Jessica Marfeo ’15

You could say Jessica Marfeo has a full life. She’s a pre-health professions student  double majoring in biology and elementary education and working toward graduate school for physician assistant studies and a master’s degree in public health. She volunteers in the oncology unit at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, and says her favorite part of the week is playing with the patients in the recreation room there.

“I’m always covered in glitter and Play-Doh,” she said. Her experience with the children at Hasbro, plus her own victory over cancer as a child and her loss of a brother to cancer are what inspired her to choose a career in the health professions.

But her desire to help others doesn’t stop at physical health. At URI, she’s also a community outreach representative for WOWW—We’re Offering Women Wisdom—a campus group that provides a place for students to talk about weighty topics like date rape and safe socializing. And a few years ago, she started an educational and mentoring program called Be Friends First, or BFF, which takes her into middle schools across Rhode Island to teach children and teenagers how to deal with bullying and peer pressure. For her, it’s always about treating others as you would like to be treated.

Oh, and, she’s the reigning Miss Rhode Island. On September 15, she’ll represent her home state at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. “My crown is four points and each point represents one of our goals: success, service, style, and scholarship,’’ she says. We’d say it’s a pretty good match – after all, Jessica’s already successful in our eyes, is living a life dedicated to service, and is obviously full of great style. As for the scholarship, well, she’s already earned scholarships from the Miss Rhode Island Pageant and  competes for $50,000 in scholarships at the Miss America Pageant.

Jessica’s life is full, and it’s about to get even fuller. “This is all a great experience for me,’’ she says. “I’m representing Rhode Island, and I absolutely love our Ocean State. It’s very surreal to me.’’




Music professor Mark Conley’s passion for encouraging musical talent and teaching people to sing has taken him to Carnegie Hall and stages nationwide. But this summer, his passion took him to the far reaches of Africa where the internet is solar powered, his accommodations consisted of a pup tent, and he walked about 40 miles a week.