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.

For identical twins McKenna ’24 and Drew ’24 Castleberry (Wiess), Rice has provided a treasure trove of possibilities and resources that have encouraged each of them to set ambitious goals and explore their academic interests. Their mantra throughout the past three years has been to remain curious, explore fearlessly and seize every opportunity. From studying abroad in Italy to working summer internships, the twins have gained a deeper understanding of themselves, their potential and how to make their way in the world.

Roy Phillips is no stranger to making the most of the opportunities that Rice has granted him. Since spending his undergraduate years at Rice, he is now working diligently towards getting his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering. As he reflects on his time at Rice, he can see the many ways Rice has helped him work towards his biggest dreams.

Myritney Saint-Cloud ’23, a cognitive science major, is passionate about research, providing personalized medical care and breaking through biases and prejudice in the medical field. She has always imagined a future of providing medical support to women, communities of color and children — and she is working towards making her dream of becoming an OB/GYN or pediatric surgeon a reality. Having access to scholarships, exceptional educational opportunities and supportive and encouraging parents has empowered her to thrive both in and out of the classroom.

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.

David Courtwright Ph.D. ’79 and Shelby Miller first met when he was a graduate student in history at Rice and she was the art librarian on campus. Their individual and shared experiences at Rice — and later as parents of an Owl — inspired them to pledge $300,000 toward scholarship funding as part of the Rice Annual Fund’s 24-Hour Challenge.

Priyanka Senthil ’25 was doing research on lung cancer for a thoracic surgeon for Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in 2021 when she realized that more lung cancer screenings meant earlier detection and better outcomes. This set her on a path of advocacy that complements her ongoing medical research.

When Katharine Bonilla ’25 was in elementary school in Chicago, she struggled to find the support she needed academically and didn’t feel accepted at school. Then in middle school, two teachers stood out from the rest and provided her with the mentorship she needed to thrive academically and socially. Now, she wants to help others follow in her footsteps.

Isabel Wang ’26 unlocked a new passion when she laced up her first pair of ice skates as a young child, and she’s been a figure skater and coach ever since. She’s now spreading her love for skating across Rice and Houston in a new way.

When Alex Han ’24 was growing up, he was fascinated by his Korean great grandmother’s stories about surviving the Korean War and Japan’s annexation of Korea. Then, when he was in fifth grade, the stories stopped. He now knows that she developed dementia, and Alzheimer’s was robbing her of her stories — and their time together. This inspired his passion for Alzheimer’s research and his vision of a future as a physician and researcher. Opportunities at Rice are making his dreams come true.

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Development & Alumni Relations
P.O. BOX 1892
Houston, Texas 77251-1892

Phone: 713-348-4991

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