33rd annual Rainville Awards honor URI student leaders

Recipients of this year’s A. Robert Rainville Team Excellence Award are Carlee Kerr ‘21 of East Windsor, New Jersey, Maya Moran ‘21 from Brockton, Mass., and Veronica Seay ‘21 from Brockton, Massachusetts and Joseph Amaral from Warwick. 


May 17, 2021

KINGSTON, R.I. — May 17, 2021 — The University of Rhode Island recently honored three undergraduate student leaders and one student organization as  part of its  33rd annual A. Robert Rainville Student Leadership Awards ceremonies. The award is named in memory of A. Robert Rainville ’64, vice president for Student Affairs 1980-86, who was a friend and mentor to students.

This year’s recipients are Marland Chang of Cranston, Student Leadership Award; James Cocozza of Cranston, Employee Excellence Award, and Naomi Pajarillo of Providence, Robert L. Carothers Servant Leadership award. Members of University of Rhode Island’s Diversity Dialogues were awarded The Team Excellence Award.

Team Excellence Award recipient: Diversity Dialogues

Diversity Dialogues’ main goal is to create a safe space at the University of Rhode Island where students can learn, discuss, and reflect on  topics regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion through student-led workshops. The workshops help foster learning and understanding of what can be difficult topics because of the lack of inclusive curriculum in American school systems. Diversity Dialogues have created workshops for more than 1,500 students, including organizations such as Greek Life, Resident Advisors, URI 101, as well as education majors and more. Through the members’ workshops they conducted pre- and post-tests on subjects such as microaggression, social identity, and privilege, and saw significant statistical evidence of how people grasped the material and learned how to become better allies to their marginalized peers. The group recognizes that ignorance and misunderstanding of topics involving diversity, equity, and inclusion stem from a lack of consistent curriculum taught in schools about power, social identity, and implicit stereotypes. The team continues to make efforts that provide opportunity and better understanding to students to improve URI’s cultural competence.


“These students have enthusiastically taken on what I believe is our biggest need as a URI community, and a society: engaging people in critical conversations about topics that are challenging but necessary,” said Kristina Perelli, director of New Student Programs in University College for Academic Success. “This team is disrupting the status quo and creating student-driven change through education and the power of peer-to-peer learning and mentoring.” 

Recipients of this year’s A. Robert Rainville Team Excellence Award are Carlee Kerr ‘21 of East Windsor, New Jersey, Maya Moran ‘21 from Brockton, Mass., and Veronica Seay ‘21 from Brockton, Massachusetts and Joseph Amaral from Warwick.