KINGSTON, R.I. — May 11, 2020 — Among Allegra Angell’s proudest accomplishments in her four years at the University of Rhode Island came during an honors project. She and another student created a video game to teach adolescents about unhealthy relationships.
The game used research on effective ways to teach young adults new concepts and different types of relationship abuse that they may encounter. Players in the game choose their own adventures, following storylines that reflect various types of relationships – friendships, romantic relationships, and family violence.
“Every narrative’s outcome depends on the ability of the player to seek proper resources,” says Angell, of North Kingstown. “The choices the user makes affect the ending of their storyline, which will teach them about different behaviors in relationships and the options they may use themselves to potentially escape abuse.”
Angell, who graduates May 17 with degrees in criminology and criminal justice and computer science, created the game using online software to build the text-based, choice game. She surveyed students who tested the game through criminology and criminal justice and psychology listservs. Angell and her partner were chosen to present the game at the annual Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in San Antonio, but the conference was canceled due to COVID-19.
“This was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to create something that was more than just an assignment,” says Angell. “The classes I took made me passionate about the work I completed because the work I did meant something to me. I never felt restricted to writing something I didn’t agree with or having only one right answer for the final product. The openness to explore what I wanted to do was essential for my education.”
Four years ago, Angell decided to stay close to home and attend URI because she could see how the University would help her grow as a person and student.
“I knew I could get involved with various organizations and the faculty I met were outstanding,” says Angell, who minored in digital forensics and thanatology (the study of death and dying). “The relationships I was able to form from the very beginning of my college search was what made me feel so connected to the URI community. I wanted to go to a university that wasn’t solely focused on one area, I wanted to be surrounded by a diverse group of people with extremely different interests than my own.”
At URI, Angell has excelled at trying her hand at many things. She has held several leadership positions including vice president of Academic Affairs for her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon; and worked for the IT Service Desk, where she would resolve technical problems such as URI website password changes, Wi-Fi issues and software malfunctions. She also created and managed several pages on URI’s official website.
Angell, the academic excellence award winner in criminology and criminal justice, also served as a teaching assistant for Computer Science 110 and a barista at the 193 Coffeehouse.
On top of all this, Angell completed an internship with the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit. “I created data analysis for each department’s security awareness training and assisted in planning the upcoming cybersecurity training modules for officers,” says Angell. “I also managed daily functions such as filing paperwork, organizing spreadsheets, and data entry. The internship unfortunately ended early because of COVID-19, but I am grateful that I had the experience.”
Along with on-campus activities, Angell didn’t slow down for spring breaks. During her junior and senior years, she volunteered for the Alternative Spring Break program, traveling to California and Colorado to serve disadvantaged populations dealing with wildfires and homelessness.
“The combination of these organizations helped me meet a variety of people and learn more about myself,” she says. “The most important thing to me during my time as a student at URI was to be as involved as I possibly could be so that I didn’t have any regrets when I left. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to create on this campus and that I chose to abandon my comfort zone in favor of attempting something new.”
While she was saddened with the way the school year has ended because of the COVID-19 crisis, she says she respects the reasoning behind the concerns.
“The announcement happened after everyone returned from spring break so I feel that a lot of people were upset they didn’t get to say goodbye to their friends in person and had to make last-minute arrangements about returning home,” she says. “As time has gone on, I definitely feel better about the decision and my online calls with my advisers and friends have made the transition a lot easier.”
Angell will return to URI in the fall as part of the Cyber Security Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Program.
“I am a little stressed about the future,” she says. “Fortunately, I was accepted into the program so I will still be a part of the community for another year. I feel that I would be more stressed about my future if I had to enter the job field at this moment, but with the additional time I have to search for new opportunities, I am a little more relaxed.”
Gianna Cardarelli, a sophomore public relations major and intern in the Department of Marketing and Communications, wrote this press release.