The 2023-2024 University of Rhode Island Research and Scholarship Photo Contest
is now open.

The University of Rhode Island Magazine, the URI Division of Research and Economic Development magazine, Momentum: Research & Innovation, and the Rhode Island Sea Grant/URI Coastal Institute magazine, 41°N: Rhode Island’s Ocean and Coastal Magazine, are sponsoring a research & scholarship photo contest, open to all current URI faculty, staff, and students. We invite you to enter a photo or digital image of your own research/scholarship in any field.

All entries will be considered for use in University of Rhode Island magazines, websites or other outlets, with credit to the creator.


  • 1st Place – $500 in Amazon gift cards
  • 2nd Place – $250 in Amazon gift cards
  • 3rd Place – $150 in Amazon gift cards


Any URI faculty, staff, or student currently associated with a research/scholarship project at URI.


Winners will be selected by a panel of judges. Photos will be judged based on their quality and interest.

Winners will be announced in April.


  1. All entries must be submitted below by Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.
  2. Individuals may submit more than one entry, but may only win one prize.
  3. Images must be a minimum of 10MB-35MB in size, and may be photographs or other digital images (e.g., model output, x-ray) in .jpg formats only.
  4. Images must be of your own work, or a project that you are affiliated with at URI and have permission to photograph/output must be taken within the last two years.
  5. The photo you submit must be taken by you. Photos of you taken by another photographer are not eligible.
  6. Entry forms must be fully completed for consideration.
  7. By submitting an entry, the photographer grants the right to the University of Rhode Island to publish their photo, agreeing that the photo may be used in print (magazine, newspaper) or electronically (web, social media). Although the photographer may not receive monetary compensation for their photo, they will be credited accordingly.  Employees of 41°N, Momentum and the University of Rhode Island Magazine  are not eligible to enter.
  8. All photos should be taken safely and legally, i.e no trespassing.
  9. All photos must be submitted by a current URI student, faculty or staff member (current: taking classes or employed during the 2023-2024 academic year). 
  10. Prizes are subject to tax.

Please complete the SUBMISSION FORM to be eligible. 

For questions please email: 

Congratulations to the URI Photo Contest winners!

Prior Photo Contest Winners:

1st Place
Michael Corso ’24, aquaculture and fisheries science

At 70 feet below the surface, a rare whitelined toadfish peers out from the darkness to observe a research dive group from URI. Corso captured this photograph of a creature endemic to Belize’s Barrier Reef system while on an aquaculture and fisheries science J-term course in scientific research diving. Corso says, “As an AFS major, I focused on biological survey techniques and underwater photography while collecting real scientific data.” While the toadfish exemplifies the extent of a reef’s ecosystem biodiversity, warming seas and ocean acidification are chipping away at the natural world’s biodiversity and weakening reefs. “The highly specialized animals that rely on these underwater jungles are being impacted directly,” Corso says.

2nd place
Photo Title: LIFE IS A MAZE
Janelle Mercer ’23, marine biology

Mercer took this photo of maze coral off the coast of St. George’s Caye, Belize, roughly 40 feet underwater, during an underwater archaeology class with Anya Hanson, Director, URI Diving Research and Safety Program in Belize. Maze coral is a type of stony coral with a photosynthetic dinoflagellate living within polyps on the coral’s surface, providing coloration. The polyps and their corallite walls have a unique twisting, mazelike formation. Mercer, who earned her AAUS Scientific Research Diver certification on this trip, is preparing for a career in marine biology and conservation.

3rd place
Photo Title: GOT NECTAR?
Julia Vieira, graduate student in plant sciences and entomology

This macro photo shows a brown-belted bumble bee foraging for nectar from common milkweed. The female worker takes a break to re-energize by sucking up the delicious, carbohydrate-filled nectar within the milkweed flower with her long proboscis (tongue). The bumble bee was visiting one of the many milkweed plants within the acres of pollinator plantings on URI’s East Farm. Vieira’s research primarily focuses on assessing bumble bee visitation to various flower species to enhance Rhode Island bumble bee conservation programs by improving floral recommendations for pollinator plantings throughout the state.

Honorable Mention
Olivia Mazzone ’23, marine biology

This photo depicts a comb jellyfish floating amongst seaweed at dusk off the southeast corner of Conanicut Island. “The day that I took this picture was the first time I ever picked up an underwater camera. It was an assignment for a class,” Mazzone says. Her first attempts to photograph anything underwater failed, she says, and she longed to get out of the water and go home. “For whatever reason instead of getting out of the water I lifted my feet and let myself go completely. I became part of the tide, and everything in my view became clear,” she says—including this jellyfish, whom she now considers “a dear friend.”        

“There are things that I understand about the world that I can’t communicate in words,” Mazzone adds, but “to show people life as I see it is an act of love.”

Honorable Mention
Gena Anika ’23, wildlife and conservation biology

This photo is a close-up image of a Bombus impatiens (Common Eastern Bumble Bee) face. The yellow patch of hair on the bee’s face signifies it is male. There are pollen granules present on the bee’s face and you can see the hexagonal lenses (ommatidium) in the compound eyes. Anika used a digital microscope to observe the bee closely to help learn bee characteristics and to identify its species and sex for the class BIO 338 Bees and Pollination.

Honorable Mention
Alyssa Madden ’23, molecular neuroscience

This fluorescence microscopy picture shows the neuromuscular junctions in the calf muscle of a rabbit modeling cerebral palsy. In the Manuel Lab, Madden is looking at the differences in neuromuscular development in a rabbit model of cerebral palsy. Using confocal microscopy, researchers can observe how the structure of the neuromuscular junctions is affected by cerebral palsy, in the hope of better understanding this disorder.