Feature Friday: Stephanie Tillotson ’22

The Honors College’s Feature Friday series highlights an Honors student every Friday and shares a little bit about their experiences in Honors and at the University of Maine.

This week, our feature is on Stephanie Tillotson. Stephanie is a second-year Spanish major with a minor in legal studies. She has moved nine times, and therefore has a couple different areas she considers to be home. “I spent a lot of time in the upstate SC area, but I’ve lived in Cumberland Foreside, ME for the past 5 years!” said Stephanie.

Stephanie expressed how she is looking forward to completing her Honors thesis. She described, “I love so many things about the Honors College, but I am honestly really excited to be doing an Honors thesis. It is such a unique research opportunity for undergraduate students to be a part of and I am thrilled to be starting mine in the fall!”

Her favorite Honors Civilizations text is The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois. “DuBois’ writing style was compelling and his perspective on the South was bittersweet; he used beautiful imagery to describe a region I know and love, yet elegantly expressed the tragedies and hardships that African-Americans faced in the Reconstruction era South.

He wrote about inequality and injustice as an outsider from New England, but felt a cultural connection to other African-Americans in the South, and I was so intrigued by his writing,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie appreciates the personalized feeling that the UMaine campus community offers. She described, “After visiting several colleges in high school, the main thing that I love about UMaine is that it doesn’t feel like a college of nearly 10,000 students.

I’ve never felt like just one of many because there are so many opportunities to get involved—I joined the UMaine Marching Band my fall semester having no previous marching experience and they welcomed me with open arms. This fall, I am honored to have been chosen as the alto saxophone section leader for the 2021 UMaine Marching Band!”

She is currently working on a Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) project with Dr. Zachary Ludington. “We’re researching historical and contemporary patterns of language discrimination in the United States, as well as the legal, social, and ethical questions that surround this issue.

American society tends to ignore discrimination on the basis of language in many circumstances, from the asylum credible fear interview process to certain states enforcing English language exit exams on high school age, U.S. immigrants. I am passionate about language and I feel that this project has the potential to make an impact on both a large scale and a more self-reflective, individual level!”