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RIC student receives John H. Chafee Award for public service


Mariama Kurbally, center, with RIC President Nancy Carriuolo and Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

RIC senior Mariama Kurbally received the John H. Chafee Award, which recognizes an exemplary RIC undergraduate student who has demonstrated involvement and leadership in public and community service.

The award was presented on Sept. 16 at the Rhode Island State House, with Gov. Lincoln Chafee in attendance. His father, John Chafee was the 66th governor of Rhode Island, secretary of the Navy and a U.S. senator.


Kurbally was selected for her work on campus and in the community. At RIC, she founded the student organization L.I.F.E. (Live. Inspire. Fight. Educate.) that addresses common global concerns with a positive, transforming approach.

The organization gives its members a holistic understanding of pertinent social issues and fosters a multi-faceted network of organizations through partnerships with the college and the community at large, she explained.


Mariama Kurbally received the John H. Chafee Award from RIC professor Thomas Schmeling at the State House on Sept. 16. The two stand in front of a portrait of the late John Chafee.


Last year, she coordinated a full-day LIFE Diversity Conference which drew students from JWU, CCRI, Brown University, Providence College, and North Providence High School, offering workshops and showcasing RIC as an institution that supports diversity and values academic excellence informed by cultural inquiry, civic engagement and co-curricular activities.

In addition, Kurbally is a volunteer for the North Providence Youth Alliance, an AIDS Project R.I. campus liaison, an intern for Smithfield representative Tom Winfield, and a former intern for Rhode Island for Community Justice.

“Mariama Kurbally's public service during her career at Rhode Island College has been truly exemplary, said Thomas Schmeling, chair of RIC’s Political Science Department who presented Kurbally with the Chafee Award. "The Political Science Department is gratified that her service is being given public recognition by this award.”