Welcome to Out and Proud at URI

Out and Proud at URI

Out and Proud at URI promotes the visibility of URI’s lgbtq faculty and staff and encourages mentoring, awareness and networking.  Our goal is to increase our sense of community and to let our students, staff and faculty know that they are well supported and not alone here at URI. 

Scroll down to see our Out and Proud LGBTQ Faculty and Staff.

You can also learn about our Out and Proud at URI Allies.



URI’s Out and Proud LGBTQ Faculty and Staff:


Jared Abdirkin

Jared B. Abdirkin

Gay
Member of the President’s LGBTQ Commission
Pronouns:  he/him/his

Assistant Dean
College of Engineering
102 Bliss Hall
(401) 874-5985
jabdirkin@uri.edu

  • What motivates Jared to be Out and Proud on campus:

    My college years were the beginning of many dramatic and exciting developments in world-wide LGBTQ history, and there is so much more positive change that needs to happen. Especially in the field of education, working with the leaders of tomorrow, I want to be a resource and role-model to show that you can openly be who you are while also achieving your goals in your personal and professional life

    More about Jared:

    I love politics, travel, and baseball.

Janet Buchanan

Janet Buchanan

Just me
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Coordinator-Accelerated and Fully Online Programs
Enrollment Services
Green Hall
(401) 874-2266
janet_buchanan@uri.edu

  • What motivates Janet to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I am currently living with my partner Donna and don’t choose a label to indicate my identity because I am just me.  I want people to see me for myself and allow me to be that person without feeling like I have to pre-identify or categorize myself. Likewise, I want to bring that same acknowledgment to students and other members of the URI community; that each person is an individual and should be comfortable being who they are and should receive an open, non-judgmental reception from employees, staff, and students on this campus and beyond. We are always evolving and for me I want the freedom to not be limited by an identifier, nor have others feel compelled to use one to achieve equity.

    Working in Enrollment Services I have come in contact with a large portion of the student body. I endeavor to be a welcoming, helpful, and accepting advocate for all students and an ally for those serving to create an accepting environment. Now that I am Coordinating the online programs I hope to bring that same level of respect to those students as our on-campus members.

    More about Janet:

    I enjoy exercising; including running, hiking, and walking my dog Shaggy. I love to cook, good food and wine, spending time with friends and travel. Give me a good book and a cozy chair and I am happy! Mostly you will find me spending time with my partner and my almost grown “kids” when I am not on campus.

Yuwen Chen

Yuwen Chen

Gay
Member of the President’s LGBTQ Commission
Pronouns:  he/him/his

Associate Professor
College of Business
209 Ballentine Hall
(401) 874-4406
yuwen@uri.edu

  • What motivates Yuwen to be Out and Proud on campus:

    ‘The personal is political.’ Our lives are the canvas where our spirits leave multidimensional holographic marks and footprints on. The sexuality is only one of the angles to see a person. Being visible not only helps you to better know me as a person but also helps myself to be a more complete soul.

    More about Yuwen:

    I enjoy cooking, biking, windsurfing, kayaking, guitar & music, yoga and meditation

Lori Ciccomascolo

Lori Ciccomascolo

Lesbian
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Associate Vice President for
Student Affairs and Student Engagement
304 Memorial Union
loricicco@uri.edu

  • What motivates Lori to be Out and Proud on campus:

    Creating a truly diverse and inclusive community means shaping dialogue and actions centered in the belief that we can only achieve this goal by embracing and respecting our authentic identities and experiences. As such, I want to serve as a role model and support for LGBTQ students to be their authentic selves and have a happy and safe academic career and life

     

     

Kathy Collins

Kathy Collins

Lesbian
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Vice President for Student Affairs
Student Affairs
305 Memorial Union
(401) 874-2427
kmcollins@uri.edu

  • What motivates Kathy to be Out and Proud on campus:

    To serve as the role model that I never had when I was coming out and learning to navigate higher education.

Diane Goldsmith

Diane Goldsmith

Lesbian
Member of the President’s LGBTQ Commission
Pronouns:  she/her

Director
Office of the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Edwards – second floor room 205
(401) 874-4218
dgoldsmith@uri.edu

  • What motivates Diane to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I don’t really think about being visible, but rather just being myself and not hiding any part of me. I also wish that when I was in college there had been visible LGBTQ folks. So I’m happy to do that for others.

    More about Diane:

    I love biking, hiking, reading, cooking, eating, and hanging out with my wife and Irish Setter.

Jan Grinnell

Jan Grinnell

Lesbian
Pronouns:  she/her

Chaplain to URI
St. Augustine’s Episcopal Center at URI
Dunkin’ Donuts (two locations!)
jan.grinnell@gmail.com

  • What motivates Jan to be Out and Proud on campus:

    It is critical for faculty, staff, and students to know that they are loved and accepted for who they are, and how they were created. As a member of an organized religion, I hope to help others know that they are accepted as I am accepted.

    More about Jan:

    Archdeacon of Episcopal Diocese of RI; President of Grinnell Appreciative Consulting, LLC

Rev. David L. Helfer

Rev. David L. Helfer

Transgender
Pronouns:  he/him/his

Unitarian Universalist Chaplain to URI
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County
uucscminister@gmail.com

  • What motivates David to be Out and Proud on campus:

    At a time when so many trans*/gender fluid folx are at risk, I want to be a visible ally in every way I can.

     

David Howard

David T. Howard

Gay
Former member of the President’s LGBTQ Commission
Pronouns:  he/him/his

Professor of Costume Design
Theater
H213, Fine Arts Building
(401) 874-5657
dthoward@uri.edu

  • What motivates David to be Out and Proud on campus:

    Students need allies. Students need to see that their advisors/teachers/mentors as people, not just automatons. Our visibility helps our students: whether in crisis or in camaraderie

Julie Keller

Julie C. Keller

Queer/Lesbian
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Assistant Professor
Sociology & Anthropology
516 Chafee
(401) 874-2309
jckeller@uri.edu

  • What motivates Julie to be Out and Proud on campus:

    Not everyone has the privilege to feel comfortable being out as LGBTQ. For those that do have this privilege, I believe we have a responsibility to make ourselves known and openly challenge homophobia, transphobia, and heteronormativity

Annie Kosar

Annie M. Kosar

Bisexual+, white, queer, cisgender, episcopal, woman with a disability (I have Multiple Sclerosis)
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Part-Time Faculty
Gender & Women’s Studies
Coordinator LGBTQ Programs & Services
Gender & Sexuality Center
19 Upper College Rd
(401) 874-9277
anniem@uri.edu

  • What motivates Annie to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I have chosen to dedicate myself to the pursuit of social justice and to LGBTQ/queer Equality, and Education for my life’s path. I work as an educator every day to help students of ALL identities to develop holistically and to begin to find love, affirmation, acceptance, and empowerment within themselves and within their communities. I hope my being visible assists with that endeavor. I have worked in Higher Education and research focused on the themes of social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, affirmation, empowerment, intersectionality, mulitple identity development, queer/religious lgbtq studies, research topics surrounding the Trans & Gender Non-Conforming & Non-Binary communities, border identities & borderlands, self-authorship, Electronic Dance Music (EDM), queer culture, social justice, and Peace, Love, Unity & Respect (P.L.U.R.) for the past 19 years and I love research! I have presented nationally on many of these topics and continue research in these areas which I ADORE! I am an educator and an academic…I am passionate about teaching in Gender & Women’s Studies and believe that it is an invaluable and exciting opportunity! Also, I am a proud intersectional feminist who would love to discuss that with others! As Coordinator LGBTQ Programs & Services I am able to create fun and FABULOUS events, supports, and services collaboratively with Gender & Sexuality Center Staff and it is incredibly fulfilling and provides a great source of JOY in my life!

    I am an OUT & PROUD member of the Rhody Family and I think it is important for marginalized groups to find support and love with one another and in turn create a powerful network that can work together across intersections to accomplish goals, make URI and our world more equitable for ALL groups in society, and to serve as educators for each other and for others. I also find it important to be OUT & PROUD at URI as a visible ally so that those who search for support, know they can count on me and so that I can help to remove the stigma from various identities that we often don’t talk about. So…if anyone is interested in talking to me concerning any of my research and/or teaching areas, to plan an event, to discuss being queer, to discuss being a fierce ally with the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming & Non-Binary communities, and/or to discuss what it is like to live with a disability since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and/or what it is like to live as a queer person with a disability since I hold both identities close to my heart…I would be EXCITED to talk with you and lend my SUPPORT!


    More about Annie:

    I LOVE Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and I live by Peace, Love, Unity, Respect (P.L.U.R.) which are rave culture values. I feel these values coincide in an important way with my identities and with the values of my life. I attend at least 1-5 EDM Festivals/shows per year and I would LOVE to talk to anyone about their love of EDM music and culture! I also ADORE the movies….I go about once a week to the movies and would love to discuss all new movies, shows, and TV. I am also an avid reader and writer of poetry, so if that sparks your interest I would love to discuss that with you as well!!:) And…I LOVE and ADORE COFFEE more than ANYTHING!!!:) I am ALWAYS excited about having coffee!!

Kristina Moyet

Kristina Moyet

Lesbian
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Associate Director, Academic Programming and Assessment
Talent Development
Taft 205
(401) 874-4218
kristinamoyet@uri.edu

  • What motivates Kristina to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I remember my undergrad career at URI. I didn’t know who my allies were. I didn’t know where to go or who I should talk to. I wanted to feel like I had community and sense of belonging on campus. 
    I want to be visible and available for students across campus. 
    There IS community at URI. 
    I am here for you.


    More about Kristina:

    “It may not always be easy, but it will always be worth it.” -Author Unknown

Holly Nichols

Holly Nichols

Lesbian
Co-Chair of the President’s LGBTQ Commission
Facilitator of the LBTQ Women’s Group
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Clinical Counselor
Counseling Center
217 Roosevelt Hall
(401)874-2288
hjnichols@uri.edu

  • What motivates Holly to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I remember how affirming it was to see and know other lgbtq people when I was first coming out (and now even) and I want to provide that reassurance to our students and other faculty and staff.   I also think that a sense of community is important and am excited about the potential of this project to build even more of that on campus.

    More about Holly:
    I am passionate about organic gardening, social justice, time with family and friends, my rescue dogs, and my job!

Becky Pearlson

Becky Pearlson

Queer
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

University Psychologist
Counseling Center
217 Roosevelt Hall
(401)874-2288
rpearlson@uri.edu

  • What motivates Becky to be Out and Proud on campus:

    Having role models who identified as LGBTQ+ throughout my education and training helped me develop a sense of community that I had never previously experienced. I’m excited to have the opportunity to give back by providing the same sense of support and visibility to students, faculty, and staff in the URI community.

    More about Becky:
    I enjoy baking, spending time with my two rambunctious Bengal cats, and connecting with friends and family in my spare time.

Rosie Pegueros

Rosie (Rosa Maria) Pegueros

Lesbian
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Associate Professor
History
Washburn 109
(401) 874-4092
pegueros@uri.edu

  • What motivates Rosie to be Out and Proud on campus:

    We are everywhere. Especially in an era when the national leadership is trying to turn back time, it is important for us to stand out proudly.

    More about Rosie:
    Interests: 1) Grandson Yosefi. 2) Music: I publish a weekly blog on opera and classical voice, Opera Lovers of Rhode Island, http://operalovers-ri.blogspot.com.  My wife and I are singers in the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra (RICCO). We perform three times a year at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul. 3) I collect pens.

Rosie Pegueros

Jessica Rehling

Queer
Pronouns:  she/her/hers/hey you

Associate Dean of Students for Community Standards
Dean of Students
Adams Hall, Lower Level
(401) 874-2101
jrehling@uri.edu

  • What motivates Jessica to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I didn’t really acknowledge my identity until my senior year of college. The first LGBT student group meeting I went to, I knew EVERYONE! Turns out I had found my people without even knowing myself. They were so understanding and we had a big laugh. I hope to be that for others.

    I have advised multiple LGBTQ+ student groups in my career, hosted a number of queer events (drag shows, queer prom, pride parade), and participated & instituted various Lavender Graduation ceremonies at other campuses.

Jen Riley

Jen Riley

Lesbian
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Dean
College of Arts & Sciences
Chafee 257
(401)874-4101
jen_riley@uri.edu

  • What motivates Jen to be Out and Proud on campus:

    To be a role model for students, as well as a visible part of the LGBTQ community on campus. Being visible is one way we stand up to the culture of heteronormativity. As a Professor of English and Gender & Women’s Studies, I often teach about sexuality and gender in my courses, especially in GWS courses on feminist theory. Part of my own published scholarship is on American Poet Adrienne Rich, who is well known for her essay on compulsory heterosexuality and the Dream of a Common Language in 1978 that includes a section titled “Twenty-One Love Poems” on love between women

Jen Riley

Annie Russell

Lesbian, Masculine Presenting
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Director
Gender & Sexuality Center
19 Upper College Road
(401) 874-2203
annierussell@uri.edu

  • What motivates Annie to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I hope to be a resource and motivating factor for other people on campus. I want people to know that queer people not only exist at URI, but are out, proud, and celebrating their lives.

    I have over 15 years of experience doing advocacy and social justice work, particularly in higher education. I’ve worked with a number of diversity issues through the years and focus on intersectionality, LGBTQ student development, students of color, and social justice in my research and practice.

Amanda Self

Amanda Self

Queer
Pronouns:  she/her/hers

Graduate Assistant
Office of Community, Equity and Diversity
Gender & Sexuality Center
(401) 874-9531
amandaself@uri.edu

  • What motivates Amanda to be Out and Proud on campus:

    A project like this would have made a big difference for me in college and could have given me the strength I needed to live more authentically as myself. I hope that this project does just that for students in our community here at URI.

Holly Nichols

Richard Song

Gay
Member of the President’s LGBTQ Commission
Co-Facilitator of the GBTQ Men’s Group
Pronouns: he/him/his

Assistant Director
Center for Career and Experiential Education
225 Roosevelt Hall
(401)874-7281
rsong@uri.edu

  • What motivates Richard to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I want to serve as a resource for not only students, but also for faculty and staff on this campus. We all come to terms with our identity at different times and I want to help those who are in the process of finding themselves. I have been very fortunate that I can always be my true and authentic self at URI.

    More about Richard:

    I like to cook and bake. I’m always trying new baking recipes. I also like to travel with my husband whether it’s local or international. Hanging out with friends is also something that I enjoy.

     

     

Niko Tracksdorf

Niko Tracksdorf

Gay
Pronouns: he/him/his

Coordinator
International Engineering Program
TI House, Room 115
(401)874-7281
tracksdorf@uri.edu

  • What motivates Niko to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I want to serve as a role model and resource for LGBTQ students and colleagues

    More about Niko:

    I enjoy traveling, roller coasters (I’ve been on over 200), and cooking.

     

     

Annemarie Vaccaro

Annemarie Vaccaro

Queer
Former Co-Chair of the President’s LGBTQ Commission
Professor & researcher focused on oppression, advocacy and activism of LGBTQ college students, staff & faculty
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Associate Professor and Program Director
Human Development & Family Studies
Quinn Hall 220
(401) 874-2270
avaccaro@uri.edu

  • What motivates Annemarie to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I wished I had out queer role models when I was a student. My goal is to be visible, out and supportive to LGBTQ students and employees at URI and in the student affairs profession.

    My research, teaching and service all include LGBTQ topics and people. My teaching and research both include a focus on oppression, advocacy and activism of LGBTQ college students, staff and faculty. I also volunteer my time in service (e.g., training, workshops, presentations, committees, commissions) to the university and my profession in order to foster social justice.

    More about Annemarie:

    I’m an avid reader who loves dogs and the beach.

Robert Vincent

Robert Vincent

Gay
Member of the President’s LGBTQ Commission
Co-Facilitator of the GBTQ Men’s Group
Pronouns: he/him/his

Coordinator
Center for Student Leadership Development
210 Memorial Union
(401) 894-9013
robertvincent@uri.edu

  • What motivates Robert to be Out and Proud on campus:

    Being visible on campus allows me to be my authentic self. That is a message that I want to share with other faculty and staff members. I also want to be visible for students so that they know they always have someone they can come to.

    Being visible is knowing you belong and that you are a valued member of the URI community.

Michael Vocino

Michael Vocino

Gay
Pronouns: he/him/his

Professor
Library
Rm 260 Carothers Library
(401) 874-4605
vocino@uri.edu

  • What motivates Michael to be Out and Proud on campus:

    The need for the visibility of lgbtq students, staff, and faculty.

Jean Walton

Jean Walton

Queer/Lesbian
Co-Founder (in 1995) of URI’s LGBTQ Symposium
Extensive queer-focused teaching and advocacy
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Professor
English, GWS, Film Media
Swan 108
(401) 480-2005
jwalton@uri.edu

  • What motivates Jean to be Out and Proud on campus:

    I have been an out queer faculty member since 1993, when I was hired into the English Department at URI. As an early member of the famed Committee to Eliminate Heterosexism and Homophobia (affectionately nick-named the H and H committee), and co-founder of URI’s LGBTQ conference way back in the nineties, I’ve long been an enthusiastic advocate of queer being and queer studies on this campus. I’ve taught the English Department’s Gay and Lesbian Lit course, and often focus on gender and sexuality in my other literature and theory courses, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

    As one of the Undergraduate Advisors for the English Major, I welcome visits from any student interested in exploring the multiform ways that literature can enrich our lives, and help us to take a deeply considered critical perspective on the world we live in.  I’m also working to make sure that our English courses contribute to the new Minor in Queer Studies, and that we can offer a program that is as rigorous as it is inclusive.

Hannah Woodhouse

Hannah Woodhouse

Queer
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Assistant Coordinator of Violence Prevention and Advocacy Services
Women’s Center
22 Upper College Road
(401) 874-4042
hcwoodhouse@uri.edu

  • What motivates Hannah to be Out and Proud on campus:

    A network of visibility and proper allies is incredibly important to recognize people we can turn to in times of need. It’s also vital to realize that not all identities are worn outside of the self so we as a community shouldn’t assume we know others without allowing them to define themselves.



You can also visit our “Out and Proud Allies” Page

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