UNE's first Innovation Celebration set for this spring

The series of events will recognize the strides that students have made as innovators

Students are shown showcasing their creations at the Innovation Showcase in 2019.

The University of New England will recognize the strides its students have made as innovators throughout the academic year as it hosts its first Innovation Celebration, a series of events showcasing research, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, to be held this spring.

The series will feature five events highlighting innovation from several disciplines across the University — including the health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, osteopathic medicine, dental medicinepharmacy, business, and more — and showcase students’ communication, collaborative, and critical thinking skills.

The celebration kicks off on April 5 with the annual Adaptive Projects Expo — the signature event of UNE’s Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) program — in which OT students create devices to assist children with their everyday occupational engagement at pediatric therapy centers and elsewhere. On April 13, UNE will host its first Health Care Story Slam, where students and area medical providers will gather to tell original stories about adaptability and health care.

The Spring Interprofessional Poster Session follows on April 27. Hosted by the Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education (CECE), the annual event showcases the research conducted by students who have worked across academic disciplines, particularly the health professions, to improve mutual understanding and better patient outcomes.

The Student Innovation Showcase and Maine Ideas Challenge — which provide students with the opportunity to propose transformative solutions to real-world problems through business and social innovations — comes on May 4, followed immediately by the College of Arts and Sciences Spring Research Symposium on May 6.

The Innovation Celebration builds upon UNE’s already strong culture of innovation, whereby innovation is integrated into all the University’s academic programs.

For example, in addition to clinical rotations in the state’s largest hospitals, students in UNE’s health professions programs make use of the Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center (ISIC), where they are immersed in team-based simulations that model the communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving habits that are inherent in professional practice.

On the Biddeford Campus, the P.D. Merrill Makerspace — an innovative laboratory for creation and building — brings students across the University’s many disciplines and has spawned creation of several projects used for research and business. In 2021, UNE established the Shaw Innovation Fellows Program, an interprofessional program intended to inspire creative confidence and innovative thinking across all UNE’s programs and majors.

Additionally, UNE has seen five student businesses compete on the “Greenlight Maine” Collegiate Challenge — a statewide, televised pitch competition — and produced one grand prize winner.

"It is inspiring to see all the different ways UNE students are showing up as innovators,” remarked Justine Bassett, M.S., director of Innovation and the makerspace at UNE. “This celebration brings together undergraduates and graduate students from many different professions and shows their creative confidence and innovative spirit, whether they are standing in front of a microphone at the Story Slam or sharing their work on an interprofessional team.

“You can drop into any of these events and leave excited by the innovative spirit and passion of our students,” Bassett added. “Collectively, they demonstrate our commitment to innovation as a mindset — innovation for a healthier planet.”

View the full event listing for the Spring 2022 Innovation Celebration (PDF).