URI students and organizations recognized for outstanding leadership

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KINGSTON, R.I. – May 9, 2007 – The University of Rhode Island recently celebrated the achievements of several students who have taken on leadership roles in the community while also maintaining their solid academic records.

A student dedicated to community service, a passionate resident assistant, and the Student Organization Leadership Consultants group have been named the University of Rhode Island’s 2007 A. Robert Rainville Leadership Award recipients.

For the past 18 years, URI’s Office of Student Involvement and Student Life has honored students for their efforts in the community. A competitive award, the Rainville Award is named in memory of A. Robert Rainville who was vice president for student affairs from 1980 to 1986. Individual winners received $200 and a plaque. Their names will also be inscribed on a plaque located in URI’s Memorial Union.

This year, more than 100 students and 22 student groups were nominated for the three award categories: the leadership award; the student employee award; and the team excellence award. This year’s winners are:

Student Leadership Award: Kaitlin Lambert is no stranger to involvement on campus. She dedicates her free time to political leadership roles within Greek life and the Student Senate and is a student assistant in the president’s office as well as a resident assistant.

The senior from Little Compton majors in Human Development and Family Studies with a certification in Early Childhood and minors in Leadership Studies and the Honors Program. As part of her program, she has been able to apply her leadership skills while student teaching and serving as a classroom assistant in various elementary schools throughout the state. While staying involved on and off-campus, she has maintained a 3.64 grade point average.

Perhaps her most memorable commitment to public service was through this year’s St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fundraiser Up ‘Til Dawn. Lambert served as the marketing chair for the fundraiser where she acted as the main coordinator of the event, serving as the liaison between St. Jude’s and the university and recruiting, training, and supervising the executive board.

“Personally, my experiences have shaped me into the woman, student, daughter, mentor, sister and friend that I am today,” Lambert explained. “To make a difference through leadership starts with caring for others, and making the best and most of each situation, while encouraging others to do the same.”

Student Employee Award: Being a resident assistant at one of the University of Rhode Island’s residence halls requires a great amount of dedication, something that Melissa Bargione has unselfishly given for the last six semesters. Bargione said she feels “a resident assistant is a tour guide, mentor, leader, program coordinator, family member, and confidante all wrapped in one. Since August 2004, she has enjoyed touching so many lives personally and appreciates just how much her residents have taught her.

Bargione, a fourth-year Pharmacy major from Sellersville, Penn., also works as a pharmacy intern at URI Health Services and still finds time to co-lead a church junior high youth group and coach a youth soccer team.

Despite her many responsibilities, she has maintained a 3.85 grade point average and has chosen to work on a Leadership Studies minor.

One of her Rainville evaluators considered Bargione’s humility her biggest strength noting “although Melissa is a phenomenal leader in every aspect, her modesty is immeasurable. As one of her staff members put it, ‘Melissa can do anything.’”

Team Excellence Award: There are close to 100 student organizations on the URI campus, all of which take leadership roles in the university. There is one group, however, that other organizations turn to for guidance and leadership – The Student Organization Leadership Consultants.

Their goal is to “promote and implement peer leadership through helping groups, organizations, and teams, effectively and efficiently achieve their desired goals.” They host overnight leadership retreats, provide team-building workshops, and conduct presentations at monthly president’s meetings for various organizations. The organization said their main motivation is the betterment of the URI community as a whole.

Team members include: From Rhode Island: Andrew Lonardo of Cranston, Bea Vonseckendorff of Narragansett, Yajaira Pons of West Warwick, Katie Dickinson of Woonsocket, Sara Biancuzzo of Bristol, Allendre McGovern of Tiverton, Jessie Haytaian of Westerly, and Matt Onorato of Warwick. Out of state students include: Josh Perlman of Framingham, Mass., Kelsey Klenk of Norton, Mass., Bob Stevens of East Orleans,Mass., and Jen Baker of Lynn, Mass., Ian Harney of Bolton, Conn. and Tatiana Gallego of Bergen County, N.J.

Pictured above

LEADERSHIP AWARD: URI President Robert Carothers stands with Rainville Leadership award winner Kaitlin Lambert from Little Compton.

STUDENT EMPLOYEE AWARD: URI President Robert Carothers stands with Rainville Leadership Award winner of the Student Employee Award, Melissa Bargione.

TEAM LEADERSHIP: URI President Robert Carothers joins the Student Organization Leadership Consultants group as they accept their Rainville Leadership Team Excellence Award.