Alicia Selvera ’21 (McMurtry)

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Pre-Med)

In late September 2018, the university announced The Rice Investment, a new financial aid initiative that will greatly expand support for low- and middle-income families and ensure that the most deserving students have the opportunity to realize their full potential. We asked scholarship recipient Alicia Selvera ’21 (McMurtry), a pre-med student, about her perspective on The Rice Investment and how undergraduate scholarships have had an impact on her future.

Scholarships made it possible for you and other students to attend Rice. What does that mean to you?

It means everything to me. It sounds cliché, but I would not be here without receiving a full scholarship from Rice. My scholarship is also taking off the pressure of affording to go to medical school after graduation. I may be in school for another 12 years after Rice, and it is a huge relief to me that I won’t be worrying about undergraduate debt.

What was your reaction to the announcement of The Rice Investment?

It is really heartening to see that Rice is making affordability one of its greatest priorities. When I first heard about The Rice Investment, I thought about how my older sisters would not apply to schools like Rice, because they thought our family would never be able to afford the cost. Scholarship support has changed my life, and this new initiative is going to do that for generations to come.

How do you think The Rice Investment will impact you and your classmates?

I think our student population is going to be more closely representative of what the United States actually looks like. It will create a learning environment that is going to be similar to what we will experience when we enter the working world after graduation.

The Rice Investment is also going to give a lot of freedom to students to pursue their dreams. Today’s job market is extremely competitive, and I know a lot of students who are almost forced to major in subjects that will translate into high-earning jobs because they are worrying about paying off their student loans before debt accumulates. The Rice Investment is going to change that.

You are planning to attend medical school after Rice. What specialty are you going to pursue?

The dream is to be a pediatric oncologist. I really love volunteering with children, and my academic interests lie in the heart of chemistry. I feel that pediatric oncology is the best way for me to use both my academic interests and my humanitarian interests. I think it will be a great way to directly help a lot of people and be able to pursue research and research endeavors. There are a lot of opportunities in that field.

If you could speak to the donors who made your scholarship support possible, what would you say to them?

I know that a large percentage of the Rice community helps fund undergraduate scholarships, whether through endowed scholarships or the Rice Annual Fund. There are hundreds of amazing causes that deserve donations, and it speaks volumes that our alumni and others have chosen to support higher education. On a deeper level, it is so valuable for our country at large because it’s creating a more well-educated population. By investing in low- and middle-income students, you are helping to even the playing field so we can get better workers, better technology and better research. It's a great cause to support and I am incredibly grateful for my scholarship.


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