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### Exceptional Special Education Graduate, Sam Picard, Shines in High Incidence Disabilities

Sam Picard, hailing from Bangor, Maine, has been honored as the recipient of the 2024 Outstanding Graduate Student in Special Education (High Incidence Disabilities) Award. Delve into a Q&A session with Picard below.

In what ways has UMaine impacted your life and aided in your pursuit of goals?

Photo courtesy Sam Picard

My educational journey at UMaine has significantly enriched my comprehension of the special education realm. The knowledge I have acquired has seamlessly translated into practical applications within my special education career, benefiting both my students and the local community.

Has there been a pivotal moment at UMaine that has influenced or shaped your worldview? If so, please share.

Despite the virtual nature of my classes, I have had the privilege of collaborating with peers from diverse backgrounds working in similar fields across the state and nation. Hearing their distinct perspectives has been instrumental in enhancing my professional practice.

Have you had the opportunity to collaborate closely with a professor or mentor who has enhanced your UMaine experience? If so, please elaborate.

I am grateful for the unwavering guidance and support I have received from Sara Flanagan, my advisor and professor for multiple courses. Her responsiveness, willingness to address queries, and adaptability in tailoring the learning experience to suit my needs as an educator have been invaluable in both my academic growth and professional endeavors.

What advice would you offer to new graduate students to ensure a strong academic start?

I encourage incoming graduate students to proactively seek assistance, pose pertinent questions, and actively engage with coursework that aligns with their academic and professional aspirations to pave the way for success.

What motivated your choice of UMaine for your academic pursuits?

The opportunity to learn and collaborate with individuals actively involved at the state level, as well as those making a tangible impact within my local community, has been a compelling factor in my decision to choose UMaine.