Mary Brantley ’26

Mary Brantley is an Honors Student studying Marine Biology and Marine Affairs, and is also one of our Honors Ambassadors. 

Tell us a little about yourself: Where are you from? What drew you to URI? 

I am from Charlotte, North Carolina and I came to URI for the marine biology program. The opportunities that this program has provided me were much better than some of the more local programs I applied to and it helped that I have always wanted to live in the Northeast. I knew I was going to be on the coast due to my preferred major but as soon as I came to URI for an admitted students day, I knew that this was the school for me.

How have your Honors classes helped you integrate and “springboard” into the university and beyond? 

My Honors classes really helped me get to know both other students and my professors well. The Honors program honestly felt like a safety net in terms of I knew I could always ask people for help and I could take classes I was interested in even if they weren’t related to my major. Honors also helped me sort of decide how I want my academic path to go throughout my four years at URI; the staff really helped me determine what honors classes to take and when, as well as helped me explore outside academic opportunities.

How has your Honors education helped you to think differently about topics within or outside of your major or other area of study? Has it introduced you to new concepts or ways of thinking? Has it changed the way you thought about an important issue? 

My Honors education helped me think differently about the topics presented in my classes because in my Honors classes, we would approach the material differently than we would in a regular lecture. These varied approaches to learning helped me work through the course material better because I felt more connected to the issues presented in the class. Critical thinking questions became my best friend over the course of this year and it helped me understand and retain the material much better.

As you completed your Honors course(s), what are ways that you feel it helped prepare you for life after URI?

Completing my Honors courses felt different than completely some of my regular courses because I retained much more of the information. This made me feel more prepared for life after URI because a lot of the critical thinking we did in my Honors courses could easily be applied to real life situations. Everything we learned in my Honors courses applies to the real world and I am more appreciative of that fact than I initially thought I would be.

What are your short and long term plans post graduation?

Post graduation I want to get my master’s degree and begin working in the field. I would prefer to do marine biology research for as long as possible, but I would also like to work for NOAA, the EPA, Oceana, and other environmental/marine conservation agencies.