KINGSTON, R.I. – May 8, 2007 – A desire to not let anyone down and a love of what she does helped University of Rhode Island senior Arianna Mouradjian excel in her multiple roles at the University.
As one of the captains of the URI varsity rowing team, Providence native Mouradjian has been rowing only for four years, having joined the team as a walk-on novice in her freshman year. Mouradjian, who is one of the team’s coxswains, has also rowed with the Narragansett Boat Club Masters women’s team.
“I was able to cox with the Masters my freshman and sophomore years,” said Mouradjian. “They are a very strong group of women and I gained a lot of valuable experience rowing with them.”
URI first-year head coach Shelagh Donohoe said she would miss Mouradjian’s leadership, confidence, and positive attitude the most.
“Arianna was great with my transition as a first-year coach,” said Donohoe. “She is the complete package. She is a great person, a great racer, and a great student. She has an extremely positive attitude and is always willing to give up a piece of herself for the team.”
In addition to rowing, Mouradjian, a wildlife and conservation biology major, has worked at the Coastal Institute as a secretarial assistant. Mouradjian also interned with a graduate student researching the nutritional requirements of migratory songbirds.
She is also an Earth Scout leader, helping teach natural history to a group of home-schooled children and their parents.
In addition to all of her extracurricular activities, Mouradjian has excelled in her academic course load, making the dean’s list six out of eight semesters. She will graduate cum laude this month.
“I truly enjoy my major and I like doing well,” said Mouradjian. “I am very close to many of the professors in my department, and if I didn’t do well I would feel as though I was letting them, and myself, down. It also helps that I am very passionate about the subjects of wildlife and conservation. It has been difficult balancing my work load with rowing, but school comes first.”
Mouradjian has made such an impact on her national resource professors Thomas Husband and David Abedon that they invited her, along with eight other students, to their annual expedition to Costa Rica. There they surveyed mammalian diversity on coffee plantations for four weeks, staying in the workers’ bunkhouses.
“We looked at the distribution of mammals on coffee plots in comparison to forest plots,” Mouradjian said. “Coffee farming is such a large industry in Central and South America and it consumes a significant amount of land. It is important for us to monitor the impacts human development is having on the native flora and fauna.”
After graduation, Mouradjian will travel to Indonesia with the United Kingdom-based group Operation Wallacea, a conservation and research organization. With the help of URI’s Alumni Association, which is partially funding the trip, Mouradjian will be taking jungle and cultural training courses, monitoring forest biodiversity including insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, taking diver training courses, surveying the coral reef, and looking at cross-island speciation of birds on the island surrounding Sulawesi.
Mouradjian may take a year off before attending graduate school in the fall of 2008. “I’m really going to miss my team and being part of such a strong group of women,” she said. “I’m not going to know what to do with my time now. I won’t have class and I won’t have rowing. After I return from Indonesia, I plan on volunteering abroad.”
Arianna Mouradjian, URI photo by Michael Salerno, photography