Mid-Coast School Notebook: Dec. 23

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New dean for academic affairs named at Bowdoin

Elizabeth F. McCormack has been named dean for academic affairs at Bowdoin College, effective July 1. McCormack is professor of physics at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. In addition to serving as dean, McCormack will join the Bowdoin faculty as a tenured professor in the Department of Physics. Bowdoin Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Jennifer Scanlon, who has been serving as interim dean, will return to the faculty upon McCormack’s arrival.

McCormack earned her bachelor’s degree in astronomy and physics at Wellesley College and her PhD in physics at Yale University. She was an Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow and staff physicist at Argonne National Laboratory before joining the faculty at Bryn Mawr in 1995. She has published over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

McCormack was a National Science Foundation CAREER award recipient and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the University of Paris XI. At Bryn Mawr, she served as chairwoman of the faculty, director of the Center for Science in Society, director of the STEM Posse Program, dean of graduate studies, and, most recently, as associate provost. She received the College’s McPherson Prize for Faculty in 2007. She has also served as a curriculum consultant for Effat College in Saudi Arabia and was a fellow of the American Council on Education at Lesley University.

“I am very excited to join the Bowdoin community, and I am looking forward to supporting Bowdoin’s faculty members in their work as dedicated teachers and exceptional scholars,” said McCormack. “For me, the most distinctive aspect of a liberal education is its integrative approach to learning through multiple disciplines and through co-curricular opportunities that connect the classroom with the world.”

McCormack was selected for the position following a national search by a committee of faculty, staff and students that was chaired by Bowdoin’s president. As dean for academic affairs, she will have oversight of 31 academic departments and programs; Bowdoin’s library and museums; its research centers and field stations; the registrar’s office; the Office of International Programs and Off-Campus Study; student fellowships and research; health professions advising; special academic programs; and the Center for Learning and Teaching. Reporting to the president, she will also serve on Bowdoin’s senior leadership team.

A native of Boston, McCormack grew up in upstate New York state and has vacationed in western Maine for many years.

Bath student wins both local, regional essay contest

The winner of the Patriots Pen essay contest sponsored by the VFW Post No. 2197 in Topsham, as well as the District 7 competition, is Ella Carter, an eighth-grader at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Bath.

This year’s topic was “The America I Believe In.” Post 2197 submitted Ella’s essay for VFW District 7 competition, which includes the Mid-Coast area, and Carter’s entry was also selected as the District 7 winner. Her essay has now been submitted for the finals of state competition, the results of which will be announced in mid-January. At the Post’s December meeting, Carter received a certificate of achievement, as well as cash awards for winning the Post and District competitions.

“Patriot’s Pen” is a nationwide scholastic competition for middle school students sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Through all levels of competition from Post to national, the VFW awards over $3 million dollars annually in cash and scholarships in the “Patriot’s Pen, and the high school level “Voice of Democracy” programs.

When Douglas DeCamilla’s third-grade class at Harriet Beecher Stowe School in Brunswick discussed a holiday gift exchange, they decided instead raise funds to buy new books for children who go to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. In just two weeks, the students raised enough money for 70 books. Ethan Minton, program director at MCHPP, is surrounded by, from left, Ethan Patterson, Jackson Martin, Rowan Gray, Coco Mangalam, Lacey Palese and Phoebe Benham.