Michelle Fontes-Barros


Assitant Director, Student Diversity Initiatives


College of the Environment and Life Sciences


438 CBLS Building | mfontes@uri.edu | p: 401.874.4616


MA, Adult Education, University of Rhode Island
BA, Communication Studies, University of Rhode Island


Michelle Fontes-Barros was born and raised in RI. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Communication Studies and then worked in both the corporate and non-profit fields after graduation for over 10 years. During that time, she attended graduate school at URI and received her M.A. in the Adult Education in 2011.

Throughout her career, she has always gravitated towards mentoring students in some capacity. When joining the Alumni Relations office at URI, it became clear that her future professional direction would be to support and mentor students; especially those from underrepresented communities. Michelle Fontes-Barros joined the College of the Environment and Life Sciences as the coordinator of student diversity initiatives in September 2012 and is now an assistant director. This position is designed to support and be a resource to students, staff and faculty of color. She was hired to assist in establishing relationships within the college to enhance cultural competencies for the CELS community. She also plans to collaborate with other colleges within and outside of URI to provide opportunities for students through internships, research and scholarships. Her main goal is to provide a structure of support that will help recruit and retain students of color in CELS; both undergraduate and graduate students.
She also is the chair of the CELS Diversity committee, the co-chair of the Alumni of Color Network and is a member of the Academic Diversity Task Force at URI.

Personal Interests

I love to travel, spending time with my family and friends and continuously on the journey to eating better and exercising regularly. I also spend time in my community doing by best to address important concerns by planning action orientated solutions.

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