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Big Thinkers Archive

George McDonough

George McDonough ’93

On vacations, George “Hopper” McDonough could never completely take it easy. He always found it hard to relax unless he was doing something active. A former member of the URI ...

Marie Jimenez

Marie Jimenez ’16

Marie Jimenez is aiming for a career as a paleontologist, and her aspirations received a big boost last summer when she served as an intern at Dinosaur National Monument in ...

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John Grant

John Grant M.S. ’86

No science is more earthy than geology, but its pursuit has taken John Grant to Mars. Not in person, of course. But as one of the scientists involved in the ...

Xinyuan Chen

Xinyuan Chen

We’ve all been through them as kids—painful needle sticks for multiple vaccinations. And even if we don’t remember them, our parents do. Now, Xinyuan Chen, an assistant professor of biomedical and ...


Kyle Nacci

Kyle Nacci ’16

"People think that changing the world is a ridiculous ambition," says Kyle Nacci, whose interests led him to found a campus group called Big Thinkers, inspired by URI's “Think Big. ...


Judy Van Wyk

Judy Van Wyk studies teenagers—but not their sleeping or computer habits. The University of Rhode Island sociology professor’s focus is on troubled boys who have lost their way. For years, ...

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Robert P. Girrier M.M.A. ’90

Rear Adm. Robert Girrier’s 30-year career with the United States Navy has involved commanding delicate operations, challenging deployments and military readiness activities throughout our world’s oceans. A surface warfare officer, ...


Sean Fay-Wolfe ’19

Sean Fay-Wolfe has a great fondness for Minecraft, the wildly popular video game that allows players to build their own world out of blocks and undertake an infinite variety of ...


Linda Green ’75, M.S. ’83

Linda Green became the first female soil scientist in the state of Pennsylvania after graduating from URI in the 1970s. But the backbreaking work of digging holes in the state’s ...

Catalina Martinez

Catalina Martinez ’97, M.S. ’00, M.M.A. ’02, M.B.A. ’15

Catalina Martinez has never backed away from learning something new. In fact, that practice has long been her method of operation -- against cultural traditions and the odds. Told as ...


Emma Lamy ’18 and Steven Leone ’18

Inspired by a popular social media series, the Humans of New York, Emma Lamy and Steven Leone launched their URI-centric riff on the phenomenon last year. “Why not here?” thought Emma while walking ...

Denise Coppa

Denise Coppa ’72, Ph.D. ‘02

Denise Coppa is committed to ensuring that underserved communities receive the health care they need. She supervises nurse practitioner students working at the Rhode Island Free Clinic, which serves medically ...

Phillip Rhyner

Phillip Rhyner ’07

When Phill Rhyner graduated from URI, he didn’t envision that he would soon invent a unique piece of dredging equipment or that he would appear on more than a dozen ...

Regina Sarpong

Regina Sarpong ’16

Regina Sarpong is taking giant strides toward achieving her career goal of creating movies for children at Pixar. She is combining classes in computer science, film, theatre and communication studies ...

Phillip Clark

Phillip Clark

Professor Phillip Clark has been touting an integrated approach to health care since the 1980s. It seems that now, everyone else is finally getting on board. Clark, director of the University’s ...


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