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Big Thinkers Archive

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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Orrett Douglas-Prawl

Orrett Douglas-Prawl ’15

When Orrett Douglas-Prawl received unsolicited emails from Google, and later from a Microsoft recruiter, asking him to interview for a job, he was stunned. One look at his resume, however, ...

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Jeffrey Bratberg

Jeffrey Bratberg

If you are interested in working in the trenches of public health, the University of Rhode Island is for you—and Jeffrey Bratberg is your guy. His passions lead him to ...

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Tom Cerio

Thomas Cerio ’76

Tom Cerio '76 knows how to keep us all entertained. He knows the programs we like to watch on television and on our digital devices, and he makes the deals ...


Paula Kleniewski

Paula Kleniewski ’15

Paula Kleniewski has been passionate about golf since she was seven years old. So when she became a doctor of physical therapy student at URI, she found a creative way ...


Genesis Santos

Genesis Santos ’17

URI sophomore Genesis Santos is an orientation leader, a URI 101 mentor, a peer educator at the Women’s Center, and an employee at Roosevelt Hall. But there's no doubt about ...


Tim Gray

Tim Gray ’89

Tim Gray picked up a World War II encyclopedia when he was six years old and couldn’t put it down. The battles, the soldiers, the generals—they all intrigued the little ...

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Matt Franco

Mat Franco ’10

For Mat Franco '10, magic has always been less about the tricks and more about fun and a connection with the audience. And whether the audience was a few friends gathered ...

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Carol Englander

Carol Englander

Carol Englander’s “aha moment” came 21 years ago, when she discovered a program at Oregon State University that engaged under-represented K-12 students in after-school, hands-on science activities. The middle-school teacher ...

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Ross Kauffman

Ross Kauffman ’89

Filmmaking wasn’t at all what alumnus Ross Kauffman '89 set out to do when he enrolled at the University of Rhode Island. But the former marketing major’s interest in film ...

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