Austin, Texas native and second-ever sophomore elected as SA president.

“I’m telling the honest truth when I say that getting an education from Rice has been a dream of mine since I was 12 years old,” says Student Association President-elect Ariana Engles ’20 (Lovett).

In fact, as Ariana was cleaning out her closet in preparation for moving into her freshman dorm, she found a poster board from 2009 that included a list of ten goals. The first goal was to get a puppy, and the second was to go to Rice University. “My club swim coach, Kay Gerken ’83, and her husband, Chris Gerken ’82, went to Rice, and they would talk about how much they loved the school all the time,” she remembers. “I was impressed by how they described their academic experiences above anything else, so I felt that Rice was exactly the place I needed to be.”

Quickly after moving into Lovett College, Ariana’s already high expectations were exceeded and more. “There is such a strong sense of community here at Rice at a level that I haven’t seen anywhere else,” she notes. Where she found care and support among her peers, she also found support in the academic arena. “I think I expected more of a treatment that you would receive in large lecture-style classes, or that of a larger institution, but Rice students receive a much more personalized education than that.”

Ariana was then eager to participate in various campus advocacy projects, and she hit the ground running with a number of organizations and activities, like volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and representing her class as a Student Association senator.

“I want to make sure that every single student feels welcome and comfortable. I want Rice to be the best place possible.” — Ariana Engles ’20 (Lovett)

These activities were all stepping stones to running for SA president. “My passion is to advocate for all of my fellow students,” says the president-elect. “I am ready and excited to use this position as a catalyst for making a difference on campus.”

As she prepares for this upcoming role, Ariana is grateful for the support of Rice donors who continue to invest in her success by strengthening the student experience. “I would also encourage alumni and other donors to keep giving,” she adds. “It’s their generosity that has allowed Rice to flourish, and I hope that they see that their donations are directly benefitting the student body.”

Thank you for making the university and its students a philanthropic priority this year and for choosing to give through the Rice Annual Fund!


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