IMRC Center Fall 2022 Newsletter

The Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center is pleased to share with you the Fall ‘22 edition of our newsletter, Immersed.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading about the variety of interdisciplinary activities that are taking place each semester here at the IMRC Center, and that you’ll also appreciate this notice of upcoming events this spring.  

We also warmly invite you and your colleagues to consider collaborating with us on a future project, event, or initiative. In addition to offering dynamic presentation and meeting spaces, audiovisual production rooms, and prototyping laboratories, our staff would love to explore additional ways to support you, your employees, and our students. Please contact us at, or call 207.581.8822, to schedule a tour or to arrange for our staff to visit your next department meeting.  

Best wishes for a happy new year and a successful spring semester, 

Drew Hooke Signature PNG
Drew Hooke,
Operations Manager, IMRC Center

IMRC Center Immersed Newsletter Banner With Logo and Photo of people dancing and playing music outside the IMRC Center theater window

Supporting Research Innovation 

Going into the new academic year classified as a Carnegie R1-rated institution, UMaine’s designation as “a top-tier research university of global impact and local relevance” has brought continued opportunities to the IMRC Center to contribute to advancing research efforts all over campus. Recent projects supported by the IMRC Center include:

  • Assisting with the prototyping of MESAT1: Maine’s first small satellite, a project of UMaine’s WiSe-Net Lab, due to launch in December 2022
  • Collaborating with UMaine’s MIRTA Accelerator Program to assist in the development of the first SunRule, created by Mathematics and Art faculty and students, installed in October 2022 
  • Ongoing development of structures to assist Climate Change Institute graduate assistant Hanna Brooks in transferring Denali ice core samples for further study while minimizing sample deterioration.
  • Providing an acoustically-controlled environment for undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student Drew Browning’s audio monitoring research to collect data used for development of artificial intelligence-assisted 3D printer precision control capabilities.
Mechanical Engineering graduate student recording custom 3D printer in the IMRC Center Recording and Production Lab
Mechanical Engineering graduate student Drew Browning recording a custom-designed 3D printer in the IMRC Center Audio Recording and Production Lab

Cross Campus Collaborations

This semester, the IMRC Center welcomed students, faculty, staff, and guests back to connect with key interdisciplinary study resources here at UMaine:

IMRC Center staff are collaborating with graduate student Maraina Miles and the UMaine Climate Change Institute to create a new scale topographical model of Mount Katahdin using a layering method enabled by the Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machine available in our Fabrication Lab. A similar strategy has been applied to prototyping a model knight’s effigy for Matthew Blazek of History Live! North East, a non-profit educational organization. Photogrammetry of existing effigies create a blueprint for utilizing the CNC machine to take understanding from two dimensions to three.

The UMaine Arts Initiative awarded seed grants to Creative Research Collaborations, “innovative and interdisciplinary collaborations that seek to build a diverse, inclusive, sustainable and equitable
community of art researchers, practitioners, supporters and promoters.” Winners presented on their projects at a celebration in the IMRC Center and streamed over Zoom on October 19:

  • Technology and Tradition: Shaping Indigenous Collections for the Future, Gretchen Faulkner, Director, Hudson Museum
  • The Island Soundscape Project, N.B. Aldrich, Associate Professor of Art and Steve Norton, independent researcher
  • Art & Creative Ecologies Series, Susan Smith, Associate Research Professor of Art, Graduate Coordinator of Intermedia Programs, Department of Art and Justin Wolff, Chair, Department of Art, Professor of Art History
  • I Give You My Home: a site-specific opera and its historical background, Beth Wiemann, Director, Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center, Professor, Music Division
  • Blending Migratory Wildlife Science, Curatorial Practice, and Visual Arts for High School Educational Programming, Amber Roth, Assistant Professor of Forest Wildlife Management and George Kinghorn, Executive Director and Curator, Zillman Art Museum

The IMRC Center also hosted a New Media department screening of the film A Watershed Moment, a collaboration of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries and Maine Coast Heritage Trust and featuring contributions by the Island Soundscape Project. Associate Professor of New Media N.B. Aldrich organized a supporting panel discussion following the screening.

Tate Yoder, Media Specialist for the MCCF and director of the film, shared:
“As an alum of the New Media program at UMaine, it was an honor to be welcomed back to the IMRC to screen A Watershed Moment. Part of our goal with this project was to broadly share the important work being done to restore Maine rivers and empower fishermen to help steward and collaboratively manage river herring fisheries in our coastal rivers. These efforts are complex and require an ‘all hands on deck approach’ – often bringing together a collaborative of unlikely partners as these projects cross so many borders. So it was fitting to be able to share this film at the IMRC, a building and environment ripe for rich and meaningful engagement and further the important conversation of this work. We’re so thankful to have had this opportunity.”

Academic Support at IMRC Center

During FY22, the IMRC Center provided over 2000 hours of student credit hour support in IMRC Center classroom spaces

Direct academic support has increased by 17%, and interdisciplinary representation of majors supported has increased by 38% [from FY20]

IMRC Center Annual Report AY 21-22

Student in class using computers in the IMRC Center computer lab
Assistant Professor of Art Giles Timms, instructs undergraduate students in digital animation inside the IMRC 113 Computer Lab Classroom
Students gather in IMRC Center's Audio Recording and Production Lab
Duane Shimmel, Instructional Designer with the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, gathers and instructs students in the Art of Recording Audio inside the IMRC Audio Recording and Production Lab and Adaptive Presentation and Performance Environment
Kate Fogler presents inside the Adaptive Presentation and Performance Envrionment at IMRC Center. There is a large projection screen with an image of a hand pulling a needle through fabric. Green lighting from the ceiling of the room and students in chairs.
Intermedia MFA graduate student Kate Fogler presents inside the Allen 54′ and Sally 55′ Fernald Adaptive Presentation & Performance Environment at IMRC Center

New Collaborators

James LeBlanc PortraitJames LeBlanc, a current Intermedia MFA student, joins the IMRC Center operations team with a background in Audiovisual support. During the past semester, James has also excelled in providing advanced project and research support throughout the IMRC Center’s Prototyping, Electronics, and Fabrication Labs. James’ skills allow the IMRC Center to expand research and project support, event support, and service capacity for students, faculty, staff, and guests. Welcome, James!


Kathleen Toole PortraitKathleen Toole enters a new IMRC Center Administrative Coordinator position, splitting duties between further support for IMRC Center daily operations and development of the Experiential Programs Innovation Central (EPIC) initiative. This position further strengthens the IMRC Center’s integration with both EPIC and the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR). Welcome, Katie!


The IMRC Center Advisory Committee has expanded to include additional representatives, most notably from the graduate and undergraduate student populations, and has organized new subcommittees to further refine service experience, relationship management, and alignment with UMaine and UMS foundational values.

If your department, organization, community, or business would like to collaborate with the IMRC in 2023, contact us at

Student Spotlight

Lia Davido Before they're gone exhibition photo 2 - additional recipes in clear acrylic containers on a white pedestal. Lia Davido Before they're gone exhibition photo 1 - recipes in clear acrylic containers on a white pedestal.

Before They’re Gone (2022) Lia Davido Intermedia MFA student and IMRC Center staff member Lia’s installation features etched acrylic boxes with intricate illustrations of important family imagery. From her gallery label:

“Using her family as an example, Lia encourages people to have conversations with their loved ones about their lives and family histories. For her family, food is an important part of their story, and through the use of personalized boxes and recipe cards she asks people to consider what’s important to them and theirs.”

We encourage you to visit the IMRC Center through the end of 2022 to see and interact with Lia’s work.

Check out the IMRC Center Student BLOG for more of what’s possible in the IMRC Center Labs

Two masked students work side by side at a round table in front of an IMRC Center folding banner
Intermedia MFA Graduate Student Katarina Hoeger leads undergraduates through a research questionnaire in support of an audiovisual installation in one of the IMRC Center’s numerous communal workspaces

Looking Back

  • This fall, Student Entertainment debuted a concert series taking advantage of the unique features of the IMRC Center Adaptive Presentation / Performance Environment. On September 30, October 14, and November 4, the concerts featured campus talent in the bands Gunshot Glitter, Milk Street, Sizzle, Gnocchi, Midnight Breakfast, and Skyline Drive. The unique retractable exterior wall allowed the bands to have the full benefits of a professional stage while the audience gathered outside on the Stewart Commons lawn to enjoy the shows.
  • The English Department returned with another entry in their long-running New Writing Series, hosting events featuring “innovative, adventurous, and/or unduly neglected writing.” The series has hosted over two hundred readings since its inception in 1999; on November 3, New York-based short story author and photographer Giada Scodellaro read from her debut collection, Some of Them Will Carry Me, to an attentive full-house audience.
  • The Intermedia MFA Speaker Series continued this semester with appearances by notable interdisciplinary artists Dave McKenzie, Ashley Page, and Annea Lockwood. Hybrid presentations combining live audiences and Zoom streaming allowed participants from beyond campus to join together virtually.
  • IMFA Faculty were also featured in the ART Workers exhibition kicking off the semester, culminating in a gallery talk during which N.B. Aldrich, Arturo Camacho, Bethany Engstrom, Sheridan Kelley Adams, and Intermedia MFA Program Director Susan Smith discussed the pieces with students and visitors.
  • Most recently, the Intermedia MFA program recently joined the Studio Art and New Media programs to host their annual Open Studio Night to close the semester.

Looking Ahead

  • The Influential Art Film Series, developed as a collaboration between the Center and Student Entertainment, will debut during spring semester. Films will be rear-projected to be viewed outdoors from the Stewart Commons lawn. Begins January 26.
  • Keep a look out for the University of Maine Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center Exploration Series. These “field trip style” events are will take place throughout this coming spring, during which teams of students and faculty/staff mentors from other UMS campuses will visit the IMRC Center facility, learn about its services, and begin planning for new cross-campus collaborations and initiatives.
  • Anticipate a variety of Intermedia research featured throughout the IMRC Center during Maine Impact Week. April 10-14.
  • New Media and SCIS Student Showcase will share a wide variety of prototypes, artistic collaborations, and more to conclude the semester. April 28.
  • The Intermedia MFA Speaker Series continues with the following visiting artist appearances:
    • Maria Villanueva February 7
    • Chelsea Knight (virtual) February 21
    • Letitia Huckaby (virtual) February 28
    • Tectonic Industries March 28


The M. Perry Hunter, Jr. ’52 Fund for the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center, otherwise known as the Hunter Fund, is an endowment that has allowed the IMRC Center to be able to maintain and upgrade the student experience at the IMRC. Most recently, this gift was used to enhance safe access to the Audiovisual, Prototyping, Fabrication, and Electronics Labs by installing card access pads and security cameras that allow for students to reserve and use lab equipment independently and conveniently.

Mr. Hunter was an economics major at UMaine and was an industrious innovator, both while a student and throughout his career–most notably as an inventor of a successful method for tapping existing water mains. The bequest states: “In providing for this fund, Perry hoped to support undergraduate and graduate students who, like him, had an entrepreneurial spirit.”

We are grateful for the generosity of Mr. Hunter and his family’s dedication to providing support for student innovations that become tomorrow’s necessities.

Please contact for more information about how to support future-focused interdisciplinary studies with your own gift.

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Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center
5785 Stewart Commons Room 101
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5785

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