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Fuel your passion for outreach

URI student standing next to electric car fueling station

Graduate student Patrick Cavanagh is an advocate for alternative transportation fuels and technologies that will reduce petroleum use in Rhode Island, and the URI Outreach Center is giving him plenty of opportunities to put his passions into action.

I am developing professional skills and relationships that are not only helping Rhode Island achieve petroleum independence, but that are also going to be invaluable in my job search. ~Pat Cavanagh

As a URI Energy Fellow, Pat is helping the Ocean State Clean Cities Coalition plan events and reach out to community members to achieve the state’s environmental goals.  It’s a project that is also helping him network with professionals in the alternative energy industry.

“Through the Energy Fellows program, I am developing professional skills and relationships that are not only helping Rhode Island achieve petroleum independence, but that are also going to be invaluable in my job search,” Pat said.

The Energy Fellows program provides students with valuable hands-on work experience—and a healthy stipend—participating in projects designed to improve energy efficiency, expand renewable energy, increase alternative fuel use, and reduce total energy use in the state. URI Energy Fellows have been enlisted by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and National Grid, the state’s primary electric utility, among many others.

The program is one of many unique Outreach Center opportunities for students to discover their passion and make a difference. If energy isn’t your bag, you could become a Master Composter and teach others how to reduce landfill waste, or help grow food for the hungry as a Master Gardener. Or maybe you love environmental education and would enjoy teaching children about water quality, wildlife habitats, worm composting and plant growth during Learning Landscape field trips in the Botanical Gardens on campus.

The Science and Engineering Fellows program provides opportunities for students from under-represented populations to work with faculty and staff on summer research and outreach projects. This year’s fellows studied coastal mangroves in Puerto Rico, made filters from clay for purifying water in needy villages in Guatemala, worked as counselors at the Outreach Center’s Eco-Exploration summer camps, and designed a robotic submarine that mimics the movements of a sea turtle’s flipper.

The Outreach Center, part of the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences, provides internships and opportunities to translate university-based research into information that benefits citizens, communities, businesses and government agencies. All you have to do is reach out and take the first step.

Pictured: Graduate student Patrick Cavanagh at URI’s electric car fueling station.

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