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Big Thinkers Archive

Nixon Leger

Nixon Leger ’17

Many artists have muses, and painter Nixon Leger is no exception. But his muse—the plantain leaf—springs from the earth. It might seem like an odd choice, but for Leger, who grew up in ...

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Rob Maroni

Rob Maroni ’87

Most of us learn about the horrors of the Syrian war on the nightly news. Rob Maroni sees the despair firsthand on the faces of thousands of refugees living in ...

Annie DeGroot

Annie De Groot

African cloth can tell a story, and no one knows that better than Dr. Annie DeGroot, a world-famous URI research scientist whose nonprofit is helping prevent cervical cancer in the ...

Paige Dellerman

Paige Dellerman ’16

Student Paige Dellerman is bringing clean water to poor communities throughout the world, thanks to her bangle. She wears it with pride, and should. How often does a college student ...

Lynne Corry

Lynne Corry ’95

Lynne Corry credits the Talent Development Program for getting her through URI, and was inspired by the support she received at every step along her URI journey. “Everyone deserves a ...

Sara Nerone

Sara Stevens Nerone ’90 ’95

What’s the source of goodness? Kindness, selflessness and generosity all come to mind, as well as the name Sara Stevens Nerone. The URI graduate is founder of the Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund, ...

Ivy Burns

Ivy Burns ’16

Ivy Burns never imagined that she could become excited about seaweed, but after spending the last eight months studying the marine algae, she can’t get enough of it. “I loved ...

Jorge Elorza

Jorge Elorza ’98

Jorge Elorza did not get into URI on his first try. But rejection from the University's Talent Development Program motivated this future lawyer, law professor, housing court judge, and now mayor of ...

Rod Mather

Roderick Mather

Rod Mather is perhaps best known for his studies of shipwrecks around the world, including Revolutionary War ships in Narragansett Bay, the USS Monitor off the coast of Virginia, the ...

Niko Freeman

Keith Niko Freeman ’16

Junior Keith Niko Freeman wants members of the URI community to be more aware of Native American culture. As president of the Native American Student Organization (NASO), a group first ...

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Amy Battocletti

Amy Battocletti ’13

When Amy Battocletti learned as a young girl that wildlife populations were declining and species were becoming extinct, she felt a personal calling. “We have a responsibility to think about ...

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Joy Emery

Joy Emery

When most people think of patterns, repeating shapes come to mind. For Professor Emerita Joy Emery, patterns mean Butterick, Simplicity or McCall’s. Thanks to Emery, URI has the largest collection of paper ...

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Tayra Melendez

Tayra Melendez ’16

URI isn’t the only place where people know women’s basketball captain Tayra Melendez has got game. Last summer, the 20-year-old was the youngest member of the national basketball team of Puerto ...


Diane Pennica

Diane Pennica Ph.D. ’77

Diane Pennica, Ph.D. '77, has made a lot of discoveries in her 30 years in the biotechnology industry—discoveries that have helped to extend the lives of millions of people. You ...

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Annu Matthew

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

Visual artist Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, professor of photography and director of the URI Center for the Humanities, describes herself as “transcultural, living between cultures.” Born in England, raised in India, ...

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