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A First for RWU, Ashley Barton ’15 Honored as Newman Civic Fellow

April 16, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – For her advocacy work to free imprisoned scholars around the world, graduating senior Ashley Barton has been honored as a 2015 Newman Civic Fellow, a prestigious award recognizing a select group of student leaders who create lasting change in communities throughout the country and around the globe.

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From Hello to Goodbye: Yusuf Richie Afifi ’15

May 4, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – Recognized across campus for years as a welcoming mentor helping new students acclimate to campus, Yusuf Richie Afifi will now salute his fellow graduating seniors with a fond farewell as student speaker during Commencement exercises on May 16.

A biology and chemistry major from Yorktown Heights, N.Y., Afifi – who hopes to attend medical school after graduation – was selected as the student commencement speaker after several rounds of auditions. When he wasn’t elbows-deep in experiments in the chemistry lab, Afifi has worked behind the scenes to create many successful student events as member of the Inter-Class Council (where he worked his way up from class officer to executive council), helped hand-craft the University’s award-winning float for the Bristol Fourth of July Parade, and thrived on the rugby field among teammates he calls “a brotherhood like no other.”

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President's Report: Shining a Light on University's Past, Future

April 15, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. -- When most folks think of a searchlight, those immense, unwieldy apparatus that project unmistakable beams of light, often dancing across the nighttime sky. Whether via a traditional carbon arc lamp or powerful Xenon bulbs, searchlights start with a high-intensity source of energy, collected in a parabola-shaped reflector and channeled into a common source -- that powerful beam of light. In many ways, our campus community is a reflective surface in its own right, collecting the energy and lumosity of students, alumni, faculty, staff and partners, returning it to a common source -- Roger Williams University -- and projecting a powerful beam of knowledge, expertise and talent beyond our campus, called upon to solve problems and to serve society. 

Hawkward Takes the PPAC Stage on Saturday as 'Special Guest' Performers for Jay Leno

March 18, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – When Ali Isham ’13, Perry Cyr ’13 and Katie Marino ’13 formed the a cappella group Hawkward in 2010, the singers never imagined the group would perform for a crowd of 3,000 at the Providence Performing Arts Center.

Yet this weekend -- on Saturday, March 21, at approximately 7:30 p.m. -- Hawkward, now 20 members strong, will perform front and center for some of Rhode Island’s biggest champions for the arts at PPAC’s Annual Gala fundraiser as the opening act for late-night television show host and stand-up comedian Jay Leno.

An avid fan of a cappella, Leno ultimately selected Hawkward as the “special guest” performers after conducting a search for a local group that began last fall. Five other collegiate, regional and semi-professional groups were considered for the opening role, but Hawkward emerged as the first choice early in the process.

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CEED Faculty Member a Guru for Aspiring and Veteran Shellfish Farmers

March 11, 2015

Bristol, R.I. -- On Tuesday, The Providence Journal profiled faculty member Dale Leavitt of the University's Center for Economic and Environmental Development for his long-term success in teaching shellfish farmers how to create successful commercial operations growing oysters, quahogs, scallops and mussels via his Applied Shellfish Farming course held each spring on the RWU campus.

The front-page feature shares a brief history of Rhode Island’s oyster industry, summarizes Leavitt’s research contributions and paints a picture of his role as an educator. Students interviewed for the article describe him as a wealth of knowledge as well as a mentor and friend. Due in part to Leavitt's guidance, the commercial oyster farming industry in Rhode Island has grown from 10 farms in 1998 to 52 farms in 2013.

Click here to read the full profile of Leavitt on The Providence Journal website, or click here for a PDF version of the story.

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The 13th Amendment’s Legacy: Leonard Pitts Jr. to Lead March 23 Panel on Race

March 11, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – Two and a half years after a visit to Roger Williams University in which he characterized race as 
“the single dumbest idea in all of history,” Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Leonard Pitts Jr. will return to the University on Monday, March 23, to lead a panel discussion titled “The Modern Legacy of the 13th Amendment and Race Relations in the U.S.”

As part of the President’s Distinguished Speakers Series, the acclaimed Miami Herald columnist – who has worked for nearly four decades as a writer, professor, radio producer and lecturer – will join a panel of experts and commentators from the University and beyond in discussing the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in America, and its impact over the 150 years since its passage.

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In the Name of Autism Awareness... On Your Mark, Get Set, Decorate!

March 27, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. – Get your aprons ready, folks! The 5th Annual Cake Off, hosted by the Roger Williams University Inter-Class Council, is only weeks away.

With sheet cakes, basic decorating supplies and 30 minutes on the clock, as many as 50 teams will compete on Saturday, April 11, in the annual cake sculpture competition. The event is part of a fundraising and awareness campaign in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month.

RWU students, faculty, staff and members of the local community are invited to participate in the competition, which allows teams of three to six members to compete head-to-head for a variety of awards, including “Most Spirited,” in which teams can wear matching costumes, and “Best Theme Design,” in which teams are encouraged to create a cake that reflects the puzzle piece symbol often used to signify autism awareness. Teams will also have the opportunity to capture honors based on the creativity and design of their cakes.

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Marine Biology Faculty from RWU among 2015 STAC Grant Awardees

February 27, 2015

Bristol, R.I. -- On Feb. 19, the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) announced the 2015 Rhode Island Research Alliance Collaborative Research Grants, in which $814,042 was awarded to six multi-disciplinary teams to fund new marine biology research projects. Roger Williams University faculty members Roxanna Smolowitz, Dale Leavitt and David Taylor were among the awardees and will collaborate on two of the six funded projects.

Roxanna Smolowitz, a visiting assistant professor of biology who specializes in aquatic veterinary science, will work with a team of scientists to understand the relationship between physical and chemical changes in the ocean and various health issues affecting coastal fish and shellfish of commercial interest.

Smolowitz’s team will include Kathleen Castro and Marta Gomez-Chiarri from the University of Rhode Island and Lewis Rothstein from URI's Graduate School of Oceanography. The grant totaled $139,952.

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New Research Shows Latino Households Face Challenges in Homebuyer Market

February 27, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I., – The Latino Policy Institute and HousingWorks RI – two policy groups at Roger Williams University – released an infographic today that shows the challenges facing Latino homeowners and some of the conditions preventing Rhode Island’s Latino renters from entering the homebuyer market.

The analysis done by HWRI reviews median renter household incomes and single-family home prices from 2007 to 2013. During that time, the income needed to afford the median priced single-family home outpaced the household incomes of both Latino and non-Latino renters. However, the median renter household income for Latinos declined 16 percent from 2007 to 2013 while the median renter household income for non-Latinos remained the same.

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Her Journey from Student to Writer: A Few Words with Alumna Maria Flook

February 24, 2015

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in “Connections @ The RWU Learning Commons,” the University Library’s e-newsletter. Author Abby DeVeuve, a “Connections” intern, interviewed alumna Maria Flook – a graduate of the creative writing program and author of several novels, nonfiction books, and collections of poetry and short stories – prior to Flook’s visit to RWU on Tuesday, February 24, as guest lecturer in the Talking in the Library Series.

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