News and Stories

Rice Owls are known for their inspired ingenuity, passionate pursuit of excellence and endless exploration of new ideas. Here are just a few examples of how members of our Rice community are putting Rice’s values into action long after they leave campus.

When Lorelei Dearing ’23 toured the Rice campus during high school, the Houston-native knew it was her dream school. At the time, though, it was not clear to her how she would afford a secondary degree. “College is expensive. My mother is a schoolteacher, and my father is a mechanic, so it felt really unfair for me to expect them to support me when I have three other siblings,” she says. “Receiving my acceptance to Rice was a blessing, but the immediate concern was ‘how do I pay for this?’”

Like many Owls before her, senior Jordyn Wainscott fell in love with Rice after a campus tour. Knowing that she would need a full scholarship to attend college, she became even more enamored after learning about The Rice Investment, the university’s generous financial aid policy.

When Jason Lopez ’19 (Brown) turned 16 years old, he started working alongside his mother at a local carwash. He was young, active, full of energy and ready to earn some money to help his family.

With an aptitude for math and science, Sebastian Gonzalez ’19 (Lovett) applied to Rice because of its impressive bioengineering program. Growing up in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, Sebastian was not entirely familiar with Houston or the university, but it only took a single campus visit for him to see that Rice was the perfect place to pursue his education.

The global health crisis has presented many unexpected challenges to teaching and learning at Rice, bringing new perspective to the physical, mental, academic and social needs of students. With the generous support of Rice donors, the university’s faculty and staff have been vigilant as ever in their response to COVID-19. We chatted with some of these campus heroes on Zoom to learn more about what they’re doing to continue providing the best in education and ensuring the health and safety of the Rice community.

Situated against the backdrop of the Texas Medical Center, Rice University is playing a vital role in solving critical challenges in medicine, healthcare and public policy. Rice faculty are not just thinking about the future of health, they are researching, writing and testing tools, procedures and policies that will directly affect the health of our families and communities in the foreseeable future.

How can we close an achievement gap that is already present in lower-income children by age five? Which interventions can nurture brain development from birth? These questions and others, which Sarah Asson ’19 spent her fall semester poring over, are central to a twelve-week, brain-building course developed by Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and Harris County’s Women, Infants and Children program. The course is designed to help pregnant women and new mothers learn skills to build their infants’ healthy brains.

As the new dean of undergraduates, Bridget Gorman is uniquely situated to oversee undergraduate curriculum, student life and academic advising. A medical sociologist, she looks for patterns that lead to disparities in health and wellbeing and then proposes solutions that will effect a positive outcome across diverse populations.


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