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Aviation Safety Invention Scores Top FAA Prize for Student Engineers

June 30, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. – With the invention of an original and economical wind shear detection device, four Roger Williams University engineering students earned top honors in the national 2014 Federal Aviation Administration Design Competition for Universities.

Samantha Gildersleeve ’14, Stephanie Norris ’14, Benny Tortorici ’14, and Andrew Wilson ’14 received first place in the runway safety category for their creation of the Protection Against Wind Shear (PAWS) system, a device that detects and transmits low-level wind shear at general aviation airports. Wind shear – a rapid change in wind speed or direction traveling at an angle – poses a serious hazard to departing and arriving planes, and can result in accidents and occasional fatalities.

An open-ended challenge, the competition required students to identify a significant aviation-related issue and engineer a solution to the problem, consulting airport operators and industry experts on their designs. The national FAA design challenge is open to all undergraduates and graduate students in colleges and universities across the United States.

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A Field Guide to Local Seaweed

June 23, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. -- Algae is abundant in waters worldwide – and the number of seaweed species is vast and largely unknown. Associate Professor of Biology Brian Wysor has dedicated his career to researching the biodiversity of marine flora, and for the past 6 years has applied NSF grant funding to research what he calls the “extraordinarily rich” marine flora across the isthmus. A shorter-term biodiversity study in Rhode Island is projected to turn up between 200 and 300 seaweed species, Wysor says. Head down to the RWU waterfront, he says, and in 20 minutes you can find as many distinct species along the shoreline.

RWU partnered with Wysor, his research assistants Courtney Anderson ’14 and Ben Korry ’13, and alumna Katie Hurley ’12 – an assistant biologist at Smithers Viscient Environmental Testing and Regulatory Laboratory on Cape Code – to provide an illustrated field guide to some of the common species you might encounter on your next trip to the beach. Click here to view.

From Seaweed to Secret Passageways: Beyond the Pages of RWU Magazine Issue 10

June 24, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. -- Wanted more between the pages of RWU Magazine's spring issue? Us, too! Whether you're enjoying your issue of RWU poolside, lakeside or surfside, here is some extra content to sink your teeth into -- from seaweed recipes to misunderstood zombies. 

And, while you revel in the relaxation of summer break, we'll be hard at work creating the next issue. As always, we want to hear from you, our readers. Let us know how you like the current magazine and send us your story ideas at Happy reading!

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Slideshow: Friends Reunite at Alumni Weekend

June 16, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. – Friends and families reunited at the 4th Annual Alumni Weekend over golfing, lobster and a glimpse of the work of faculty and students taking place around Roger Williams University.

Highlights of the weekend, held on campus from June 6 to June 8, included the Ray Cordeiro Alumni Golf Classic, a casino night and lobster clambake, a Mount Hope Bay tour on the Rum Runner II, the SAAHP Women’s Leadership Network, and much more.

The annual Alumni Association awards ceremony honored the following distinguished alumni:

  • Contessa Brown ’06, ’13M, Young Alumni Achievement Award
  • Ashley Gingerella O’Shea ’ 07, Alumni Service Award
  • Peter Kilmartin ’88, ’98L, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award


Make Peace, Find Love and Don’t Settle – With Words of Advice, the Class of 2014 Graduates

May 17, 2014

Bristol, R.I. – The weather may have started wet, but the sun broke through and Commencement celebrations among more than 6,000 graduates and guests were hardly dampened, as the 1,035 members of the Roger Williams University Class of 2014 culminated their college careers on Saturday at the University’s annual Commencement exercises.

In addition to awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees to the candidates, RWU President Donald J. Farish conferred honorary doctorates to two special guests: the Honorable Lincoln D. Chafee, the 74th governor of the State of Rhode Island; and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

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For 169 New Law Graduates, 'Welcome to a Great Profession'

May 16, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I., May 16, 2014 – Under moody skies, with glimpses of sunshine alternating with a mid-ceremony rain squall, the Honorable Judith S. Kaye – retired Chief Judge for the State of New York – addressed the 169 graduates of the Class of 2014 during Commencement exercises Friday.

“Welcome to a great profession,” Judge Kaye told the assembled graduates, "one that has helped assure – over the past two-plus centuries – that this remains a land of justice and equal opportunity, dedicated to the values of our founders. Do you know that more than half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were lawyers, as were many of the delegates to the Philadelphia convention, leaders in the revolutionary movement, and drafters and signers of the Constitution? Throughout history, our most pressing social, economic and political issues have rested in the hands of lawyers and judges.”

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Reporting for Duty, RWU’s First Journalism Grads

May 16, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. – Whether riding along with a police officer to experience a typical patrol shift or grinding through the monotony of covering town meetings, Samantha D’Orsi ’14 has already executed the customary assignments that most journalism grads will encounter in their first days on the job. But original reporting, complete with producing her own video, while simultaneously performing as the on-camera talent before engaging in robust conversation with her audience via social media – how many rookie reporters fresh out of “J-School” can make that claim?

As one of the first journalism graduates from Roger Williams University, D’Orsi says the innovative training instilled from the new major will give her an edge over other job-seekers, whether they’re newbie grads or veteran newsroom reporters.

Seniors and Alumni Honored as Advocates for Diversity, Inclusion

May 15, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I. – With smiles on their faces beaming as bright as the sun shining through the Global Heritage Hall atrium, student leaders who have dedicated their pursuits to promoting inclusivity and social justice across the campus community were honored this morning for their unrelenting advocacy.

In a poignant ceremony that united seniors, alumni, administrators and staff to celebrate the accomplishments of both the graduating students and departing Associate Dean Ande Diaz – who for seven years has served as director of the Intercultural Center – Vice President of Student Affairs John King presented stoles to 22 seniors who were recognized for their commitment to intercultural learning, collaborative spirit and ethics of campus inclusivity.

For Student Investment Fund Managers, National Champions Times Two

April 10, 2014

BRISTOL, R.I.  – If these 21 finance students from Roger Williams University were college basketball players instead of student investment fund managers, you might call their success a Cinderella story.

With a 36.17 percent return on the investments managed during calendar year 2013 (and a risk-adjusted “alpha” of 11.86 percent), the student fund managers from the Center for Advanced Financial Education (CAFE) at the University’s Mario J. Gabelli School of Business became national champions not once, but twice, last month – March Madness, indeed!

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A Dream in Full Bloom

April 7, 2014

NEW YORK, N.Y. – It was a chance discovery that led Vivien Sin ’06 to pursue a degree in architecture. An artist since childhood, she had her sights set on visual arts until School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation Dean Stephen White discovered Sin’s natural talent as she sat in a corner of his classroom, hoping not to be noticed.

Sin, who had only recently moved to the U.S. and spoke little English, admits she didn’t understand the assignment and was terrified to be called on. It was then that White noticed her sketches.

“I was doing diagramming without knowing it,” Sin says. “Steve saw it and told me I was already at a second-year level and needed to go to architecture school. It changed my life. I was just a kid trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and he took me in. If not for him, I wouldn’t be an architect right now.”