Sierra Ventura of Belfast has been selected as valedictorian of the Class of 2014 of the University of Maine, and will receive her degree at the university's 212th Commencement in Harold Alfond Sports Arena in Bangor on May 10. Jennifer Chalmers, of Foxborough, Massachusetts, was selected salutatorian.

"Sierra and Jenn personify the best of the University of Maine undergraduate experience in their academic excellence, community engagement, and dedication to research and scholarship," says UMaine President Paul Ferguson.

Ventura will receive a bachelor's degree in Music Education. She was active in the UMaine chapter of the National Association of Music Education, including two years as treasurer, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She served as assistant conductor of the University of Maine Singers and of Euphony, an Orono-based chamber choir, both in 2013-14. The previous year, she was assistant accompanist of the Collegiate Chorale. She was a member of other musical ensembles in the UMaine School of Performing Arts, including Opera Workshop, Concert Band and Athena Consort, and she worked on technical and events crews. Since 2009, she has privately taught 35 students in piano, voice, flute, clarinet and saxophone. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in music education at University of Maine.

Ventura says, "UMaine...provided me the opportunity to connect with many veteran teachers and other professionals in my field throughout my undergraduate career, [and gave] me tools to become a better private music teacher for my students. During my undergraduate career, I was also blessed to have met my fiancé during my time in University Singers."