International student to return home with RIC degree

International student Lorenzo Crumbie, 23, chose to attend RIC to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology for several reasons – family, proximity, the cost of tuition, the popularity of the college’s biology program and his experiences and interactions with members of the Admissions Office.

Lorenzo Crumbie
Crumbie, a biology major, will graduate on May 21, while also preparing to return to his home in Jamaica to attend medical school.

On Sept. 10, 2008, Crumbie left Jamaica and arrived in Rhode Island two weeks after classes had begun at RIC, late because of a hurricane that hit the islands.

Crumbie was faced with some cultural differences in his transition from life in Jamaica to living in Rhode Island.

“I was raised in what I like to call a Jamerican culture. It’s a bit of a mix between the tradition Jamaican culture and American practices,” said Crumbie, who explained that growing up he was exposed to American movies, cartoons and news in Jamaica, and he and his friends would play basketball, baseball and football along with the traditional sports of cricket and soccer. Also, family vacations had taken him to the U.S. and Canada.

He had taken several college-level exams in Jamaica, which propelled him one year ahead, and allowed him to graduate after three years at RIC.

During his time at RIC, Crumbie was involved with campus life and activities. He was a mentor at the Henry Barnard School, the secretary of the visiting international student’s organization, a member of the Student Life Committee and an Admissions tour guide and office worker, he said.

“I always love working the Admissions’ guidance counselor tours … That’s how I learned that my guidance counselor from Jamaica, Mrs. Sandra Riley, came on that exact tour. If she didn’t, I would have never learned about RIC,” said Crumbie.

These tours, Crumbie said, are given by the Admissions Office to high school guidance counselors who visit RIC and then report back to their students suggesting RIC as a potential college choice.

At RIC, Crumbie conducted a significant amount of research with RIC chemistry professor John Williams.

Crumbie spent time visiting the pathology research lab at Children's Hospital Boston during the 2011 spring break. While there, Crumbie was able to examine and extract DNA from tissue samples.
“We’re synthesizing polymers that have antibiotics bound to them. [I] actually just submitted my thesis this week for the departmental honors, and will be defending it in a few weeks,” said Crumbie. “The hope is to create a biomaterial that can reduce the proliferation of biofilms.”

Crumbie also worked with Williams on a poster project centered on chemistry for preventing and combating disease, which was displayed at the American Chemical Society conference in Boston, Mass.

He attended several biology conferences for his work with Williams, including the Eastern Colleges Science conference, the Providence College American Chemical Society conference and the California Institute of Technology Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

Now, as he prepares to graduate, Crumbie is grateful for the friendships and networking that he has built since he has been here, he said.

A message from Kenneth Kinsey, RIC professor of biology, still resonates with Crumbie as he prepares to complete his time at RIC.

“Dr. Kinsey always said that learning should be something that is active and not just a process of regurgitating information,” said Crumbie. “That has really stuck with me since my first year here. It’s challenged me to actively seek out knowledge, not just find out if something is right, but to find out why it’s right.”

Crumbie is currently waiting to hear back on his application to the University of West Indies in Jamaica, where he plans to attend medical school after graduation.

“The reason I came to college is because of the society that we’re living in, where education is such an important part of being successful,” said Crumbie.

“My parting words to students: keep focused on why you are here. Live, love, laugh, but remember why you came to college.”