Jonathan Tarquino ’23 (Duncan) spent most of his childhood in Colombia, moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his family just before high school. There, his schooling was geared toward college prep courses, volunteer hours, AP credits and extracurriculars, and most of his school’s graduates moved on to local universities. Jonathan, however, heard about QuestBridge, a national platform that connects low-income students with leading universities, and he set his sights on academically elite schools outside of Michigan. Rice’s financial aid package was outstanding, and Jonathan remembers thinking that choosing Rice was a “no brainer.”
For the past three years, Jonathan has been studying computer science and business, enjoying college life with the Duncaroos and, more recently, serving as president of the table tennis club at Rice. He sought out the sport as a freshman and helped restart a languishing club. It’s become so successful that last year the team competed in the College Table Tennis National Championships. Jonathan even spearheaded fundraising efforts through the Rice’s 24-Hour Challenge. He and his teammates campaigned, gathered support and fully funded the year’s expenses.
This summer, Jonathan has been working as a consulting intern with EY (Ernst & Young) in Houston, learning how to advise businesses on developing new systems and processes to accommodate business transitions. He prepared for this role in a slightly nontraditional way — by working for the Rice Annual Fund.
In the fall of his junior year, Jonathan accepted a part-time job working with the Telefund — a position that requires calling alumni and asking them to support causes at Rice. Jonathan saw this as an opportunity to learn an essential skill. “I wanted to do consulting, so I needed to learn how to talk to people, to be personable and to connect with them,” he said. “I was also interested in doing something that would make a difference for my peers and myself.”
Jonathan is candid about the very real difference that The Rice Investment and Rice donors have made in his life. “For my friends, becoming a doctor or a software engineer or a lawyer was an expectation. They knew what they wanted to do, and they were tasked with deciding where to do it,” Jonathan explained. “But for me, I didn’t know where I was going or how to get there. I didn’t have a lot of resources. Now I am realizing that the donors who support my scholarship have made all the difference. I’m caught up. I’m at the starting line with everyone else. I’m going to have a Rice degree. I’m going to be hired by a top company. And who knows? I could do anything.”
With generous support from the Rice Annual Fund, the university continues to offer Jonathan and other Owls the best in financial aid, residential college life, student activities, teaching and research. Learn more about how your gift to the Rice Annual Fund can make an impact.