University of Rhode Island honors students at 18th annual Black Scholar Awards

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KINGSTON, R.I.– May 11, 2015– Ten University of Rhode Island students were honored for their achievements at the University’s 18th annual Black Scholar Awards.


The Black Scholar Awards were established in 1998 by Donald Cunnigen, professor of sociology and anthropology at URI, to award African-American students recognition for their outstanding achievements at URI and in the community.


This year, Christopher Hunter, professor of civil and environmental engineering, presented ten seniors with awards at the event in the Ryan Auditorium at the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences on April 6.


Here is the list of recipients:


Gianelle Alba, of Providence, a senior studying sociology, African American studies, and gender and women studies, was the recipient of the Arthur L. Hardge Award for All-Around Outstanding Community Service. The Hardge Award is presented to a senior who provides service to the Black community outside of the University.


Troy Crawford, of North Kingstown, a senior studying physics and Kimberly DeLande, also a senior of East Providence studying public relations and journalism were both the recipient of the Estes Benson Award for Academic Achievement. The Benson Award is presented to a male and female student with the highest academic grade point average among Black seniors. Both were also inducted in the Rhode Island Onyx Senior Honor Society.


Isaura Dos Santos, of Pawtucket, a senior majoring in communication studies, and political science with a minor in leadership studies, was inducted into the Rhode Island Onyx Honor Society and was also the recipient of the William Gould Award for All-Around Outstanding Achievement. The Gould Award is presented to a senior in recognition of all-around outstanding achievement in the areas of organizational leadership, peer relationships, faculty-student relationships, general service, and academic performance.


Orrett Douglas-Prawl, of Stamford, Conn., a senior studying in computer engineering, was an inductee of the Rhode Island Onyx Senior Honor Society and was also the recipient of the Saint Elmo Brady Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science. The Brady Award is presented to a senior with high achievements in sciences among Black students.


Amandine Gatali, of Kigali, Rwanda, a senior majoring in civil engineering and Spanish, was the recipient of the Harvey Robert Turner Award for Outstanding Leadership and Contribution to the University Community. Harvey Robert Turney was the first Black graduate of the University in 1914. The Turner award is presented to a senior in recognition of contribution made to the Black community at the University.


Sydney Lewis, of Beltsville, Maryland, a senior studying the human development and family studies program, was the recipient of the Althea Gibson Scholar-Athlete Award. The Gibson Award is given to a female senior athlete in recognition for their performance in sports and the best qualities of the scholar-athlete.


Kirby Nunez, of East Greenwich, a senior majoring in the fine arts program, was the recipient of the David Edmonds Award for Outstanding Artistic and Creative Expression. The Edmonds award is presented to students who have demonstrated excellence, originality, and creativity in the arts. He was also inducted into the Rhode Island Onyx Senior Honor Society.


Lydia Omoaregba, of Pawtucket, a senior studying the political science program with minors in history and leadership studies, was the recipient of the Sojourner Truth Award for Scholarly Persistence and Dedication. The Truth Award is presented to a senior in recognition of success despite financial, physical and/or personal problems that would ordinarily hinder progress.


Matthew Quainoo, of North Kingstown, a senior majoring in political science and African American studies, was inducted into the Rhode Island Onyx Honor Society and was also the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Outstanding Leadership and Contribution to the University Community. The King Award is presented to a senior for contribution in areas of organizational leadership, volunteer services, and general service at the University. Quainoo is also the 2015 undergraduate student commencement speaker.


Others inducted into the 2015 Rhode Island Onyx Senior Honor Society were:


Misty Abass, Victoria Afolayan, Jasmine Akinsulire, Janelle Amoako, Dana Andrade, Jasmyn Beatty, Joanne Charles, Tia Cromwell, Audrey Eloius, Kody Fraser, Mirien Hall, Chris Haze, Daniel Hill, Stephanie Howie, Gemima Jacinth, Brandy Jones, Bintou Marong, Danielle McCalla, Ikenna Modebelu, Regina Monterio, Maureen Muthoni, Ann Nampomba, Josiane Octavius, Sarah Ogundare, Ojiugo Omeoga, Magdalie Prevost, Jasmine Souza, Dionne Symonds, Krystal White, Juan Wilson.


This release was written by, Rachel Smith, a graduate assistant for the Marketing and Communications Department.


Pictured above

Black Scholar Award Recipients and 2015 Rhode Island Onyx Honor Society inductees at this years Black Scholars Awards events on April 6. Students seated left to right: Sydney Lewis, Bintou Marong, Mirien Hall, Gianelle Alba, Orrett Douglas-Prawl. Students standing left to right: Amandine Gatali, Janelle Amoako, Kimberly DeLande, Kirby Nunez, Stephen Akinbo, Matthew Quainoo. Photo by Michael Salerno.