Challenge Yourself

Wilfredo TanquiJeffrey Munoz is from a law enforcement family, and he always knew he would become a police officer. But he also believes that law enforcement officers should be held to a higher standard. That’s why he enrolled in the Honors Program.

“The courses go much more in-depth than normal classes, which enables me to learn more and create solutions to better serve my community,” Jeffrey said. “I like that we explore issues together as a class. It’s really changed my perspective on certain issues.”

Honors Program courses aren’t necessarily more difficult than other courses, but they’re different—smaller classes, designed to examine a subject from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a focus on group discussion and problem solving.

Honors program students are dedicated to academic excellence, artistic creativity, and intellectual curiosity.“Perhaps the most exciting thing about the Honors Program is the opportunity to encounter students you might not otherwise encounter and create a community of students who are, in many instances, very different from each other but who share an interest in intellectual engagement,” said Professor Lynne Derbyshire, director of the program.

 I like to jump right in to learn something new, and the Honors Program allows me to do that…I like the critical thinking it requires.

Honors Program student Wilfredo Tangui plans a career as a pediatric cardiologist or cardiothoracic surgeon after having fought a lengthy battle to recover from multiple heart surgeries as a child. That successful fight is part of the reason he enrolled in the Honors Program.

“I like to put myself in different disciplines to gain experience in a lot of different things,” said Wilfredo, who speaks three languages and plans to learn a fourth before entering med school. “I like to jump right in to learn something new, and the Honors Program allows me to do that. I like the environment the teachers and students provide, and I like the critical thinking it requires. The way I think, the way I see the world, is very much thanks to the Honors Program.”

In addition, the Honors Program encourages students to complete a special project of their choosing. One student designed a library cataloging system for electronic music. Another wrote a children’s book explaining the differences in grieving customs between Christians and Buddhists. And a nursing student even designed and built a golf putter—which required him to learn calculus, physics, and machine shop operations.

The Honors Program also advises students applying for national scholarships and fellowships, offers housing with other honors students, and sponsors a semester-long Honors Colloquium that brings world-renowned experts to campus to discuss a common theme.

This unique combination of honors classes and related activities allows students to expand their perspective of themselves and the world around them.

“The Honors Program has definitely had a big impact on me,” said Kira Wencek, a junior studying art, computer science, and Japanese. “It’s made me think in new ways. The classes are definitely the best classes I’ve taken at URI.”


Pictured: Honors Program student Wilfredo Tangui

Photo credit: Nora Lewis