Recent URI Engineering, Computer Science Graduate Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship – URI News

KINGSTON, RI – August 4, 2022 – Raymond Turrisi, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island in May with a dual degree in mechanical engineering and computer science, received a scholarship from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest . and the most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Turrisi was among 62 recipients nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi scholarship.

As a Phi Kappa Phi Scholar, Turrisi, from West Warwick, is pursuing a doctorate. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutes Joint Program.

“I am grateful to have been selected for the scholarship. Winning a scholarship from an honor society such as Phi Kappa Phi means that not only did you join because you felt you fit the mission and core values ​​of the organization, but that after having had the chance to learn more about you, they have chosen to recognize and sponsor your academic ambitions, said Turrisi, who received an $8,500 award. “What is unique about the Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship is that it is a cash payment given directly to the beneficiary. It is up to you how you use it for what, you think best supports your higher education and career.The scholarships they provide to 62 recipients each year can be a life-changing amount to receive right after graduation.

The first in his family to go to college, Turrisi has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments at URI, in the classroom and research lab, and in extracurricular activities – all while balancing education with a near-to-life work schedule. full-time.

In her sophomore year, Turrisi began research in marine robotics and automation as part of the Smart Ocean Systems Lab at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Among his research projects, he designed a versatile autonomous underwater vehicle and developed a tilting differential thruster. He also participated in the URI Engineering Capstone Design program, a year-long team project in which students produce an engineering solution to a real-world challenge. Turrisi helped develop an automated malting system for a small local craft brewery.

In addition to publishing two papers and winning numerous undergraduate research grants, Turrisi received a Barry Goldwater Fellowship, one of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate awards, and was awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship summer URI and a nine-month stipend to expand his research. .

Among his extracurricular activities, Turrisi served as captain of the URI Hydrobotics club, helping to grow membership from 7 to 29, and as a project manager for the student club URI Engineers for a Sustainable World. He was also vice president of the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi, for which he organized the tutoring of more than 70 engineering students, at a time when most undergraduate courses were online in due to the pandemic. In his senior year, he received a Tau Beta Pi Graduate Fellowship – one of approximately 30 awards given annually to more than 300 applicants from engineering schools across the United States.

In June, Turrisi began a full assistantship in the joint MIT-Woods Hole doctoral program, among the most prestigious oceanographic research institutions in the world. He works at the MIT Autonomy Lab, where he will specialize in autonomy and robotics for marine applications.

“I hope to dedicate my career to the field of robotics, in areas that improve the way robots engage with the human world around our homeless ergonomics and perform tasks that humans are not adept at,” Turrisi said in an academic profile in May. “Some tasks need to be performed in harsh or dangerous environments, and require robust autonomy, such as extraterrestrial and deep-sea exploration. What interests me most is the intersection of artificial intelligence , controls and animation of mechanical systems.

Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines, with chapters at more than 325 colleges and universities in the United States, its territories, and the Philippines. .

Since its inception in 1932, the Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship Program has become one of society’s most visible and financially supported initiatives, awarding $649,000 annually to outstanding students for first-level graduate or professional study. year. The selection process for a scholarship is based on the candidate’s evidence of graduate school potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement from the educational outlook and career goals, and acceptance into an approved graduate or professional program.

To see the full list of 2022 Phi Kappa Phi Fellows, visit

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