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Big Thinkers Archive

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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Vinka Craver

Vinka Oyanedel-Craver

Engineering Professor Vinka Oyanedel-Craver dreams of a world where everyone can enjoy a glass of safe, clean water. Turning that dream into a reality will take pioneering research like that ...

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Laureen Breene

Lauren Breene ’17

In an age of genetically modified organisms, family farming is enjoying a resurgence, and Lauren Breene’s big idea is to make it even more popular. She fell in love with her ...

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Matt Gusto

Matt Gusto ’14

A native of Bath, Maine, Matt Gusto has always had his eye on the sea. According to this former boat captain, lobsterman, government fisheries observer—and 2014 “Blue MBA” grad, the ...

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Judy Beckman

Judy Beckman

Instead of starting the school year at URI as she's done since 1992, this fall, Professor Judy Beckman is in Washington, D.C. where she recently began a prestigious one-year fellowship ...

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Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown ’15

Patrick Brown always wanted to be an astronaut. He may never make it to space in person, but he is helping develop a technology that just may take humans to ...

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Leslie Smith

Leslie Smith ’11

Leslie Smith grew up fascinated by Ranger Rick and Bill Nye the Science Guy. As she spent her childhood summers playing in Chesapeake Bay, she learned the importance of being ...

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Assistant Professor Sheng Lu

Sheng Lu

The clothing industry goes way beyond fiber, yarn, and fabric, says assistant professor Sheng Lu, of URI’s department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design.  An expert in the global textile industry ...

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Keith Brown

Keith Brown ’96

Keith Brown started making movies with his parents’ Super 8 camera when he was just a boy. He went on to become an award-winning filmmaker, but he never forgot the ...

Jonathan Burgess

Jonathan Burgess ’06

Jonathan Burgess ’06 was recruited by a landscape architecture firm directly from his undergraduate studio in Rodman Hall. It was an auspicious start to a career that now has him ...

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