Mary McGunigal ’12

Left Brain/Right Brain

There are theories about left brain and right brain preferences. Mary McGunigal prefers both sides. While attending URI, she has sat comfortably at the intersection of science and the humanities. She can discuss Plato and Cicero and the complexities of the stigma of HIV and AIDS patients with equal ease.

When she received her degree in classical studies at Commencement on May 20, she also delivered the student commencement speech. In September she will enter the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, ranked among the top 20 medical schools in the country.

In her Commencement speech, McGunigal spoke about time and passion: “I see passion in the graceful limbs of dancers in late-night practice, in the glinting brass instruments of the pep band, in the knitted brows topped with orange bandannas of the Humans versus Zombies players.”

Her passion for medicine began flared in a ninth grade anatomy course at the Prout School in Wakefield, R.I. She followed a pre-med program while attending URI as a Centennial Scholar and was admitted to The Mount Sinai Humanities and Medicine Early Acceptance Program as a sophomore.

The Mt. Sinai program allowed McGunigal to shadow doctors from a variety of specialties at Mt. Sinai Hospital every summer, but she hasn’t yet settled on a specialty: “I’m interested in everything,” she says.

She was president of the Classics Society during her senior year at URI, and helped plan movies, museum trips, and lectures for the student organization.

She pounded nails helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house during a spring break and completed an internship at The Miriam Hospital. She was a teaching assistant for Greek 102 and a research assistant in the Honors Program.

URI runs in the McGunigal family genes. Older sister Lisa ’09 is now a graduate student at Penn State, and younger sister Jennifer has just completing her freshman year with a focus on engineering.

—Jan Wenzel ’87