2019 URI Research and Scholarship Photo Contest winners announced

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The Endless Bond Between Mother and Child
The Endless Bond Between Mother and Child by Matthew Palasciano

Kingston, R.I. – May 1, 2019 — The University of Rhode Island has named the winners of its second annual Research and Scholarship Photo Contest, which drew more than 120 entries that highlight the breadth and depth of the work URI students, faculty, and staff are doing around the world.

Entries included photographs, architectural renderings, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images, and other microscopic images. The images showcased a variety of research and scholarship subjects, from cancer cells to the Northern Lights, and from Cuban street musicians to Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii.

“This contest once again shows the global reach and talent of the URI community. The research and scholarship depicted in these powerful images is diverse in topic and approach,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “The photos offer a glimpse into the kind of work that our students, faculty, and staff are doing here in Rhode Island and around the world.”

The contest was sponsored by URI’s three magazines, the University of Rhode Island Magazine, 41ºN, and Momentum: Research and Innovation.

“It was an honor to review the contest submissions again this year. As a URI alumnus and a current member of the URI Alumni Association Executive Board, I am impressed by the variety and quality of the student, staff, and faculty work represented in this contest,” said John J. Palumbo, one of the contest’s judges, a 1976 graduate of URI and publisher of Rhode Island Monthly magazine.

The other judges were Krisanne Murray, a 1995 graduate of URI and owner of Wakefield’s Designroom, a graphic design, photography, and web services firm; Samuel Morrissey, a 2011 graduate of URI and co-owner of Endeavor Studios, a photography and videography firm; Kim Robertson, assistant director of URI’s Department of Publications and Creative Services, and Nora Lewis, URI photographer.

The winning images will be published in the URI magazines. The winners are:

First Place: geological oceanography undergraduate student Matthew Palasciano ’20 of Thomaston, Connecticut, for “The Endless Bond Between Mother and Child,” a photo of a young macaque clinging to its mother at the local watering hole in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, where Palasciano was studying biodiversity, hydrology, and water resource management. He and two other students studied deforestation and illegal logging to understand the destruction it imposes on wildlife and its habitat. Palasciano plans to pursue a master’s degree in coastal geology and business administration. He has his sights set on working in cultural resource management and as a professional shark diver in the Bahamas.

All the Water Returns to Hall by Yeqiao Wang

Second Place: Professor of Natural Resources Science Yeqiao Wang, for “All the Water Returns to Hall.”

Wang is leading and engaging more than three hundred scholars and practitioners from URI and around the world to develop a multi-volume book series entitled The Handbook of Natural Resources. This photo was taken during one of his field trips for the series. The photo shows a rural village home in southern China that is designed to collect rainwater from all directions through a rectangular opening in its sloped roof. The water is stored in a stone cellar underneath the central hall. This photograph showcases the wisdom of a sustainable rural routine presented by this hundred-year-old eco-friendly house.

Raining Sparks
Raining Sparks by Laird French

Third Place: undergraduate marketing major and fine arts minor Laird French ’21 of Kingston, Rhode Island, for “Raining Sparks.” This long-exposure photograph of burning steel wool being spun on a rope was taken using an 8-second shutter speed as part of a project for Photography 1 (ART 214). French plans to move to Hawaii and become a professional photographer/videographer after graduation.

Three honorable mentions:

Graduate student Stephen Brenner, M.S. ’18 of Buffalo, New York, for “Yellow Warbler.” This photograph, taken in Manitoba, Canada, depicts research with the McWilliams Lab in Biological and Environmental Sciences monitoring the demographics, breeding success, and growth rates of long-distance migratory birds at the far northern reaches of their range in shifting habitats and climate.

Graduate student Riley Kirk, Ph.D. ’23 of Charlestown, Rhode Island, for “Fungi Guttation,” which shows a frost bolete mushroom that is experiencing a rapid growth phase. The yellow droplets on the pores are not dew, but the result of a process known as guttation: when a mushroom exudes fluid during high metabolic times. After this photo was taken in the Great Swamp Management Area in West Kingston, Rhode Island, the mushroom was collected and brought back to the laboratory for extraction and isolation experiments. Kirk is pursuing a doctoral degree in natural product chemistry.

Assistant Professor of Journalism Jason Jaacks for “Reef Manta,” which he shot while free diving in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. The reef manta was cruising through a cloud of plankton. Jaacks, originally from Denver, Colorado, was working on a short film about sustainable fisheries practices in Indonesia, as part of a multi-year visual study of the biodiversity of the Coral Triangle region of the south Pacific.