Franklin Countys First News

Maine Educational Opportunity Association recognizes two UMF alumni

Aimee Degroat ‘19, UMF and Upward Bound alumna and 2020 recipient of the Maine Educational Opportunity Association’s Rising Star Award.

FARMINGTON - University of Maine at Farmington Upward Bound is proud to announce that two UMF alumni were recently recognized at the Maine Educational Opportunity Association’s 38th Annual Conference in Bar Harbor.

Aimee Degroat, Upward Bound alumna from Carrabec High School, is the 2020 recipient of the MEEOA Rising Star Award. This award honors emerging leaders who strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, who excel in their chosen fields, devote time and energy to their communities in meaningful ways, and serve as role models for other economically disadvantaged, first-generation college bound students.

Degroat graduated summa cum laude from UMF in 2019 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a minor in International and Global Studies. She was in the Honors Program at UMF and worked full time as the manager of the University Store. She served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer, starting an online writing club as part of an after school program. Over the course of her college career, she entered and won several writing contests, culminating with winning the Islandport Magazine Fiction Writing Contest in both 2018 and 2019 with short stories capturing life in rural Maine.

She grew up in poverty and said, “College seemed like something far away and mythical. It was as unlikely as something from one of my science fiction books.” She credits Upward Bound for making college a reality for her. “College, it turned out, was not a fairy tale, and not something that people only did in books. It was real, and I could go, too.”

She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Stonecoast in southern Maine, and will be doing the Irish Residency in Dingle, Ireland, this summer. She also continues to manage the University Store.

Jason Judd ’05, UMF and Upward Bound alumna and 2020 recipient of the Maine Educational Opportunity Association’s Achiever Award

Jason Judd, Upward Bound alumnus from Madison High School, is the 2020 recipient of the Maine Educational Opportunity Association's Achiever Award. This award recognizes professionals who are graduates of TRIO programs; persons of high stature within their profession; make significant civic, community, or professional contributions; and pursued higher education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

Judd received a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2005. He then received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Maine in 2013. In 2017, he completed his Doctor of Education Degree in Organizational Leadership Studies at Northeastern University.

He has worked for the last 14 years in a variety of educational roles, including, as a teacher, dorm parent, college and career counselor, Director of Studies, and Dean of Academics at Maine Central Institute. He started at Educate Maine as the Director for Project>Login, leading the organization’s initiative to increase the number of professionals in technology careers in Maine. He was recently promoted to Executive Director of Educate Maine, an organization seeking to advance education policies and practices that prepare Maine students for postsecondary learning and the workforce.

Judd’s achievements in both his academic and professional life have been recognized by others. As a doctoral student he received Academic Excellence Awards from Northeastern two years in a row. While working at Maine Central Institute, he was the recipient of the Herbert F. Newhouse Faculty Fellowship, the Douglas E. Cummings Endowed Fellowship for Advanced Study, the Norbert Young Sr. Faculty Chair Award, and the New England Association of College Admission Counseling’s Professional of the Year Award for Maine.

When he attended Upward Bound at UMF, Judd found acceptance and belonging. At his high school he found it difficult to fit in, even though he was very capable and excelled in his classes. Upward Bound was a place where he could open his mind to new options, envision himself as a college student, and take the academic and social risks that would lay a foundation for future civic involvement. At Upward Bound, he learned the skills to be able to navigate the transition to a new setting, which he employed when he transferred to the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, and then in his college experiences.

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6 Responses »

  1. You're famous! ;)

  2. Way to go Aimee!! So glad you are being acknowledged for your hard work!

  3. She has been for years! Way to go Aimee!

  4. So proud of you Aimee J.!!! I know you’re Uncle Alex is too!!! Keep up the good work!

  5. I'm so proud of you Aim! Congratulations, it's amazing where the right path has taken you!

  6. That is so awesome! You worked so hard at this! So very very proud to know you and love you! Miss seeing you.