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UMPI’s Keren Morin named 2011 Maine Policy Scholar

– The Maine Community Foundation has announced the Maine Policy Scholars 2010-2011 class. One student from each campus of the University of Maine system has been selected to pursue a year-long program of applied research in the area of Maine public policy.

At the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Keren Morin, a senior Social Work major, is researching how negative portrayals of females in the media impact a female adolescent’s concept of her body image. Morin will be recommending that a media literacy component be added to the health curriculum for students in grades 6-8 in Maine schools. Currently, no such curriculum exists except one offered by Hardy Girls Healthy Women.

Morin chose to focus her research on a social justice policy recommendation, rather than the more popular economic and energy renewal policy projects. “I wanted to choose a project that I was passionate about on a personal level, but also one which was going to challenge me on a professional level,” she said. “While research on the topic is vast, defining the problem and creating a solution are challenging in terms of making sure that I cover all my bases before I present the policy recommendation.”

Morin will produce a final report in the form of a memo to the Governor or appropriate policymaker, which outlines the issue and the data available, and recommended policy solutions. In the late spring, she will present the report in the form of a briefing to a panel of policymakers.

During the course of the academic year, Maine Policy Scholars work with a faculty advisor, in Morin’s case, Dr. Anja Whittington, Assistant Professor of Recreation. Other 2010-2011 scholars are Anders Beal, UMO; Geoffrey Cyr, UMF; Tyler Dufour, UMFK; Mary Lynch, UMA; Ryan Martin UMM; and Emily Paine, USM.

The late Peter Cox established the Maine Scholars Fund at the Maine Community Foundation in 1987. The program was introduced in 1995 and is managed by the community foundation with input from an advisory committee.

A statewide foundation with offices in Ellsworth and Portland, the Maine Community Foundation partners with donors and nonprofits to strengthen Maine communities. For more information, visit or call toll-free 1-877-700-6800.