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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Multimedia program at URI’s Providence campus clicks with sisters

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- June 19, 2002 -- Shirley and Lisbeth Sun-Reynoso are the type of sisters who finish each others thoughts. Close knit and serious, the two Providence women, daughters of Guatemalan immigrants, are intent on earning a college degree. Yet higher education doesn’t come cheap.

"Our parents work very hard to pay for our education," says Shirley. "If we can earn enough money to even pay for our books it would help," adds Lisbeth.

Thanks to the University of Rhode Island’s Special Programs Office at the Providence Campus, the two sisters have developed some moneymaking skills by completing a non-credit certificate program in print media and web design. (There is also a track in video production.)
"The certificate program is unique because it’s reasonably priced and all of the instructors are professionals working in the field. The instructors not only teach the how-tos but the whys," said Virginia Nardone who heads the Special Programs Office.

The Sun-Reynosos developed Photoshop, Illustrator, and Pagemaker skills during 45 hours of classroom instruction and independent lab time. They learned design production for print media, newsprint, and brochures during another 21-hours of classroom instruction. They concluded their instruction with 30 hours of webpage design, focusing on their graphic skills and theory while learning DreamWeaver and ImageReady.

"I love computers," says 18-year-old Lisbeth who just graduated from Classical High School and plans to enter URI in the fall to major in Business Information Systems. "But I didn’t know anything about web design." An ad for URI’s multimedia certificate caught her eye.

Shirley, on the other hand, loves to write. The 23-year-old Community College of Rhode Island student who is enrolled in the occupational therapist assistant program, hopes to eventually earn a master’s degree to become an occupational therapist and in someway incorporate her writing ability.

To obtain a certificate, the sisters were required to create a website or a print media product. For students who don’t have a specific product in mind, URI will try to connect them with a non-profit.

"I have found the final product is a perfect way for students to develop and fine tune their skills," says Lynn Petronio, a graphic artist who teaches the course.

Petronio linked the Sun-Reynosos with the Rhode Island Commission On Women. Lisbeth created a website for the commission’s Legal Rights Handbook while Shirley developed brochures to enhance the website. "Lisbeth was a quick learner and quickly developed skills in web design," says Petronio. "Shirley was more adept at print productions. Much to my surprise Shirley created three brochures, one of them in Spanish as well."

"We’re absolutely pleased with the work," says Toby Ayers, director of the Commission. "We’re a small commission and depend on a tremendous number of volunteers to get our work done.

"Lisbeth was a pleasure to work with. She spent a great deal of time, energy, and effort placing our legal rights handbook onto a website. After working with her for awhile, I was stunned to learn she was graduating from high school," continues Ayers.

"Shirley did a great job creating brochures for three chapters on the handbook. She had to boil down a lot of information. Not only that, Shirley developed a design that we can continue to use."

The sisters were a common sight in the hallways of the URI Providence Campus where they attended classes and used computers for the project.

"The teachers were wonderful," says Lisbeth.

"And everyone was very friendly and helpful," says Shirley.
For Information: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

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