Alumni Spotlights

Sterlynn Clendenin '06Sterynn Clendenin '06

Hometown: Palm Coast, FL

Graduation Year: 2006
Degree Program: Recreation Management

Current Location: Orlando, FL
Current Job Position: runDisney Event Management Intern

Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now:

I graduated with my master’s degree in Sport Management in May 2011. After graduation, I began working for Disney Sports Attractions for the runDisney team. I work on the event operations side and I am the event lead for all runDisney Kids’ Races, Awards, and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. runDisney puts on world class races at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland for over 60,000 participants a year.

What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?

Time management and balance. I learned how to work hard and play hard at UMM. Students need to learn that there is time for school, work and play, you just need to reach out to UMM’s resources and they can help you achieve success. Some key resources are your fellow students and professors; don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are going to be times when you understand a concept and are able to help someone out and vice versa.

Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?

Step outside of your comfort zone and take advantage of every opportunity you have while at UMM. Networking is key but you are only going to be successful at networking if you create those relationships with other people. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t just sit in your room!! Get out and meet people, you never know how those people you meet in the classroom, on the basketball court, at a conference, etc. will be able to help you out later in life!!

How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?

I gained a lot of confidence in my leadership abilities while at UMM both inside and outside the classroom. I was given opportunities that I wouldn’t have had at a larger university and tried to learn everything I could from them including playing for the soccer team, holding key positions in Kappa Alpha Kappa, MRPASS and Student Senate and class assignments.

How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?

The memories and relationships that I have from UMM have made me the person I am today. I was encouraged to learn and grow while taking new changes in a supportive environment. I have had continuous support since the day I stepped foot on campus from students, faculty and staff.

 

Andrew Hayes '10Andrew Hayes '10

Hometown: New Castle, DE

Graduation Year: 2010
Degree Program: Marine Biology

Current Location: Orlando, FL
Current Job Position: Aquarium Husbandry Assistant (Diver)

Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now:

I am currently in the aquarium department at SeaWorld. My main duties include diving in the Shark Encounter exhibit (the largest of its kind in the world), diving in the eel tunnel, taking care of the sea turtles, maintaining exhibits and filters in Shark Encounter, Jewels of the Seas, and our quarantine area.

What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?

The most valuable thing would have to be all of the animal information.  I have had many guests very impressed with how much knowledge I have gained through my schooling.  This knowledge is not only about the animals we have in the park but also the bigger picture of how things work and other animals that nobody has ever heard of before.

Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?

Always keep working hard.  Things never come easy in life and nothing is ever guaranteed.  Take the positives in life slowly because things can change in an instant and always enjoy what you have when you have because it could be gone any second.

How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?

They provided me by giving me the best professors possible who could give all of the students a learning opportunity that we could not get anywhere else.  We were always out in the field for labs, learning things hands-on, and they provided on site jobs for us to gain more experience.

How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?

It has allowed me to take the next steps towards my future goals.  I have gotten two internships (SeaWorld camps and Alaska SeaLife Center) as well as my current job during and after my time at UMM.

 

Innocent Ndzana '08

Hometown: Yaounde, Cameroon

Current Location: Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Current Job Position: Medical Student, University of New England

Graduation Year: 2008
Degree Program: Biology

Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now:

I have just completed my first year of medical education at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. I must admit, [my] first year of medical school turned out to be more challenging than I had anticipated which is why successfully completing it is so rewarding. This summer, I am working in the anatomy department to generate pro-sections that will be used by incoming first year medical students in their human structure course. On a non-academic note, my wife and I recently moved to a new apartment in Old Orchard Beach to be closer to Maine Medical Center where she has just started her first year of family medicine residency. Overall, we are trying to enjoy the summer, but at the same time I am looking forward to starting my 2nd year of medical school in August.

What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?

During the 4 years I spent at UMM, I was involved in several research projects ranging from genetic analysis at The Jackson Lab to calcium channel physiology at The Mount Desert Island Biological Lab. While sharing my lab results and data with scientists and fellow research interns during a symposium at the Jackson Lab in 2005, I was asked a data-related question by a scientist and my answer must have come across as being defensive. I was reminded of that shortcoming by my UMM academic advisor Dr. Page. The lesson I got from his feedback was that as a student scientist or researcher, I should always be willing to acknowledge areas where my data falls short and be receptive of other people’s opinions. The bottom line is collaboration is essential in the scientific realm.

Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?

There is a misleading assumption that bigger colleges and universities offer a better education than smaller liberal art colleges such as UMM. The reality is that the knowledge is the same, what makes the difference is how much effort you are willing to put in in order to gain that knowledge. Be proactive and willing to challenge yourself with new knowledge.

How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?

UMM provided me with a solid basic science foundation combined with great research opportunities at both the Jackson Lab and MDIBL.  As a testimony to this comprehensive education received at UMM, I was hired as a research assistant at The University of Connecticut Health Center right after my graduation in 2008. I believe my time at UMM prepared me to become a 21st century scientist by providing me with research opportunities on campus and at cutting edge research institutions such as MDIBL and the Jackson Lab. The skills acquired through either these research projects or from being a math and science tutor at UMM have been the ‘engine’ behind successfully completing my first year of medical school and working as a biochemistry peer tutor at UNE.

How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?

I was the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship from UMM in 2004. This scholarship opened multiple doors of opportunities for me: it gave me access to a world-class education; I met my wife Dr. Kathryn Ndzana during my internship at the Jackson Lab in 2005. UMM did not just have a positive impact on my life, UMM changed my life.

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