URI honors student leadership excellence

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KINGSTON, R.I. – May 19, 2015 — The University of Rhode Island honored several of its undergraduate student leaders at the 28th annual A. Robert Rainville Leadership Awards ceremony earlier this spring.

The URI Office of Student Involvement presents the awards each year to students who have shown exemplary leadership and teamwork skills while maintaining strong academic standing.

This year’s recipients were Sarah Moffit of Wakefield, Student Leadership Award; Kathleen Costello of Cheshire, Conn., Employee Leadership Award; Monica Niebrzydowski of Naugatuck, Conn., and William Henry Law III of Charlestown, Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award; and the Student Organization Leadership Consultants, Team Excellence Award.

Below are details about each award recipient:

Sarah Moffitt, a recent graduate who double majored in global and environmental health studies and sociology, with a minor in political science, received the Student Leadership Award. Moffitt’s involvement at the University has been extensive and very diverse. For example, she has worked at the Information and Scheduling Office in the Memorial Union for three years, worked as a lab research assistant in the URI Department of Vector-Borne Disease, as an intern at the Student Event Advising Office, and as an orientation and team leader with the Office of New Student Programs. Yet she has also served as chair of the Student Entertainment Committee and founding member of the Kappa Delta Sorority. She traveled to the roof of the world in Nepal as part of a spring break trip focused on nonviolence and peace studies. Moffitt is far from your typical student, as evidenced by her decision to leave URI and join AmeriCorps, volunteering around the country for nearly an entire year. These are just a few examples of her willingness to work in the service of others, both at URI and around the world. As one of her references states, “She has proven herself to have the intellectual creativity, passion, and purpose to progress any organization or cause. It has been rewarding to work with a student who is focused on her education…while applying her knowledge to help make URI a more inclusive and rewarding college community.”

Employee Leadership Award Recipient

Kathleen Costello is a junior majoring in kinesiology. Since 2013 she has been a resident advisor in Browning Hall, a residence hall for first-year students. Costello is also involved with URI Emergency Medical Services, the Best Buddies program, and is a member of the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. As a resident advisor, Costello helps to create and maintain a comfortable, respectful, inclusive living environment that fosters academic, social, and personal development and success for students in their first year of college. An approachable and available mentor, Costello says she welcomes every student interaction and loves using her knowledge and experience as a role model for other students. Costello’s references say that she exemplifies the ideal of a growing, caring, successful young adult who has “been able to put herself in the shoes of others and help them realize their abilities and potential.”

Monica Niebrzydowski, a recent graduate who majored in kinesiology, received the Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award. Since she arrived at the University four years ago, she was an active participant and leader of URI’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter and a Human Services Civic Engagement Leader and Service Intern. Niebrzydowski also was an intern at The Miriam Hospital Center for Cardiac Fitness. In all of these positions and more, Niebrzydowski demonstrated the characteristics of a servant leader every day through her compassionate and graceful approach to living. One of her references for this award said that she “never before witnessed someone with such an undeniable ability to motivate a group of young people to do great things.” Often called ‘Momica’ by fellow peers, she is credited with creating a safe and welcoming environment for students to serve, learn, grow, and lead.

William Henry Law III, a recent graduate with a double major in biological sciences and Spanish, received the Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award. Through his years at URI, Law led the URI Students Actively Volunteering & Engaging in Service group for eight semesters, attended four alternative spring break trips, co-leading two of them while helping to train new leaders. He also completed two part-time AmeriCorps terms of service providing more than 1,250 hours of service in two years (only 750 were required for his terms). In his spare time, Law serves as an emergency medical services technician, driver, field-training officer, and corpsman for URI’s Emergency Medical Services and the Charlestown community rescue. Law’s references describe him as a “catalyst and leader,” “the total package,” and that “his charisma draws the attention of all around him, and his personal ethics and his passion for service to others sustain their support and loyalty.”

The Student Organization Leadership Consultants (SOLC) received the Team Leadership award. SOLC includes 40 students who are responsible for serving student groups on campus by organizing leadership retreats to help student groups reach their goals. This tightly knit group uses its knowledge of leadership theories and group development to facilitate and organize events for other groups. Through this, each member gains friends and peer mentors who are able to guide them through their own personal and leadership development. Motivated by the opportunity to help make a difference for others, the members of SOLC use their own desire to better themselves and those around them to improve the campus community and help different student organizations realize their potential.

Pictured above:

Student Leadership Award: URI President David M. Dooley, Sarah Moffit and Director of Student Involvement and Center for Student Leadership Development Bruce Hamilton pose for a photograph after Moffit received a leadership award.

Employee Leadership Award: URI President David M. Dooley, Kathleen Costello and Director of Student Involvement and Center for Student Leadership Development Bruce Hamilton pose for a photograph after Costello received a leadership award.

Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership Award: Students Monica Niebrzydowski, URI President David M. Dooley, William Henry Law III and Director of Student Involvement and Center for Student Leadership Development Bruce Hamilton pose for a photograph after the students received awards.

University of Rhode Island photos by Michael J. Nolfe.