STEM college research and career exploration course offered to high school students at UMaine Hutchinson Center tuition free

by | Jun 20, 2022

two crabs being held by hands covered in dirt

Belfast, Maine — Registration is open for an innovative four-week college STEM research course for qualified high school students (rising 11th–12th grade) offered by the University of Maine, July 18–Aug. 11, at the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

Introduction to Integrated Science and Career Exploration (INT 188) will meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. High school students will earn three college credits upon completion of the course. Sections of this course, on the same dates, are offered on the Orono and Machias campuses.

Early College classes are offered tuition free for qualified high school students. Students who pay to attend high school in Maine, including out-of-state and international students, will be charged a reduced Early College rate.

This innovative course with a low student-teacher ratio provides a unique summer opportunity for students in midcoast Maine who are interested in exploring STEM-related careers and engaging in a research project. Thirty percent of class time will be spent outdoors doing fieldwork, with the remainder spent in the classroom and lab at the Hutchinson Center.

INT 188 is designed to introduce high school students to higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The course includes lecture and laboratory instruction in data collection and analysis, experimental design, measuring and graphic techniques, scientific writing and evidence-based thinking.

“I know I wouldn’t have made it as far as I did this year if it weren’t for the experience I received in the class. I learned so much about scientific research in a very short period of time,” says Ruth Havener, who took INT 188 in 2021 and recently won a full tuition scholarship to UMaine at the Maine State Science Fair for her research on extracting microplastics from blue mussels.

Students will participate in group work, a research project in environmental chemistry or environmental biology, a career-planning assignment focusing on STEM fields, career exploration experiences and a final research symposium on Aug. 11. In previous years, INT 188 students have used this opportunity to research environmental issues in the Belfast/midcoast area, such as the impact of the presence of microplastics in the bay.

Course instructors Susan Therio and Dave Thomas are UMaine adjunct faculty members teaching chemistry and oceanography courses, respectively. Prior to coming to UMaine, Therio was an industry chemist in environmental and hydrocolloid fields. Thomas, a high school science teacher for over 18 years, spent four years as a research technician in northern Wisconsin and Michigan studying ecological changes.

To register, visit For more information about the course content contact Chris Tremblay, 338.8038; [email protected].

About the Hutchinson Center:

The Hutchinson Center is an outreach center for the University of Maine in Orono, that serves as an educational and cultural center for the midcoast area. It is named for University of Maine President Emeritus Frederick E. Hutchinson. The mission of the Hutchinson Center is to broaden access to University of Maine academic and non-degree programs and services, lifelong learning opportunities, and professional and career development experiences using innovative approaches that increase synergy among University of Maine System entities, University of Maine departments and divisions, and that engage a wider Maine community.

About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state’s land grant, sea grant and space grant university, with a regional campus at the University of Maine at Machias. UMaine is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. UMaine Machias is located in the homeland of the Passamaquoddy Nation. As Maine’s flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state’s only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and 81 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,989 undergraduate and graduate students, and UMaine Machias enrolls 747 undergraduates. Our students have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master’s, doctoral or professional science master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. UMaine Machias offers 18 degree programs. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine and UMaine Machias, visit and