31st annual Rainville Awards honor student leaders, servants among URI community

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Recipients of the Team Excellence Award
Recipients of the Team Excellence Award from left, Maya Moran, Kevin Chenard, President David M. Dooley, Sandra Gradoia, Devon Binion and Emily Haz. URI photo by Mike Salerno.

KINGSTON, R.I.- April 11, 2019- The University of Rhode Island honored three undergraduate student leaders and one student organization at the 31st annual A. Robert Rainville Leadership Awards ceremony held recently on the Kingston Campus. The award is named in memory of A. Robert Rainville ’64, Vice President for Student Affairs 1980-86, who was a friend and mentor to students.

The Division of Student Affairs’ Office of Student Involvement and Center for Student Leadership Development presents the awards each year to students who have shown outstanding leadership and teamwork skills while maintaining strong academic performance. This year’s recipients are N’Deye Yacino Dabo of Pawtucket, R.I., Student Employee Award; Dakota Grenier of Coventry, R.I., Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award and Natalie Timas of Pawtucket, Student Leadership Award. The Team Excellence Award was received by members of D.R.I.V.E.

“The Rainville Awards is one of my favorite annual events because it is such a wonderful celebration of the accomplishments of our students,” said Dr. Kathy Collins, vice president for student affairs. “Congratulations and thank you for your hard work and dedication to enhancing the lives of all of the students at URI. And, thank you to our faculty and staff who made this night possible.”

N’Deye Yacino Dabo
N’Deye Yacino Dabo (right), Student Employee Award winner, with URI President David. M. Dooley. URI photo by Mike Salerno.

Below are the details about each recipient:

Student Employee Award winner: N’Deye Yacino Dabo ‘21

A double major in pharmacy and French with a minor in biology, N’Deye first joined Housing and Residential Life as a Resident Assistant in 2015. It was then that she began “an uninterrupted streak of 1,274 days of employment. That’s 1,274 days advancing the image of URI,” as one reference raved. As an RA, N’Deye is passionate about making sure each and every student is able to have their voice heard and receive the support they need. She makes it a priority to put her best foot forward in all her endeavors, including initiating campus-wide programs such as the Bubble Cup tournament. On top of her academic and work commitments, N’Deye is involved in a variety of organizations campus wide as a founding member of Alpha Zeta Omega, treasurer for M.U.S.I.C (Multicultural Unity and Student Involvement Council), as well as contributing to the Cape Verdean Student Association, the Student Alliance for the Welfare of Africa, the Alima International Dance Association, and Diversifying Individuals Via Education Rhode Island.

Dakota Grenier
Dakota Grenier (right), Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award winner, with URI President David M. Dooley. URI photo by Mike Salerno.

Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award winner: Dakota Grenier ‘20

A nursing major with minors in leadership studies and thanatology, Grenier detailed that her own involvement with service began out of gratitude. As an individual with the ability to serve, she has recognized how important it is to help others recognize their own abilities and to empower them to act in order to increase the potential positive impact of service. From her early service experiences with the American Cancer Society, the Tomorrow Fund and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Grenier grew into campus leadership roles with Rotaract, Love Your Melon and URI Service Corps. One recommendation stated, “her service, and her ability to inspire service in others is a rare and virtuous trait” and truly reflects Dakota’s impressive commitment to service – one that Grenier states “is the beginning of forever for me.”

Natalie Timas
Natalie Timas (right), Student Leadership Award winner, with URI President David M. Dooley. URI photo by Mike Salerno.

Student Leadership Award winner: Natalie Timas ‘19

Timas believes her experiences and involvement at URI have shaped her into the woman she is and the nurse she hopes to become. As a first-generation college student majoring in nursing, Timas receives her motivation from making her family proud and being successful academically. As a “big family person,” and with her big sister as her mentor, Timas was motivated to get involved at URI and find her sisterhood with P.I.N.K. (Powerful Independent Notoriously Knowledgeable) Women. PINK Women has helped her to find her true potential and be proud of who she is. Timas has used her voice as a Resident Advisor, Nursing Ambassador and Orientation Leader. Her nature as a “calm, approachable, friendly and mature” student leader helps her to support first-year students just starting their journey at URI. One recommender states, that “Natalie is a great leader because she is able to connect with students so that they feel heard and comfortable.” She goes on to say that Timas has helped many first-year minority students find a place at URI by sharing her story, knowledge of multicultural organizations and leading by example. Timas hopes to use her thirst for a fast paced environment, positive attitude and belief in teamwork in her career as a nurse.

Team Excellence Award winner: D.R.I.V.E. (Diversifying, Recruiting, Inspiring, Volunteering, Educating)

D.R.I.V.E is an organization where undergraduate students volunteer their time to better the URI community. The main purpose of D.R.I.V.E. is to diversify the URI community by providing opportunities for underrepresented students to experience the University and all it has to offer. The program not only represents URI but promotes higher education and what students can gain from attending college to high school, middle and elementary students. By promoting the value of higher education to students of every age, nationality, religion and sexual orientation, D.R.I.V.E. has a major impact on the URI community and the greater state of Rhode Island.

Winners of this year’s A. Robert Rainville Team Excellence award include D.R.I.V.E. team members: Maya Moran of Brockton, Mass., Kevin Chenard of Attleboro, Mass., Sandra Gradoia of Oxford, Conn., Devon Binion of Stratford, Conn. and Emily Haz of Rutland, Mass.

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.