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Big Thinkers Archive

Bob Ballard

Robert Ballard Ph.D. ’72

If you spent much time watching television in the last few weeks, it would have been difficult to avoid seeing marine explorer and URI Oceanography Professor Robert Ballard. The man best ...

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Matthew Quainoo

Matthew Quainoo ’15

Matt Quainoo is used to speaking in front of a crowd. In fact, his congregation has been growing for two years now, as he has helped create and cultivate a ...

Emily Thomesen

Emily Thomesen ’15

URI swimming coach Mick Westcott made it easy for Emily Thomesen to decide where she would go to college. “When I was being recruited, he said academics come before athletics, ...

Ahmed Fadl

Ahmed Fadl ’05,’10

Ahmed Fadl has a big mission at NASA—and a critical role in ensuring public safety during risky rocket launch operations. He recently garnered one of NASA’s highest awards for spotting ...


Mindy LevineN

Mindy Levine

In Mindy Levine’s world, chemical molecules are talkative little beings, and she is trying to decipher how they communicate with each other when they are not attached. It’s research that ...

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Olivia Ahern

Olivia Ahern ’16

Olivia Ahern is working toward a career as a legislative aide, translating scientific research into policies to protect the oceans and environment. Her preparation couldn't be better. She had already ...

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Thom Guertin

Thom Guertin ’92

Technology is your friend, especially when it comes to providing better government services. That’s the word from Thom Guertin, the state’s first Chief Digital Officer, a 45-year-old computer whiz who’s ...

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Dennis Hilliard

Dennis Hilliard, M.S. ’80

Dennis Hilliard could have kept plenty busy during the three decades of his career focusing only on examining crime scene evidence for Rhode Island’s police departments and the state Fire ...

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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 ...

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