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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Rough waters early in her URI career didn't deter Joy Memory

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 20, 2004 -- University of Rhode Island student Joy Memory acknowledges that academics didnít come easily to her during her freshman year on campus.

When the fourth-year member of the womenís varsity rowing team switched her major to nursing, her fortunes changed. As she hangs up her oar this spring, Memory has become a standout performer on the water and in the academic arena.

Memory, now double-majoring in nursing and biology, was among 215 URI varsity student-athletes feted during the winter reception for those who made the deanís list.
"I have spent two years in the nursing curriculum and I love it," the Belmont, Mass.
student said. "Nursing gives me a chance to combine working in medicine and working with people. My favorite professor has been Mary Lee Evans. She is very tough, but I have learned so much from her."

Although listed as a senior on the varsity rowing team, she will not be among the URI graduates this May because of her switch to the nursing program. After sampling majors in dietetics, exercise science, and biology, she found that nursing and biology worked best for her.

Rowing has actually helped her persevere in her academic life. "I find that I have to stay active," Memory said. "At first, it was hard because you have to get up at 5 a.m. to row, but you know all your teammates are doing it, so you gain strength from them. Weíre like a family."

When she graduates in 2006, Memory would like to land a job in a hospital operating room or emergency room. "I think I would like the intensity," she said.

Evans isnít kidding when she refers to Memory as a joy. "Joy loves to learn and she is always seeking new opportunities.

Evans taught Memory in two nursing classes and now she is supervising her clinical work in gerontology. "She is working with healthy, frail and sick seniors. Joy is doing all the patient care, and the patients love her."

Since nurses play critical roles in the health care system, they serve as important role models, Evans said. "Because she is physically active, very healthy and dynamic, she models the healthy behaviors patients need to see," Evans said.

"This is important because nurses are often involved with educating patients on behavior change that can lead to healthier lives," the professor said.

Memoryís rowing coach, Julia Chilicki-Beasley, said that Memory was initially a non-scholarship, walk-on athlete with no background in rowing.

"She is one of those athletes who is a silent warrior," the coach said. "She is extremely humble and not out for her own fame."

A member of the lightweight crew, Memory was a silver medalist in the Dad Vail Championships two years ago, which qualified her boat for the national championships, and is a two-time Atlantic 10 Gold Medalist.

"Joy has been plagued by injuries, but she just keeps at it, and keeps doing extra work," Beasley said. "She will be sorely missed."