Aroostook Aspirations Initiative awards $4,000 + in scholarships to high school seniors in Aroostook County that plan to attend the University of Maine at Presque Isle or Thomas College and $2,000 to those who plan to attend the University of Maine at Fort Kent or Northern Maine Community College. AAI provides $1,000-$2,000 to scholars in their first year. UMPI and Thomas College provide matching funds of $1000 for scholars in their second year. If scholars attending Northern Maine Community College choose to transfer to Husson University-Northern Maine for their 3rd and 4th years, they will receive an additional $1,000 for each of those years. As the scholarship fund grows, we will expand the length and breadth of these scholarships.

The Gauvin Scholar Program

Gauvin Scholars attend and participate in virtual trainings designed to help them succeed both in college and in the workforce.

Scholar Training Weekends:
College Success Program: The College Success Program is designed to help the first-year scholars become familiar with the college environment, build self-confidence, and goal-oriented enthusiasm as they embark on a college education. This helps them discuss the challenges, excitement, opportunities, and stresses of college.

Career Readiness Program: Second-year scholars attend virtual sessions of the Career Readiness Program, giving them the opportunity to develop skills that advance professional opportunities through leadership, resume building, and interviewing. Aroostook County business and community leaders host components of the weekend and provide a networking opportunity for students.

Networking Opportunities: Gauvin scholars will have access to networking events and opportunities to meet and talk with local business professionals through virtual sessions to be organized by AAI.

In addition to the required programs, Gauvin Scholars also have access to:
Internships: Opportunity for scholars to test career paths, meet potential employers, and professionally network in areas of interest through the Internship Hub of Aroostook program
Mentoring: Scholars also receive programming that includes ongoing mentoring and professional/personal development activities.

In addition to helping young people realize their educational and career aspirations, Aroostook Aspirations Initiative will provide a new avenue for higher education institutions in Aroostook County to help prospective students overcome the deterrent of cost in obtaining a college degree. Area businesses will have a single county-wide resource in which to invest in limited resources that will reach across town and school district lines to support the future of the entire county. A better educated workforce will meet local employers' human resource needs, and economic and community development leaders will have new support in creating a region that invests in its future by investing in its youth.

Why we do what we do:

  • 192 students have been served since 2012
  • Gauvin Scholars have a 94% graduation rate, while the next competing college graduation rate is 54% (that's a difference of 40%!)
  • The earning differential between an individual with a high school education and an individual who has graduated with a bachelor's degree is $964,000 over a lifetime.
  • 93% of our Scholars are staying in the County to live and work after graduation
  • Return on investment: Each $1,000 contributed from a sponsor that is invested in a Gauvin Scholar returns back to the community $1,636.
  • A total of $284,000 is scholarship funds have been awarded since 1994.
  • The Gauvins serve as the only couple in Aroostook that is invested in stemming out migration of the young workforce
  • AAI and its programs function as a connection and resource between employers and colleges
  • AAI is lauded by the Maine Commissioner of Education as a model for Maine rural areas

Aroostook Aspirations Initiative sets the standard for bringing together Aroostook County's youth with educational aspirations, setting them on a course for contributing to the economic success of this very important region of our state.

Dana F. Connors

President Maine State Chamber of Commerce