistant Professor of English and Honors Director for UMPI from 2004 to 2008, is returning to the University full-time to focus exclusively on online course delivery and development. She is a published poet who recently received the inaugural Betsy Sholl Award for Excellence in Poetry by the University of Southern Maine’s Words & Images magazine. Dr. Crowe was born and raised in Presque Isle and graduated from Presque Isle High School in 1992. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maine in 1996, her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia.

Dr. Rachael Hannah joins the University as an Assistant Professor of Biology. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees in Molecular Biology and Marine Biology in 1994 from the Florida Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology from the University of Vermont in 2010. Dr. Hannah has completed several abstracts and peer-reviewed manuscripts including two publications in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her article in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism was selected as a feature article, and one of the images that illustrated her findings appeared on the cover of the May 2011 issue of the journal, part of the Nature publishing group. Dr. Hannah also has delivered several conference presentations and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Physiological Society.

Chris Rolon serves as the new Director and Assistant Professor of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. He comes to the University from River Valley Community College in Claremont, NH, where he was an Associate Professor and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education from 2007 to 2011. Between 1995 and 2007, he served in several capacities, including a staff physical therapist, athletic trainer, and personal trainer. He holds a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from UMass Lowell and a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education/Sports Medicine from Keene State College in Keene, NH. He is a New Hampshire Licensed Physical Therapist, and a member of the New England Physical Therapist Assistant Consortium, the American Physical Therapy Association, and the New Hampshire Physical Therapy Association.

Heather Sincavage joins the University as an Assistant Professor of Art. Sincavage has an MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a BFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Penn. She has taught as an adjunct instructor at Lehigh University, Baum School of Art, Lehigh Carbon Community College, and Penn State. She has had several commissioned pieces and exhibitions at galleries in Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Jersey, and as far away as Spain. Sincavage has been awarded numerous Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants; been grant funded to attend the Vermont Studio Center; and was a Spring 2010 Artist in Residence at Lehigh University. In May 2011, she was awarded the “Outstanding Contributions to Visual Art” Award by the Allentown Arts Commission, City of Allentown.

The University also is welcoming 10 new employees to its professional staff.

Patrick Baker joins the University as its Assistant Athletic Trainer. He most recently served as an Athletic Trainer at Colby College. He earned his Master’s degree in Sport, Recreation and Fitness Management from Montana State University Billings. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from UMPI, and his Diploma of Fitness and Health Promotion from Loyalist College. He is a Maine Licensed Athletic Trainer and a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Nola Belanger continues her service to the University as an Administrative Assistant II in the Office of Student Records. Belanger previously worked in the Admissions Office as an Administrative Assistant. Prior to coming to UMPI, Belanger had years of experience working in clerical and bookkeeping capacities.

Sheila Blair continues her service to the University as an Administrative Assistant II in the Information Technology Office. Blair previously worked in the University’s Office of Student Records as a temporary Administrative Assistant. Blair earned an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science – Sociology from the University.

Michelle Green continues her service to the University as a Library Assistant. Green had worked for the past five years in the University Library as a library clerk and library aid. She previously has served as a library aid for the Fort Fairfield Public Library.

Frank Higgins joins the University as a Building and Grounds Maintenance Mechanic and Trades Worker. He comes to the University with experience in electrical construction and maintenance, power and steam generation operations and maintenance, pipe welding, and carpentry. Higgins has degrees in Instrumentation and Controls as well as Electrical Construction and Maintenance from Northern Maine Community College, and a degree in Welding Technology from Eastern Maine Community College.

Alyre Levesque also joins the University as a Building and Grounds Maintenance Mechanic and Trades Worker. He comes to the University with experience as a carpenter, cabinet maker, machinist, mechanic, and plumbing, electrical and equipment operator. He maintains a United Brotherhood of Carpenter and Joiners of America Journeyman Carpenter/Millwright license.

Nancy Nichols joins the University as an Administrative Assistant I in the Admissions Office. She previously worked at ACAP Health Services, and as City Planner and City Clerk for the City of Presque Isle. In 2009, she was named Clerk of the Year during the Maine Town and City Clerks Association’s annual meeting. Nichols earned her Associate’s degree in the Executive Secretary Program from Thomas College.

Vanessa Pearson joins the University as the Coordinator of Student Activities and Leadership in the Residential Life Office. Pearson received her Bachelor’s degree from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and her Master’s degree in Student Affairs from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She gained programming and residence life experience at the Clearfield Campus of Lock Haven University, Westmoreland Community College, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Mike Sullivan returns to the University to serve as an Admissions Counselor in the Admissions Office. He most recently served as the Director of Admissions at the Medical University of the Americas. An UMPI alum, Sullivan previously worked in the Admissions Office for 11 years as a successful recruiter. He is taking on recruiting duties in the out-of-state and southern Maine areas. Sullivan is a member of the New England Association for College Admissions Counseling, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

JoAnne Wallingford continues her service to the University as the Director of Information Services. She has been on campus since 1999 serving as a Associate Professor of Business and Management Information Systems. Prior to coming to UMPI, she served as Administrative Systems Lead at Northern Arizona University and before that as Assistant to the Director of Property, Plant, and Restricted Accounting in the Comptroller’s Office at Syracuse University. In that position she was ultimately promoted to Senior User Analyst. She has also managed a real estate management firm and held jobs in the accounting field. Wallingford is currently working on her Doctorate of Professional Services from Syracuse University.

Additionally, the University’s Athletic Department is welcoming two new coaches.

James Casciano joins the University as the Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director. Casciano most recently was at Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey. In his nearly 30-year collegiate coaching career, Casciano has headed up men’s basketball programs at the NJCAA, NAIA, and NCAA Division I, II, and III levels. In addition to his coaching experience, Casciano brings a wealth of experience in athletic administration including game and facility management, travel logistics, marketing/fundraising, supervision, budgeting and game management.

Marc Heidorf joins the University as the Women’s Head Basketball Coach and Sports Information Director. Heidorf most recently served as Head Basketball Coach at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also has women’s basketball coaching experience at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and La Crosse, and Alverno College (Milwaukee, WI). Heidorf earned his Bachelor’s degree with a major in Radio-TV-Film and minor in Coaching from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In 2007, he received his Master’s degree in Sport Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He brings with him a strong repertoire of sports information experience, has developed and designed college athletic websites, and has written and distributed media/press releases and numerous marketing materials for athletics.