Thank You, Mom

URI’s newest alumni received diplomas in May. Get to know our inspiring 2023 student Commencement speakers.

Mazen M. Taman, Pharm.D. ’23

Mazen M. Taman delivered the undergraduate Commencement address on Saturday, May 20, 2023. The Cranston, R.I., native held two paid internships simultaneously in the spring semester of his final year in the Pharm.D. program. He also worked on two research teams, one focused on the efficacy of home electronic blood pressure monitoring and one focused on software for managing investigational drugs.

While completing his Pharm.D. program, including six clinical rotations at Rhode Island Hospital, Taman played football for the Rams for four years and will enter Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School this fall.

“I was raised in a one-parent household, where my mom worked tirelessly at multiple jobs to keep my two brothers and me in school and sports,” Taman said. “My mother has been there every step of the way, offering endless support as I pursued my dreams. Today, I stand before you … and I know that this accomplishment would not have been possible without the unwavering love and encouragement of my mother. So, Mom, look at us now—we made it.”

Tania Silva de Oliveira, Ph.D. ’23

Tania Silva de Oliveira, a chemical engineer and an analytical research scientist at a Boston-based global pharmaceutical company that develops drugs to treat some of the world’s most serious conditions, gave the graduate Commencement address on Friday, May 19, 2023 at the Ryan Center. She completed two bachelor’s degrees in her native Brazil and an undergraduate study-abroad experience at URI. She returned to URI to earn her doctorate in chemical engineering.

“I always felt and knew that education was the way toward a better life for me and for my family,” Oliveira said. “As an undergraduate, I went to a chemical engineering school, and, like many of you, worked nights to pay my rent and bills and studied during the day.”

She told the audience that many family members would be watching at home in Brazil. “And as you know, my mom and grandma are not understanding a single word of what I am saying. I will ask you to excuse me so I can offer them a few special words: Te amo vó e mãe! Obrigada por tudo. Meaning, I love you Grandma and Mom. Thank you for everything.”