UMFK Bengal Executives

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Photo of the four students - Daniel Franz, Anna Mclaughlin, Alexis Violette, and Georgia Burton - selected for the Bengal Executives program.
UMFK Bengal Executives left to right: Daniel Franz, Anna Mclaughlin, Alexis Violette, and Georgia Burton.

The University of Maine at Fort Kent has recently launched the Bengal Executives initiative, designed to help students direct their futures through experiential learning opportunities such as micro internships with employer partners, pre-professional trainings, career exposure, student support and leadership, and network development.

The program is funded through the University of Maine System TRANSFORMS Student Success and Retention Initiative — Pathways to Careers and the Maine Recovery & Jobs Plan.

According to Tammy Delisle, the Career Services Coordinator at UMFK, “Building this program has been so much fun, and I am very passionate about it. These students are amazing and one hundred percent invested.”

Participating in the Bengal Executives program is a competitive process. The first four Bengal Executives — Daniel Franz, Anna Mclaughlin, Georgia Burton, and Alexis Violette — were selected from a group who applied and interviewed for their positions.

Alexis Violette is a Behavioral Science major with a minor in Criminal Justice and is slated to graduate in 2025. She has been able to participate in and be a part of the Momentum Aroostook conference, which allowed her to network with many business owners and company organizations across the county. She was also able to work with Fish River Rural Health on a survey of the local community.

“The Bengal Executives program has enhanced my knowledge in professionalism while stepping outside of my comfort zone and has allowed me to meet new people,” said Violette, “Since starting with the Bengal Executives program, I have both grown my resume and expanded my skills.”

Daniel Franz, an international student from Germany, has enjoyed the additional exposure to marketing professionals that the program has provided. He has worked with the Fort Kent Outdoor Center and the United States Biathlon Association to develop a promotional video to promote U.S. Biathlon National Championships and the inaugural U.S. Biathlon Collegiate National Championships that will take place in Fort Kent March 21-24.

“I would say the biggest enhancement to my education that the Bengal Executives program has given me is exposure to leadership and teamwork,” said Franz, “In working closely with the U.S. Biathlon Association marketing team, I have had a deeper look into the world of marketing and how things are being approached. This is huge, and I’m so proud to be part of it.”

As to the future of the program, funding has been secured for three years, but organizers are hopeful.

“I have been working with a UMS steering committee and we will be working on gathering assessment data to highlight the impact of the project,” Delisle said.

Currently, the four current Bengal Executives have planned and are conducting a Career Boot Camp for eight participating students. From this group, four more executives will be selected.

“This program helped me understand how the world works after college,” said Franz, “It’s like a preview for the work ahead.”

For more information about the University of Maine at Fort Kent, please visit the UMFK website.