Donald Cunnigen and Yvette Harps-Logan, members of the URI Black Faculty Association, established the awards program in 1998 to recognize and honor African-American graduating seniors for their accomplishments at the University.
The awards ceremony was held April 1, 2013 in the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences. The keynote speaker was George R. Spivey, who serves as the equity and affirmative action officer for the town of Falmouth, Mass. Spivey also received the Tossie E. Taylor Jr. Community Spirit Award, which is awarded to an individual or group for outstanding service that represents the spirit of the New England minority community.
This year’s awards and their recipients are:
• William Gould Award for All-Around Outstanding Achievement: Trystan Del Tufo, a December 2012 nursing graduate from Exeter, R.I. During her time at URI, she participated in five clinical experiences at hospitals and other health centers throughout the state. Del Tufo worked as a resident assistant for two years at URI, as well as a tutor in the Talent Development program. Just after graduating, Del Tufo started working with children with developmental disabilities as a classroom behavior specialist at Bradley Hospital/The Bradley School.
• Arthur L. Hardge Award for All-Around Outstanding Community Service: Phyllis J. Dolcy, a senior biological sciences major from Johnston, R.I. Dolcy has worked as a certified surgical technologist at Roger Williams Medical Center for almost two years and previously worked as a certified nursing assistant at ReadyNurse Staffing Services. She has volunteered with the Providence Rescue Mission and the New Life Worship Center.
• Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Outstanding Leadership and Contribution to the University Community: Bisola B. Bruno, a senior chemical engineering major and chemistry minor from Pawtucket, R.I. Bruno has been involved in many endeavors on campus, including tutoring at the Academic Enhancement Center and working as an undergraduate research assistant in the chemical engineering department.
• Harvey Robert Turner Award for Outstanding Service to the University of Rhode Island Black Community: Komlan Aloysius Soe, a senior political science and sociology student from Narragansett, R.I. Before attending URI, Soe graduated from the Insaaniyya Secondary/Business School in West Africa and the Community College of Rhode Island. Soe has interned at the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island and for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s re-election campaign. Soe also volunteers as a research assistant with a professor at Johnson and Wales University.
• Sojourner Truth Award for Scholarly Persistence and Dedication: Annabell Tagoe, a nursing and Italian double-major from Providence, R.I. Tagoe has participated in clinical experiences in geriatrics at Kent Hospital and medical surgical nursing at the Roger Williams Health Center. She works as a companion and caregiver at Senior Helpers and is CPR certified.
• Noreen Coachman Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Older Student: Alethea Russell, a senior film/media major from Providence, R.I. Russell studied abroad in Belize for an advanced film/media class in January, held an internship filming special events for URI’s Talent Development program, and now works as an acquisition sales representative at Olan Mills Portrait Studios.
• Saint Clair Drake Award for Outstanding Scholarly Research: Ann Maame Araba Sam, a Pharm.D. and biological sciences student from East Providence, R.I. Sam has interned at CVS/pharmacy and URI Health Services. She has also gained experience in institutional, community, infectious disease, drug information, general medicine, and ambulatory care aspects of the pharmacy and medical fields at several locations throughout the state.
• Saint Elmo Brady Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science: Syrena C. Fernandes, a senior chemistry and forensic chemistry major and mathematics minor from East Providence, R.I. Fernandes has served as an undergraduate research assistant in URI’s chemistry department for the last two years, preparing solution samples and assessing explosives.
• Estes Benson Award for Academic Achievement: Anthony J. Monroe, a senior human development and family studies major from North Providence, R.I., and Amanda Norman, a December 2012 accounting graduate from Peace Dale, R.I. Monroe has worked at Turning the Corner Boys Group Home for the last seven years. He has an associate’s degree in social work (human services) from the Community College of Rhode Island. Norman has interned in the financial services and human resources departments at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston, as well as Gilbane in Providence.
The ceremony also honored this year’s Rhode Island Onyx Senior Honor Society inductees. Membership in the honor society is based on academic excellence, community service, and cultural pride. The new members are: Malika Ali, Joshua Allard, Bisola Bruno, Alexandria Butler, Oumie Ceesay, Majay Charley, Margarida Costa, Trevor Costa, Phyllis Dolcy, Sasha Dorzin, Nadia Drury, Joanna Elliott, Kyle Elliott, Evelyn Fahey, Syrena Fernandes, Kevon Ganga, Ariana Gray, Dylan Gregory, Samua Jean-Charles, Dionne Julius, Kimeh Kizekai, Amina Leigh, Lyndell Lima, Brendan Lukaniec, Ikenna Modebelu, Anthony Monroe, Leslie Montague, Stacy Monteiro Mendes, Maureen Muthoni, Jassie Nah, Fatou Ndiaye, Regent Nicholas, Amanda Norman, Adesola Ososanwo, Hunter Pitcher, Quentin Ross, Emily Rowe, Alethea Russell, Oluwafunsho Salako, Komlan Soe, Dionne Symonds, Mallory Stedman, John Suah, Annabell Tagoe, Rita Tavares-Burk, Raymond Taylor, and Mina Wolloh.
This press release was written by Danielle Sanda, an intern in URI’s Department of Marketing and Communications and a public relations major.
Pictured above: University of Rhode Island students who were inducted into the Rhode Island Onyx Senior Honor Society this year. Front row, from left to right: Leslie Montague, a nursing student from Providence, R.I.; Dionne Julius, a sociology major from Newport, R.I.; Sasha Dorzin, a Pharm.D. student from Queens Village, N.Y.; Michelle Chevalier, a psychology major from Providence, R.I.; Maureen Mutoni, a Pharm.D. student from Lowell, Mass.; Oluwafunsho Salako, a psychology major from Pawtucket, R.I.; Amina Leigh, a nursing student from Woonsocket, R.I.; Raymond Taylor, a human development and family studies major from Pawtucket, R.I. Back row, from left to right: Bisola B. Bruno, chemical engineering major from Pawtucket, R.I.; Komlan A. Soe, a sociology and political science student from Narragansett, R.I.; Anthony J. Monroe, a human development and family studies major from North Providence, R.I.; Annabell Tagoe, a nursing and Italian double-major from Providence, R.I.; Phyllis J. Dolcy, a biology student from Johnston, R.I.; Kimeh Kizekai, a nursing major from Pawtucket, R.I.; Majay Charley, an Africana studies and political science double-major from North Smithfield, R.I.; Ikenna Modebelu, a Pharm.D. student from Sharon, Mass.; Syrena C. Fernandes, a chemistry and forensic chemistry major from East Providence, R.I.; Ann Maame Araba Sam, a biological sciences and Pharm.D. student from East Providence, R.I.; Oumie Ceesay, a biological sciences major from Pawtucket, R.I.; Fatou A. Ndiaye, a biological sciences student from Pawtucket, R.I.; Alethea Russell, a film/media major from Providence, R.I.
Marketing & Communications photo by Michael Salerno Photography.