2019 HDF Excellence Award Winners

HDF Excellence Awards are given to outstanding students majoring in HDF who demonstrate academic and professional excellence.

The winners are:

Shannon Mitchell

Shannon is a double major with HDF & Psychology and is a part of the Honors program. Shannon served as undergraduate teaching assistant for Dr. Skye Leedahl.   She was also a research assistant for the Sleep & Mental Health lab, and she currently works for the URI Child Development Center.  She has accepted a spot in the University of Hartford in Connecticut School Psychology master’s degree program that she will start in the fall.


Angela Heltberg

Angela was a highly motivated transfer student who came to the Human Development Department with an open mind and willingness to explore the major. When she entered the major, she wasn’t thinking about working with young children, but along the way she discovered a passion for early childhood education. Angela will begin a Master’s degree in fall of 2019 at the prestigious Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. She will also earn her teaching certificate in early childhood.


Jessica Blakemore

Jessica’s dedication to her studies was also recognized by the university as she has consistently made the Dean’s List and is a recipient of the URI Academic Excellence Award from the College of Education. During many of our interactions, Jessica expressed to me that her goal is to become an elementary school teacher. Her passion to elementary education is noticeable through her previous and current experiences. For instance, she already completed the Praxis Exam for elementary education, she served as a teaching assistant and as student volunteer in various schools across the state, she is currently interning in a first-grade classroom at Richmond Elementary School in Chariho, Rhode Island, and she is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. This organization only admits the top 20% of individuals who are entering the field of education. Furthermore, Jessica’s commitment to teaching was recognized by others outside of the university as she has already accepted a position as a fourth-grade teacher at Blackstone Valley Prep Charter Schools in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Lastly, Jessica’s career goals extend beyond teaching as she in.


Jacqueline Dagle

Jacqueline Dagle is an exceptional student. She holds a GPA of 3.92 and has consistently made the Dean’s List from Fall 2015 – Fall 2018. Her professional experiences include completing a field experience at the PACE Organization of Rhode Island and serving as a student mentor for the Cyber-Seniors program of URI. She will begin law school at the New England School of Law this fall.


Katherine Serra

Katherine completed an Associates degree in early childhood education from Three Rivers College in CT, and started URI’s Finish What You Started Program. She has enjoyed her HDF courses, the professor’s and instructors, and the community of peers at URI. Katherine has said that HDF has been a “good fit” for her and that this major seemed “intuitive” to her. Katherine wants to continue to work with children, she has worked as a director of an extended day program at Pine Point in Stonington, has done Early Head Start home visiting, and currently works as an assistant at Tri County of South County.


Sue Perry