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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 02881
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Recent graduate great ambassador for URI

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 22, 2000 -- If you searched for a recent graduate who could talk about the virtues of the University of Rhode Island, your hunt would be over when you met Kelly Horrigan

Friendly, bright, and enthusiastic, Kelly graduated this month with a double degree in psychology and anthropology.

"URI is a top research institution," she enthuses, "and it's becoming one of the best undergraduate research institutions in the country."

Research is a passion for the 21-year-old who just accepted a full scholarship from the University of Missouri Kansas City for Ph.D. training in clinical health psychology where her research focus will be on cancer patients and advanced HIV patients. She had six other offers.

When she decided to attend URI, Kelly, an All-American swimmer, also turned down six other offers including ones from such Ivy League schools as Yale and Columbia.

"It was actually my dad who knew URI was the place for me. I know he was hoping I'd go to his alma mater Columbia. But when he saw the beautiful rural campus and saw that I'd receive more personal attention, he was convinced.

"One of the main reasons I wanted to investigate URI was its world-renown psychology program. This is where Dr. James Prochaska, the Dr. Freud of today, makes his academic home."

Kelly's freshman year was a tough transition for her. She missed her home in Ashburn, Virginia and her parents. Her grades dropped. Dr. Albert Silverstein, professor of experimental psychology at URI, saw Kelly floundering and offered support.

"My life turned around. He helped me recognize my abilities as a researcher and my intellectual capacities. He motivated me to be the student I am today," she says.

"I don't regret having to work through the hard times. It's made me a better person a more outstanding one." Kelly faced a difficult decision in her junior year. She loved swimming competitively and she loved research. She felt she couldn't do both and dropped off the team.

Kelly's academic honors and awards fill a page, single-spaced. Most noteworthy, she was awarded the first URI Health Promotion Partnership Fellowship, a paid research fellowship in alcohol survey studies.

Her volunteer work ranges from URI's Women's Resource Center, to tutoring psychology students, to answering phones at Sympatico, a local suicide prevention hotline.

She's been president of the URI chapter of Psi Chi (the National Honor Society of Psychology) for two years, a founder and president of the Psychology Club, the psychology representative for the Dean's Advisory Council in the College of Arts and Sciences for two years, recipient of a 1999 URI Foundation research grant and the psychology department's outstanding junior and senior awards.

Kelly presented her research at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention in Baltimore this March and was awarded the association's Psi Chi Regional Research Award for her poster and presentation. The College of Arts and Sciences' Hope and Heritage Fund, which is largely funded through alumni donors, made the trip possible. "I am proud to point out that URI has more undergraduate student projects presented than any other institution," Kelly says.

URI's reputation opened doors for graduate schools, according to Kelly. "URI is very well known and respected, especially in psychology. Interviewers would see URI on my resume and tell me how fortunate I was to have such a great education," says one of URI's best ambassadors.


For Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116


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