Maddie O’Neill ’20

Hometown: Foxboro, Massachusetts
Specialization: Health Promotion

Why URI?

I first chose URI because I was looking for a smaller state university and I also wanted to stay relatively close to home. The fact that it was practically on the beach definitely aided in that decision! It was after my first tour that I could fully see myself fitting in with the campus’ dynamic. Everyone was so helpful and relaxed; I was comfortable almost instantly!

Why did you major in health studies?

When I first got to URI, I was a nursing major and came to realize that nursing was not for me and my advisor had mentioned potentially changing my major to health studies. I was interested in a non-clinical role within the healthcare field and I am beyond happy that I was able to make that change so easily.

What do you consider to be the greatest strength of Health Studies?

I consider health studies’ greatest strength is the broad spectrum of classes you can choose to take. I personally love math and science classes, so I picked more business, kinesiology, and anatomy classes. I liked all of the options I had, which helped me figure out what I was passionate about but also what really wasn’t my favorite.

Did you complete an internship?

I completed an internship through the ITR Internship Program at URI. I learned SO much and found myself applying things I was learning in class at the time. I highly recommend the ITR program as I significantly grew my network, preparing me to find a job post-graduation.

What experiential learning opportunities have you had at URI?

URI does a phenomenal job preparing their students for the job search after graduation. I have been to multiple on-campus seminars about building my resume, mock interviews, and network building strategies, to name a few. The ITR Program was by far the most useful experiential learning opportunity I have had.

Any advice for majors?

I came to URI dead set that I wanted to be a nurse. Half way through nursing school, I changed my mind. If you don’t completely love what you’re doing, never be afraid to talk to your advisor about your options! I was scared at first but it ended up being the best decision of my life thus far!

What surprised you the most about URI?

Looking back, I was most surprised that the URI faculty truly wanted to see you succeed and were happy to help you do that however they could. I heard all through high school from my teachers that, “In college, teachers won’t care if you’re sick” or “Teachers won’t care if you don’t understand the work, you have to take it upon yourself to get the help”. I quickly came to realize that this was not the slightest bit true. All of the professors that I have had would hold office hours, set up times for private meetings, and more. The URI faculty truly helped me to succeed at the University of Rhode Island and I am forever grateful!