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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI engineering students establish ‘colony’ of professional engineering fraternity

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 25, 2006 -- A group of enthusiastic engineering students at the University of Rhode Island has laid the foundation for a new engineering fraternity on campus designed to merge professional activities with community service.

Eleven founding students, led by Greg Parascandolo (president) of Johnston, Filip Losowski (vice president) of Woonsocket, and Michael Centazzo (secretary) of Providence, recently received preliminary approval from the national executive council of Theta Tau, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious engineering societies, to establish the first chapter of the fraternity in Rhode Island.

“The national fraternity recognizes us as a ‘colony’ – sort of a pre-chapter – and hopefully we’ll be recognized as a full chapter next year,” said Losowski, a sophomore civil engineering major.

The organization is not a social fraternity and not part of the University’s Greek system. Instead it is aligned with the URI College of Engineering and advised by Professor Thomas Kim.

“We wanted to take the professional part of engineering and combine it with community service and socializing,” Losowski said. “Teachers are always preaching engineering ethics and working together as a team. That was the basis for starting the fraternity in the first place.”

The group meets weekly for study sessions, community activities and social events like bowling and paintball. They represent the College of Engineering at campus events like Centennial Day and Welcome Day, where they talk with prospective students and their parents, and they visit local engineering companies and tour engineering labs on campus.

The group has 23 members -both menand women- and 13 new members are expected to join the fraternity next fall. Membership is open to any interested engineering students who maintain passing grades.

“We’re open to all engineering disciplines, and that’s the beauty of it,” said Centazzo, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. “Everybody works together, just like in the professional world."

In a letter of support to the national executive council of Theta Tau, URI Engineering Dean Bahram Nassersharif wrote, “I am confident that the organization will flourish and fulfill its mission as the foremost fraternity for engineers. I am very enthusiastic about the first group of students who will be the members of this fraternity. They have already demonstrated their seriousness and enthusiasm by helping with the coordination of the College of Engineering Awards Banquet, which is our premier event for celebrating excellence in engineering at URI.”

Other members of the fraternity are (founding members listed with *): Patrick Addai of Providence; *Akinyemi Akinsinde, West Warwick; *Christopher Carlson, Weymouth, Mass.; Maria Ceilslewski, Watertown, Conn.; Matthew Gallagher, Keene, N.H.; Joe Giancaspro, Westerly; Jonathan Grillot, Tobyhanna, Pa.; Rene Guerra, Woonsocket; Brad Harriman, Danbury, Conn.; Nic Hindle, Pittstown, N.J.; *Brian Kelly, Cumberland; *Michael Kinahan, W. Bridgewater, Mass.; *Demetrios Kontoulis, Bellingham, Mass.; Hamed Lahijani, East Greenwich; *Daniel Maruca, Pembroke, Mass.; Josh Mombourquette, Harmony; Thomas Rider, Bow, N.H.; Dave Roman, East Greenwich; *Kyle Stojek, Pawtucket; and *Jean Paul Vandeputte, Kingston.

Photo cut line:URI engineering students pose after receiving formal approval to establish a
new engineering fraternity on campus.