When it came time for Alex Cho ’24, a native of Katy, Texas, to start looking at colleges in earnest, Rice's reputation, academic offerings and culture instantly stuck out. But it wasn’t until he toured the campus — and looked up — that he realized it was the perfect place for him.
“It’s hard for me to describe why I fell in love with Rice,” Alex said. “But the thing that left the biggest impression on me was the trees. They give such a special feeling to Rice.”
In fall 2020, Alex was welcomed onto campus as a biochemistry major and planned to pursue a pre-med track. Looking for ways to get involved on campus, Alex was quickly drawn to the Rice Urban Agriculture Club. At home, he had always enjoyed watching his grandmother garden, and the chance to meet new people outdoors during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic excited him.
Over the next two years at Rice, Alex uprooted his academic and professional expectations and began sprouting new ideas of where his passions could take him. He switched his major to biosciences with a concentration in integrative biology, giving him the opportunity to study life from a microscopic scale to a much wider ecological scale. After learning about opportunities offered by the Center for Civic Leadership, Alex applied to be part of the inaugural class of the Gulf Scholars Program and was selected alongside seven other students.
“I was part of a diverse team where we helped communities develop solutions to drainage infrastructure and environmental injustice,” Alex said. “That really changed my career plan and revealed new opportunities for me.”
Alex’s involvement in the Center for Civic Leadership continued to reshape his plans after he was awarded a Loewenstern Fellowship to work in Mexico. “After graduation, I’m thinking about applying for a Fulbright or Wagoner scholarship and possibly enrolling in the Peace Corps afterward,” he said. “I really developed this international lens through the CCL my sophomore and junior year.”
Although these experiences have exposed Alex to new possibilities after graduation, he says that the resources on campus are what laid the foundation to get there.
“Rice nudges you and supports you whenever you're discovering and developing your own passions as a student and as a person,” Alex said. “And I realized they really do emphasize Unconventional Wisdom, and I've really enjoyed making my own weird twists and turns through college in terms of opportunities or classes that I originally thought had no purpose in my degree plan or for career planning.”
In addition to the supportive advisors and professors on campus, Alex says The Rice Investment, the university’s generous financial aid policy, and generous scholarship donors have allowed him to explore all the university has to offer and what paths lie ahead.
“I’m very grateful for the Rice Investment and the funding the school provides. Just having that weight off my shoulders has allowed me to enjoy my time at Rice and have more freedom and peace of mind while I learn and plan for the future.”
Following graduation, Alex plans on doing environmental sustainability work in Latin America and possibly attending graduate school. When he isn’t in class, you can find him hanging out with the chickens in the holistic garden and enjoying walks under the meandering, arched limbs of our campus oaks.
With generous support from the Rice Annual Fund, the university offers Alex and other Owls the best in financial aid, residential college life, student activities, research and more. Learn more how your gift to the Rice Annual Fund can make an impact in students’ lives.