URI Rainville Awards Honor Student Leadership

KINGSTON, R.I. — June 3, 1999 — Every day, many students spend hours working behind the scenes to help make the University of Rhode Island a better place. This spring, these dedicated students were brought into the spotlight and honored for their hard work at the 11th Annual A. Robert Rainville Awards banquet. The air was charged with excitement and anticipation as students, parents, faculty, and staff filled the banquet hall to honor these student leaders. At the event, the following students were presented with A. Robert Rainville Awards: Keisha Gallagher-Smith and Danielle Leigh Hill received Leadership Awards; James P. Smith received the Employee Award, and the URI Emergency Medical Service (EMS) group received the Team Award. The recipients were chosen from a pool of 70 nominees, who all have a history of academic excellence, honors, community service, and campus involvement, according to Bruce Hamilton, director of the Memorial Union and Student Activities. “Tonight we are celebrating the incredible strength of all of these leaders. It never ceases to amaze me what these students can do,” said Hamilton. Gallagher-Smith’s and Hill’s leadership has had a tremendous effect on many fellow students at URI. Both of them have become examples for others to look to and find that their motivation comes from helping others. “One of the greatest rewards and what really keeps you going is having an impact on a lot of people. When you stop and think about it, it is overwhelming,” said Hill. Hill, a senior from Cranston, R.I., who is majoring in communications studies and sociology and minoring in Portuguese, has definitely set an example for others to follow, according to Mavis Nimoh of Pawtucket, R.I., Leadership Award co-presenter and selection committee member. “She carries herself with assurance and leadership and encourages others to reach her level of leadership,” explained Nimoh. Hill is a member of Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society and the recipient of several academic scholarships. She is a resident assistant and an active member of Uhuru SaSa, SOAR, the Diversity Task Force, and Solidarity Outreach. She is also a McNair Fellow and was awarded first place in the T.E. McKinney Research Paper Competition. Gallagher-Smith, a senior nursing student, has helped many as a resident assistant, a URI 101 mentor, and vice president of the Rhode Island Student Nurse’s Association. She is also a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society and the Golden Key National Honor Society, and has received several academic scholarships. Gallagher-Smith was emotional when receiving the award, and was surprised that she had been recognized with such a big honor. “To win an honor like this is unbelievable. When you are a student, you don’t know what kind of impact you have made on the campus and other students. Then, when it comes time to leave as a senior, you hear all these things about how you’ve helped others that you didn’t even know about. It is so rewarding,” said Gallagher-Smith. For James Smith, working on campus as a network administrator for the College of Business is a far cry from his first job as a neighborhood paperboy. Yet, this first job helped Smith learn how to interact with others, one of the qualities that makes him such a valuable employee today. “I find my motivation in working with and helping others. When I know I’ve helped someone, it just inspires me and drives me to keep doing it,” explained Smith. Smith, a senior Accounting and Management Science major from Warwick, R.I., is treasurer for Beta Alpha Psi and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and the Golden Key Honor Society. For the URI EMS, anticipation proved to be the greatest joy. The group has been nominated for the past five years for the team award, and the 48-member team agreed that being chosen this year was well worth the wait. “We are thrilled, ecstatic, everyone is just glowing. We’ve been here for five years and to finally win is just incredible,” said Nell Codier of South Kingston. The URIEMS works together to provide emergency medical care to the campus community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each member volunteers a great deal of their time to care for the well-being of others. “Every organization bears on its shoulders responsibility, and this group bears the greatest responsibility of all – our lives,” said junior Charley Wynkoop of Providence, R.I., presenter of the team award and member of the selection committee. In addition to the award recipients, finalists were Lauren Mylisa Fontaine of Wallington, Conn., Jhomphy Ventura of Providence, R.I., and Anna Zielinski of Clifton, N.J., for the leadership award; Nicole Flores of Staten Island, N.Y., Erin Elizabeth O’Rourke of Park Ridge, N.J., Traci Reinecker of Dartmouth, Mass., and Ana Filipa Santos of Cumberland, R.I. for the Employee Award; and Bridges, Latin American Students Association, Student Alumni Association, and the Student Entertainment Committee for the Team Award. Named for the late A. Robert Rainville, URI’s vice-president for Student Affairs from 1980-86, the awards honor students who demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities, service to campus organizations, and academic excellence. Students are first nominated by students, staff, and faculty and then must fill out an application which requires letters of recommendation from faculty and members of URI community, an experiential resume, and an essay focusing on their personal growth and development which is reviewed by a selection committee. After several reviews, finalists and then winners are selected. All finalists are inducted into the Leadership Hall of Fame. For More Information: Bruce Hamilton, 401-874-2726 Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-2116