Selected alumni profiles.
Class Acts Profiles
Cynthia Davis Sculco '65
Music, Medicine, and Rhode Island
Music, medicine, and Rhode Island are three cornerstones of Cynthia Sculco's life. A 1965 graduate of URI's nursing program, she earned an M.Ed. and Ed.D. from Columbia University Teachers College and lives in New York City.
Dr. Sculco's impressive nursing and teaching credentials include work with Presbyterian Hospital, New York University, and Hunter College, where she was the coordinator of the graduate medical-surgical nursing program. She is also a past president of the Nurse's Educational Fund, a national organization that provides scholarships for nurses in graduate programs.
Currently, she is an adjunct associate professor of nursing at New York University, and in her "spare time" she is the president of Nurse Ed. Communications, Inc., which runs programs for advanced practice nurses.
A native of Westerly whose lineage traces back 13 generations to Roger Williams, Cynthia retains close ties to Rhode Island. Her mother, Dorothy Gould Davis '37, still lives in Westerly. Cynthia and her husband, Thomas, the director of orthopedic surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery, met in the 9th grade at Westerly High School. The couple own the historic Wilcox Tavern in Charlestown. Cynthia is also an active and enthusiastic music supporter both in New York City and Rhode Island.
Cynthia has fond memories of her time at URI. "There were only 16 people in my nursing class, but it was a super program," she said. She is thrilled with the growth of the nursing program and believes that URI is one of the state's great resources. "It's amazing how many people have graduated from URI and gone on to great things. A lot of people could not have afforded to go to school if not for a state university. URI has a mission, and I think it has never lost sight of that."
Although she's too humble to admit it, Cynthia Sculco can take pride in the fact that she, too, is a URI graduate who has made a difference.
--Jennifer Sherwood '89
Russell Ferretti '66
The New York City region is connected by an intricate system of transportation that moves hundreds of thousands of people around the area each day. Without this vital network, the city that never sleeps would come to a screeching halt.
"I travel from near Princeton, N.J., to New York City every day, and I think the system is a wonderful way to get around," says Russell Ferretti, who isn't your typical New York commuter. He's the assistant director of quality assurance at Metro-North Railroad, which serves over 60 million riders a year.
After earning his degree in civil engineering from URI, Ferretti spent 20 years working for private companies in both construction and engineering. Eventually, deciding he would like to settle down in one place, he interviewed at Metro-North. " Interestingly, while I was interviewing I ran into my Sigma Pi fraternity brother Dave Jacobs '67, who was already a Metro-North employee. So it worked out quite nicely, and here I am," reminisced Ferretti.
"When I first came to Metro-North, I was doing project management. After three or four years, they started a quality assurance group and I was awarded the job that I've been in for 10 years now," said Ferretti. "Quality assurance means you put processes in place to make sure that when a product is delivered or a project is built, it's right." And that's not an easy job; in the next year Ferretti and his four person staff will handle over 9,080 capital improvement projects for the railroad worth almost $400 million.
Although Ferretti's workload may seem overwhelming, he enjoys his job. "It's an interesting place to work because you're focused on customers and providing a service," he said.
As a New York City commuter myself, I appreciate and applaud his extraordinary effort.
--Jennifer Sherwood '89
Jonathan S. Allen '77
In Hollywood, there are horse whisperers. In real life, there are horse healers. Jonathan Allen '77, is one of them.
Dr. Allen runs a veterinary clinic in Boca Raton, Fla., specializing in equine medicine. Although he doesn't ride, Allen has been mesmerized by horses since his days as a student at URI, where he studied animal science and spent much of his free time with the horses at Peckham Farm.
After graduating from URI, Dr. Allen went on to receive a D.V.M. degree from the University of the Philippines. He returned to the U.S., ultimately settling in Florida, where in 1986 he opened his own veterinary practice.
Dr. Allen's specialty is racehorses, and he treats his patients with both traditional and non-traditional methods. He is one of a handful of veterinarians who uses acupuncture and chiropractic medicine on horses to cure their illnesses and help them perform better.
According to Dr. Allen, the benefits of these forms of treatment for both the horses and their trainers are great. "Unlike other forms of treatment or medicine, which are illegal to administer before a race, acupuncture can be performed on the horse up to the race day," he says.
When Dr. Allen performs acupuncture on his equine patients, he is restoring the balance of chi (energy flow) through their bodies. By running the hub of a needle over specific areas of a horse's body, he can feel where the energy flow is stagnated or disrupted. He then inserts a hypodermic needle filled with vitamin B12 into the appropriate acupuncture points (also known as meridians) to correct the problem.
Though it's a demanding job that requires 14-hour days, Dr. Allen still loves his work. "It's my passion. I consider these horses part of my extended family," he says.
Annette DeSilva '81
Annette DeSilva's career reflects her love of the ocean. After receiving her degree in mechanical engineering, she joined the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I., andworked on naval systems aboard surface ships. After eight years at NUWC, she learned that URI was receiving a grant to host the UNOLS (University-National Oceanographic Laboratory Systems) office. She applied for and won the assistant executive secretary position there.
UNOLS is an organization of 61 academic institutions and laboratories involved in the coordination of oceanographic ship schedules and research facilities.
DeSilva works directly with the UNOLS Council and its committees helping to develop reports, ship evaluations, and research plans. She edits the UNOLS newsletter, which is distributed to over 1,600 subscribers; prepares articles, reports, and news releases; and oversees the organization's Web site.
In addition, DeSilva helps coordinate global workshops, such as the 1998 International Marine Technician Symposium, which drew 150 experts from around the world, and a 1999 workshop on "Developing Submergence Science in the Next Decade."In 1994, DeSilva was asked to take on an assignment at the Office of Naval Research as an interim program manager. "This was a terrific opportunity for me to get involved in the construction of the Fleet's two newest vessels, the Revelle and Atlantis," remarked DeSilva. "I visited the shipyard often during their construction."
While it is challenging, DeSilva finds her work deeply rewarding. "My job has offered me so many opportunities. I have had the pleasure to work with scientists, engineers and technicians from across the country, and to see first-hand the research ships and facilities."
DeSilva and her husband, Michael Rauh '81, a banker with Washington Trust Company, are the busy parents of Ben, aged 4, who also enjoys the ocean.
Stacey Goryl '92
Jane and Peter Fonda. Joan and John Cusack. Stacey and David Goryl. What do these duos have in common? They are famous Hollywood siblings. Well, maybe the Goryls are not as famous as the Fondas, but just give them time.
Stacey Goryl, a speech communications major and theatre minor from Woonsocket, R.I., has lived in California since 1995. Along with her brother, Goryl is developing a solid résumé in television and film. Unlike many who daydream about stardom, Goryl is pursuing an acting career. She hones her craft at scene study classes and retains both a commercial and theatrical agent.
Interestingly, her successes to date are the results of the Goryls' networking efforts. Through her job at the Sports Club/LA, she met the co-creator/writer for NYPD Blue, who gave her a chance to read for an episode, and she was cast as Andy Sipowicz's (Dennis Franz) nurse.
Three years ago, the Goryls met Peter and Bobby Farrelly, sibling filmmakers and fellow Rhode Islanders, at an awards ceremony. That introduction led to auditions for There's Something About Mary. While Goryl did not get cast, she kept in contact, hoping for a role in another Farrelly film. In March, her perseverance paid off. A casting agent for the upcoming Say It Isn't So called to tell her she had landed a role as a flight attendant. The role is small, but it is a speaking part that gives her the chance to act with Chris Klein (American Pie, Election).
In Hollywood, where approximately 10 percent of the 90,000 actors and actresses are working, this role is a golden opportunity for Goryl.
"I'm pursuing a dream that I've had for a long time," she says. "Even if I don't make it ultimately, I'll never have to ask myself, 'What if...."
--Maria V. Caliri '86, M.B.A. '92
Brendan Carson '93
A Man For All Seasons
Describing Brendan Carson in one word is impossible. There is no English word that embodies writer, river raft guide, teacher, and cigar store owner. Yet, Carson holds all of these titles--simultaneously!
After earning a bachelor's degree in history from URI and a master's degree in teaching from the University of Alaska Southeast, Carson moved to Pusan, Korea, to teach English. His 18-month stay in Asia inspired him to write Tug of War: A Love Story, a romance and adventure novel about an American man who falls in love with a Korean woman during his Asian travels. "It's not autobiographical, but I did draw upon my experiences," says Carson. He is now promoting his first book, which was published by Rutledge and became available on Amazon.com in July.
As Carson was writing the novel in Newtown, Conn., his hometown, he supported himself through teaching assignments and by opening, with friends, the Red Rooster Tobacconist, a cigar store and lounge. "It's a great place to enjoy a fine cigar and a cognac," he says. Though successful, Carson opted to become a silent business partner because he missed his "other hometown," Juneau, Alaska.
Back in Alaska, Carson resumed work as a river raft guide, a summer job he held while earning his graduate degree. When rafting season ended, he taught computer and office skills at a vocational school.
Is this Carson's last stop? Hardly! "My contract ends in June, so I'll work on the river during the summer, come back to the East Coast for the holidays, and work as a river raft guide on the Rio Grande in Texas next winter." Another novel is a possibility, but for a while, Carson will simply flow with the rivers.
--Maria V. Caliri '86, M.B.A. '92