McKayla Arsenault ’22 joins UNE North as GIS and communications intern

Photo of woman smiling against wall, student McKayla Arsenault
McKayla Arsenault (Environmental Studies, ’22)

UNE North: The Institute for North Atlantic Studies at the University of New England has welcomed McKayla Arsenault (Environmental Studies, ’22) as the institute’s first student intern.

UNE North connects researchers, educators, policymakers, and industry leaders from across Maine and the North Atlantic region to implement collaborative approaches to building resilient communities, healthy environments, and thriving economies. The institute’s work is grounded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Arsenault will assist the institute in its communications efforts, including the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to help tell the UNE North story.

In addition to her major, Arsenault is tackling four minors in GIS, Climate Change Studies, Political Science, and Biological Sciences. Her GIS field experience includes use of ArcGIS StoryMaps and WebApps, and she has received a MOOC cartography certification through ArcGIS parent company, ESRI.

Arsenault’s focus will be to create an ArcGIS interactive map highlighting all of UNE North’s partnerships and projects as a communications tool. The map will describe where UNE North partners are, what projects the institute is engaged in, and their impacts on local and regional sustainable development.

UNE North partners with people and institutions in the U.S. and across the globe, including Norway, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Russia.

“With climate change being a defining issue of this century, it is more important than ever to collaborate at a regional, national, and global scale,” Arsenault said. “Collaboration is a key component of UNE North as knowledge, ideas, and ambitions are shared between countries in the North Atlantic. I am ecstatic to work with UNE North to contribute to the efforts against climate change by telling their story of international cooperation.”

Additionally, Arsenault will support UNE North’s leadership of the University of the Arctic Thematic Network on Bioregional Planning for Resilient Rural Communities by staffing meetings of international stakeholders.

Arsenault will present her map to a joint meeting of UNE North’s Advisory Council, composed of government and business representatives from Maine, and the Affiliate Team, an interdisciplinary advisory group of UNE faculty and students. UNE faculty member Chris Brehme, Ph.D., who joined UNE this fall and teaches GIS in the School of Marine and Environmental Programs, will mentor McKayla throughout the process.

“It is wonderful to have McKayla on the UNE North team, and she is already bringing so much creativity to the project,” said UNE North Director Holly Parker, Ph.D. “A key goal for UNE North is to increase UNE student engagement with our work supporting sustainable development here in Maine and throughout the region. We hope McKayla is the first of many awesome student interns to come.”