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URI student at the African shore

Barry J. O’Connor Jr., MPA


In his 13 years of experience in the field of education, Barry O’Connor Jr. has strived tomeet the challenges he faces with helping his students find some element of success in their early school experience. As a believer in effective communication, he listens, establishing continuous lines communication with his students creating a welcoming and enthusiastic learning environment. 

Mr. O’Connor graduated from the University of Rhode Island through the Talent Development program. He holds two Bachelor of Arts Degrees,one in Sociology and another in African and African American History (2002). He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration (2006). Mr. O’Connor is currently a Senior Financial Aid Officer for the Community College of Rhode Island where he assists students with funding their education. He also serves as an Adjunct Faculty member at both the University of Rhode Island where he teaches African American History and the Community College of Rhode Island where he teaches sociology and college success courses that focus onlearning strategies for first year students. Mr. O’Connor is also a certified trainer in Kingian Nonviolence and Conflict Resolution and trained under the auspices of Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr. who worked with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mr. O’Connor has a natural talent in translating theory into practical, world applications. He has always been tied to his ethnic and urban community, coming from a well-respected and socially active family.  When discussing his career path, Mr. O’Connor always has stated his intention to be a part of the corps of professionals who would shape new urban initiatives and environments.  His desire to teach young people has always been to serve as a role model and mentor for historically disadvantaged people. His belief in the future of the Africana Studies department and its students is unparalleled. He believes that it can and should be the beacon of light that will guide the university’s future leaders into the 21st century.