SEARCH FOR A CURE: IT'S PERSONAL Search for a Cure: It's Personal At the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, finding a cure for Alzheimer's is a quest for mind and heart. SEARCH FOR A CURE: IT'S PERSONAL TAKING INSPIRATION FROM HIS PAST Taking Inspiration From the Past A family's sacrifice helps Pharm.D. student Andy Chen '18 find his way to success. TAKING INSPIRATION FROM HIS PAST A first-generation college student, Andy Chen, Pharm.D. ’18 believes pharmacy is a fascinating profession because it is constantly evolving and deals with many types of medications that treat, mitigate, and prevent health issues. “I hope to be a clinical pharmacist specializing in hematology/oncology in the future to work with those inflicted by cancer,” he said. “I see oncology as one of the most rewarding fields in pharmacy because as much as it is technical, empathy is equally as important in helping someone on their road to recovery.” Health professions are a tradition in Chen’s family. His father was an acupuncturist in China but after he moved to the United States, his license didn’t transfer so he was unable to practice. He worked as a waiter while Chen’s mother mom stayed home taking care of him and his sister. “He chose to support the family, giving my sister and me the opportunity to succeed. I did not realize how much of an influence that decision had on me at the time, but I wanted to make my parents proud,” says Chen. At URI, Chen, 22, who is from Coventry, R.I., is actively involved with pharmacy organizations and has worked as a resident advisor but he found a home with the Asian Student Association, considering it the beginning of his journey through college. “Coming from a predominantly Caucasian community, it was a nice surprise to see others with similar backgrounds to myself,” said Chen, who has served in various Association leadership positions and advises fellow students. “I felt like I had made an impact.” Receiving the Robert L. Carothers Student Leadership Scholarship means so much to Chen because it reaffirms the effort he’s put into his college years so far. “What I would tell future freshman students is that although it might not be on the forefront of your mind, get involved, and ‘think big,’” he said. “Any small idea can lead to change.” • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Your gift to URI supports inspiring students like Andy Chen. HELPING STUDENTS HIT BY TRAGEDY Helping Students Hit By Tragedy The grandson of a Holocaust survivor, Jonathan Herman '99 creates a legacy in honor of his family. HELPING STUDENTS HIT BY TRAGEDY Jonathan Herman, left, with scholarship recipient Connor Rogers '17. At the end of the film Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler, who has saved more than 1,000 Jews from the Nazis, is overcome with remorse as he acknowledges that possessions are meaningless and questions what else he could have done to save more lives. It’s a message that has stayed with Jonathan Herman ’99, whose maternal grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. “It tells me to be a force for good with the story you have and try to make the world better for people,” said Herman, who is Chief Operating Officer of Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services, a leading home health care provider in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Three students at URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media who have known hardship each received $4,000 in the fall of 2017, thanks to a gift that Herman and his wife Alene established in memory of his parents, Arthur, who died when Herman was 4, and Helen, who passed away when he was 12. The Arthur and Helen Herman Scholarship Fund, which was created with a $50,000 pledge from Herman and Alene and support from his family and friends, provides financial support to students who have lost one or both parents during their lifetime. “God bless him,” said Connor Rogers '17, whose father died after a long and debilitating illness in spring 2017. Rogers was able to pay for his final class at URI this past fall, thanks to the Herman's gift. “It’s awesome what he’s doing. People don’t realize how hard it is to lose a parent when you’re young. It’s tough.” Herman’s philanthropy didn’t stop there. To honor his grandmother, Lily Markel, who he describes as 89 years young, he has given $25,000 to URI Hillel. “She is the matriarch of her family,” he said. “As I have gotten older and the way society has changed, it’s my obligation to ensure the Holocaust is remembered and taught to the next generation.” One member of the upcoming generation who understands loss is scholarship recipient Ashley Lejserowits, 20, from Ramsey, N.J. A junior majoring in communication and public relations, she was only 11 months old when her father passed away from cancer. Her mother is in remission for breast cancer. But her connection with Herman goes deeper than losing a parent. Two of her grandparents survived Auschwitz. “It’s kind of weird how much our stories match up. I’m grateful that someone was willing to donate so much money to URI,” she said of Herman. “My whole experience has made me work that much harder, just for my parents, to make them proud.” Lejserowits' grandfather lost most of his immediate family at the death camp and speaks about his experience at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Herman’s grandmother recently shared her personal story with the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. The Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, is dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. After his mother passed away, Herman and his brother, who was 16, were raised by his mother’s brother and his wife. “I was blessed with a loving family and support that helped me and pushed me through a challenging time in my life,” he said. In high school, he was more focused on outside interests and fell short of his potential. When he applied to URI, he was accepted, but the University wanted to see his first quarter report card, according to a hand-written note he received from the admissions department. “I never expected to receive a hand-written note from a university that gets thousands of applications,” he recalled. “I got to URI and everything changed. I was more focused on grades and what I wanted to do in life. It was a lightbulb moment for me and I knew I would give back in some way.” Today, Herman is expansive in his support of URI, providing money, time, and opportunity. He said he feels a common bond of loss with his scholarship recipients and knows what it’s like to feel vulnerable as a college student.“They inspired me to do this and I want them to know they are not alone,” he said. “Maybe they can take the good we are instilling in them and instill it in others on campus and beyond. This could be the seed of what could blossom into other trees.” • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Make your meaningful gift to URI. A GIFT FOR THOSE WHO GIVE BACK A Gift for Those Who Give Back A former College of Business professor creates a scholarship to reward students who serve their community. A GIFT FOR THOSE WHO GIVE BACK Frank and Deborah Budnick at his College of Business Administration retirement party in spring 2016. Former professor and College of Business Administration Dean Frank Budnick believes in the importance of community service. The result: the Frank and Deborah Budnick Scholarship, created in 2016 to promote public/community service as a core value of the College. The scholarship rewards business students who have demonstrated significant involvement in public or community service while at URI. This criterion was essential to the Budnicks, who established the scholarship to support a junior or senior with a 3.0 GPA or better with documented financial need. “I believe that people who have an opportunity to go to college should consider giving back to those who don’t have similar opportunities,” said Budnick, who retired in 2016 after 44 years at URI. The scholarship, initially funded with a gift from the Budnicks, has already attracted more than $75,000 in contributions from donors, including former students and fellow faculty members on campus. Frank has a strong history of community service involvement, including volunteering for Meals on Wheels, St. Mary’s Food Bank in Arizona, and the former Health Center of South County in Wakefield, R.I. He and his wife, Deborah, who earned her MBA from URI in 1988, place a high priority on helping others and were pleased to establish their fund with service in mind. “Service to the community is an important core value and people should try to give back to their community and to those who don’t have similar advantages,” said Frank. He added, “The two of us are looking for something bigger and better. We want to feel like we’re having an impact.” • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Make your meaningful gift to URI. ENGINEERED FOR SUCCESS Engineered for Success See the topping off ceremony for the new Engineering building, built with the help of public and private support. ENGINEERED FOR SUCCESS IN HIS BROTHER'S HONOR In His Brother's Honor Watch the inspiring video about Paramaz Avedisian '54, for whom the pharmacy building was dedicated last fall. IN HIS BROTHER'S HONOR A SEA WORTHY ENDEAVOR A Sea Worthy Endeavor Professor Jacqueline Webb has elevated URI's Marine Biology Program through her great passion and scholarship. A SEA WORTHY ENDEAVOR As a student growing up in Brooklyn, Jacqueline Webb volunteered at the New York Aquarium, attended an experimental public high school that focused on marine biology, and enrolled in a field course at the Shoals Marine Lab off the coast of New Hampshire. So it is no wonder that she became an award-winning marine biology professor. “I grew up by the ocean, my father fished, it was the Jacques Cousteau era,” says Webb, who lives in Wakefield and joined the University of Rhode Island faculty in 2006. “I always knew I wanted to be a biologist, and it was in high school that I realized marine biology was going to be my thing.” In recognition of her research and teaching excellence, Webb was named the George and Barbara G. Young Chair in Biology, the first endowed chair in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS), in 2016. “I am deeply appreciative of this recognition,” Webb says. “I am doubly proud to represent CELS as the first endowed chair in the college.” The Young Chair recognizes exceptional teaching and research by providing recipients with funds to support their research for a five-year term. It was established through a planned gift donated by physician Dr. George Young ’25 and his wife, Barbara. John Kirby, dean of CELS, notes that Webb represents a “model of achievement,” and says the Young Chair rewards her leadership and accomplishments. “Dr. Webb has been a strong leader and advocate for our students, for marine biology, and for basic biological research.” Webb takes great pride in the progress she has made at increasing the number of students majoring in marine biology, enhancing the program’s reputation nationally, and establishing a strong advising system. "I’m very proud of our marine biology graduates,” she says. “They’re an accomplished and happy group. So many have continued to work and study in the fields of marine and environmental science, using their URI education in very positive ways.” Webb's stellar scientific reputation is the result of her studies of the structure and development of fish sensory systems. She is an expert on the mechanosensory lateral line system, a primitive vertebrate sensory system found in all of the world’s 30,000 fish species, as well as in aquatic amphibians. The lateral line system consists of dozens of small sensory organs on the head and body called neuromasts that detect water flows, facilitating critical behaviors like prey detection, predator avoidance, communication during mating, and navigation. According to Webb, understanding the ability of fishes to detect water flows can shed light on how they may overcome challenges presented by global climate change. “As human activities increasingly affect freshwater habitats, water clarity is often decreased, and it’s likely that fishes that depend more on their lateral line system instead of vision for certain behaviors may have an ecological advantage,” she says. Funded by several National Science Foundation grants, Webb’s research has resulted in the publication of more than 40 scientific papers and book chapters. She also edited a book on fish bioacoustics. An affiliate faculty member in URI’s Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, Webb is a research associate at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, a guest investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and in 2013, she was awarded a Whitman Summer Fellowship for research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Reflecting on her legacy, Webb concludes that the Young Chair is more than an honor— it will “enhance my interactions with and contributions to the intellectual community,” for years to come. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Your gift to URI supports outstanding professors like Jacqueline Webb. ENHANCING THE URI EXPERIENCE Enhancing the URI Experience A grant from The Champlin Foundation supports URI programs with a host of exciting new tools and technology. ENHANCING THE URI EXPERIENCE Students get hands-on experience at a cyber security instructional facility, funded with support form the Champlin Foundation. The Champlin Foundation, one of the oldest philanthropic organizations in Rhode Island, recently awarded four grants totaling $623,460 to URI for tools and technologies that support educational goals across the institution. These four new projects will not only enhance the student experience, but will give students a significant advantage as they prepare for careers in some of today's fastest-growing sectors. Here are thumbnail descriptions of the projects: In-house Printed Circuit Board Fabrication Station: $168,595, to acquire this tool for hands-on teaching in electrical, computer, biomedical, mechanical, and chemical engineering courses, as well as computer science. Students will create their own circuit prototypes in preparation for careers in such areas as next-generation high-speed wireless network infrastructure, machine learning, smart cities, Internet of Things, robotics, and self-driving vehicles. Chemistry from the Back Row: Engaging Students Using a Suite of State-of-the-Art Chemical Instruments for the Real-Time Visualization of Chemical Reactions and Phenomena: $162,000, to “bring the lab into the classroom” in large enrollment courses in the chemistry, chemical engineering, environmental engineering, and geosciences disciplines. The instrumentation suite is widely used in modern chemical science, but its use for undergraduate education would be unique among universities nationally. This instrumentation will give approximately 2,400 students better understanding of chemical reactivity, including the movement, properties, and interactions of molecules —knowledge that is essential as students pursue careers in chemistry, chemical engineering, and the chemical enterprise, as well as careers in health care. Professional HD, Video/Sound Recording, Production and Broadcast Center: $149,800, to create an ultra-modern, multi-use, high definition, digital video/sound recording, production, and broadcast center on the Kingston campus that will be the only facility of its kind and magnitude across the state. The center will include state-of-the-art digital video/sound recording and production capabilities. This facility will significantly enhance and expand curricula and job placement opportunities for students as broadcast journalists and anchors, multimedia reporters, videographers and digital video editors, film producers and directors, camera operators, video and audio engineers, as well as public affairs professionals in the private and public sectors. ai.uri: The Artificial Intelligence Lab: $143,065, to create an Artificial Intelligence Lab at the Carothers Library and Learning Commons on the Kingston campus that will provide an easy-to-access facility that will serve thousands of information-seeking students in all disciplines. The lab will be the first in the nation to be located in a library and will function as an information-rich source for all those wishing to learn about artificial intelligence, both theoretically and practically. It will provide “learning-by-doing” experiences for students through course projects or personal interest, including opportunities to explore projects on robotics, natural language processing, smart cities, smart homes, the Internet of Things and big data, with guided tutorials at beginner through advanced levels. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Make your meaningful gift to URI. STRINGS ATTACHED Strings Attached This music major's dream is to one day compose scores for film and video that will transport you to another place. STRINGS ATTACHED As the recipient of two Foundation music scholarships—one from Rhode Island-based composer Enrico Garzilli, the other from URI Professor Emeritus of Music Composition Geoffrey Gibbs and his wife, the late Sona Aronian—as well as a Kingston Chamber Music Festival scholarship, Katherine Loo '19 says she’s inspired to push herself as hard as she can to achieve her dream of one day writing scores for films. “Katherine’s approach to writing music is uniquely intuitive,” says her URI composition teacher, Dr. Kirsten Volness. “As each work unfolds, the harmonies and textures often conjure a particular feeling, image, or story in her mind. She's not afraid to take risks with new techniques or ideas.” Loo describes her own compositions as ethereal and melodic, adding, “My main goal when people listen to my music is to transport them to another place or bring them a sense of peace.” • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Your gift to URI supports inspiring students like Katherine Loo.