While the majority of students have left for the summer to pursue internships, jobs, study abroad fellowships or just some needed R&R, the Rice campus manages to stay fully occupied as we welcome visitors of all ages to our colleges, classrooms and playing fields. We’ve alphabetized a compendium of cool things that give Rice its unique summer vibe.
A AP SUMMER INSTITUTE
Every summer, more than 2,000 teachers from across the U.S. and several countries visit Rice to attend AP and pre-AP classes through the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI). As one of the largest programs in the nation, Rice provides 80 four-day courses for new and experienced teachers in English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, social studies, art and music.
More and more high school students around the world take AP courses as a means to earn college credits in advance. And because of this trend, the demand for AP teachers has increased significantly since 1995 when Rice first opened APSI, which has grown into a program that is considered a rite of passage for teachers who are involved in advanced academics.
“Participants have the opportunity to learn from master AP teachers and engage with peers from all across the country,” said Jennifer Gigliotti, executive director of the Center for College Readiness and associate dean of the Glasscock School. While taking their APSI courses at Rice, teachers get a chance to learn about not only the subject matters of their courses, but also techniques they can use in their classrooms. —M.H.
Barbecues abound, even on campus. Whether it’s Housing and Dining providing a Friday-night feast for the Rice students who are living on campus this summer, the BioScience Research Collaborative’s Patties on the Patio or even the occasional group lighting up the grill by Valhalla, relaxing with burgers and hot dogs is a popular campus pastime. —J.R.
C COMMON READING
Prior to arriving for the fall semester, new students are given a glimpse of the academic side of Rice through the Common Reading program, which selects a single book for each year’s matriculating class to create open dialogue about a significant topic. New students will be expected to read three chapters of this year’s selection, “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do” by Claude M. Steele, as well as a variety of supplemental readings and materials through an online resource. Organized discussions will follow after students arrive for the school year.
The Common Reading program is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduates’ Student Success Initiatives, a campuswide effort that aims to support students emotionally and academically throughout their years at Rice. —J.R.
D DUKE TIP
For the second consecutive summer, Rice is hosting two three-week terms of Duke TIP’s (Duke University Talent Identification Program) Academy for Summer Studies. The program offers an exceptional academic and social experience for approximately 380 eighth- through 10th-graders, who attend classes on campus while residing in one of the colleges.
Students qualify for TIP during seventh grade through the 7th Grade Talent Search. They are admitted based on being in the 95th percentile on state standardized tests or an equivalent test. Part of the 7th Grade Talent Search is then taking the SAT/ACT as an above-grade-level testing experience, after which Duke TIP invites students for their Summer Studies program based on their SAT/ACT score. During Summer Studies, these academically gifted young people attend class for seven hours each weekday and three hours on Saturdays. The intense, stimulating courses encourage students to think critically about themselves and their world. —J.R.
While the undergraduate and graduate student population is decreased during summer months, almost every college is occupied with residents attending overnight camps, training programs or college preparedness workshops. Therefore, REMS — Rice University Emergency Medical Services — remains at the ready. Emergencies are handled the same as they are during the academic year, but emergency technicians do see an increase in outdoor calls. “We get more calls for heat emergencies,” Lisa Basgall, EMS director, said. “Fire ant bites, sprains and allergic reactions are common calls in the summer.” —T.R.
F FROZEN TREATS
What better way to beat the heat than with ice cream? For one afternoon every summer, Rice’s Staff Advisory Committee sponsors an annual Ice Cream Social for all university employees. More than 800 staff and faculty members line up to eat ice cream scooped by Rice VIPs like President David Leebron and other university officials. At other times around campus, you might find one of our chemists freezing a new batch of ice cream with liquid nitrogen, which is a big hit with young visitors. —J.R.
G GALL WASPS
Gall wasps are a peculiar group of plant-feeding insects that feed on the southern live oak, the oak species covering the Rice campus. They perform an amazing trick over the summer. As the mom lays the egg and the baby larva hatches, the chemicals they release induce the tree to grow a tumor-like growth of plant material that the insect lives within and feeds on called a “gall.” There are four very common species all growing this summer: Disholcaspis cinerosa, Belonocnema treatae, Andricus quercuslanigera and Callirhytis quercusbatatoides. Each forms a different gall structure on a different part of the tree, including a pea-shaped brown gall and a fuzzy tuft gall that form on the underside of new growing leaves, or silver stem swellings and spherical orange galls that form on the branches. Each houses the gall-forming wasp and usually a diversity of predatory insects too, trying to attack the gall-former or just feed on the gall tissue as well. —S.E.
H HOUSING and DINING
More than any department, Housing and Dining has its finger on the pulse of Rice’s summer activities. These stats hint at the massive effort involved in keeping campus running smoothly during summer 2015.
I INSTITUTE of BIOSCIENCES and BIOENGINEERING REGATTA
Twelve teams of girls competed June 25 in a cardboard canoe regatta at the Chávez High School natatorium as part of a multiyear STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) engagement initiative sponsored by Rice’s Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB). The races featured cardboard, two-person boats that 50 IBB Girls STEM Initiative participants spent the week designing, building and testing. Each boat was covered in colorful duct tape, and a pair of girls paddled each boat in qualifying heats and finals as the girls’ families and mentors cheered from the stands. The regatta was the signature event of this year’s IBB Girls STEM Initiative, an intensive three-year preparatory program designed to immerse high-school girls in cutting-edge biomedical research, address areas in their educational background that need strengthening and foster long-reaching mentoring relationships. Watch a video: ricemagazine.info/293 —J.B.
“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight” ... is probably the planet Venus. For much of 2015, the second planet from the sun shined brightly as the “evening star,” beginning at dusk. But beginning June 29, Venus and Jupiter — the evening’s other bright planet — approached one another in a rare conjunction. The two planets achieved their closest approach June 29–July 2, when they appeared less than 1 degree apart, about half the size of the full moon. The Rice Campus Observatory opened for the event, which was hosted by Patrick Hartigan, professor of physics and astronomy. About 20 people viewed the planets from small telescopes set up on a Brockman Hall terrace.
“The planets are in actuality far-separated, with Jupiter on the opposite side of the sun as seen from Earth and Venus on the near side.”
Hartigan, who has written extensively about the conjunction online, said the next comparable evening conjunction between Venus and Jupiter won’t occur until 2023. So, what did they see? “A nasty cloud obscured the event for two hours and followed the objects as they set,” Hartigan reported. Most of the crowd left, “but the few who stayed were treated to something truly spectacular — the planets right next to one another setting over the Galleria.” — L.G.
The Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM) seeks to improve K-–12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in Houston-area school districts by offering a number of summer programs, including the Schlumberger Energy Explorations Academy.
This program exposes rising 10th-graders to the field of energy through laboratory experiences, hands-on activities and various tours. During two weeks on campus, students gain an understanding of energy transformations as well as valuable experience in basic laboratory skills. From designing and building solar ovens and roller coasters, to operating fuel cell cars and making microrockets, students engage with energy on many different levels.
They also get to tour Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, the Thomann research labs, the 3-D Visualization Lab and the BioScience Research Collaborative. Docent-led tours and scavenger hunts at the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum in Galveston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science round out the program.
Offered free of charge, the summer academy hopes to encourage and enable students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in STEM. The partnership between Schlumberger and R-STEM has provided an exciting educational opportunity for students since 2008. —C.O.O.
High temperatures in Houston encourage a refreshing dip in the pool. At Rice’s Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center, Caroline Scruggs ’16 and Ryan Towart ’14 (pictured) help put safety first — they are two of the 20 vigilant lifeguards on staff this summer to keep visitors out of harm’s way. —J.R.
It’s the rainy season again, and nature has lovingly gifted us with a plethora of mosquito habitats in the form of puddles and ponds. But, as you strain to resist the urge to scratch, take solace in the fact that endless, heavy rains may not be ideal for the insects either. Too much heavy rain can kill adult mosquitoes and wash away mosquito youngsters. But no matter what nature brings us this summer, it’s always a good idea to drain or dump standing water when possible to reduce mosquito habitat. —K.W.
N NIGHT LIGHTS
In June, a spectacular display of Northern Lights — the result of a powerful geomagnetic storm — bathed the night sky in color, reaching as far south as Virginia and Texas’ own Davis Mountains. Alas, Houstonians missed out, but we have a credible and much more reliable alternative, right here on campus.
James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace features a light sequence timed to the setting sun each evening (closed on Tuesdays). With a 72-square-foot roof that seems to float above a grass pyramid, this unique public art project welcomes visitors with a soft glow on late summer evenings. For the next 40 minutes, LED lights project colorful hues onto the ceiling, where an aperture in the center reveals the darkening sky. See for yourself the strange trompe l’oeil effect of the projected light next to the natural sky.
While seating is available on two levels for up to 120, on summer evenings, the best views may well be from the parklike expanse surrounding the Skyspace. (A very early sunrise sequence runs the same days and is especially popular with morning joggers.) —L.G.
In Hanszen Commons, a dedicated group of Rice students gather at 6 p.m. each evening to work on plans and projects for Rice’s new students — more than 1,000 freshmen, transfers and exchange students who arrive in mid-August. These are the Orientation Week, or O-Week, coordinators, 32 upperclassmen who stay at Rice throughout the summer to plan this signature week of welcome.
Each residential college has two or three coordinators and about 40 O-Week advisers assigned to oversee what’s become a critical introduction to Rice’s academic rigor, culture and community. O-Week student director Sneha Kohirkar ’15 oversees the effort, working closely with Chris Landry, assistant director of First Year Programs.
So what do the coordinators do over the summer?
One task is to create and publish giant information books, which are mailed to each new student, along with their roommate assignment, in July. Another is to decide how to integrate each college’s theme, which traditionally ends with an o-sound, with their individual O-Week. Junior Seth Berggren, a McMurtry College coordinator and computational and applied mathematics major, said themes “have to go beyond pop culture and be something that puts our vision into action.” McMurtry’s theme, “MarshmallO-Week,” connotes camping,
nature and outdoor equipment like tents. “Tents need a framework, and O-Week is about creating a framework for new students to build upon.” Over at Martel, junior bioengineering major Anita Alem is working on “Chateau-Week.” The castle-friendly theme encourages students to author their own stories or tales.
The coordinators also match all new students to their roommates — a fraught task indeed. “You do your best,” said Kohirkar, who added that coordinators receive free room and some meals for the summer and generally hold part- or full-time jobs in addition to their coordinating duties. —L.G.
Rice’s original LGBTQIA organization, the Rice Gay/Lesbian Support Group, was formed in 1979, the same year as Houston’s first official Pride Parade. The group’s founder was Houston Mayor Annise Parker ’78. Ryan Levy ’97, a vocal advocate for LGBT equality for the last 20 years, served as the Male Grand Marshal for this year’s parade. Since 2008, Q&A and Rice Alumni PRIDE have partnered with University Relations in the Office of Public Affairs to sponsor a Rice float in the annual parade. Each year, more than 50 rainbow-clad students, staff, faculty and alumni walk, ride and wave to an estimated 250,000 cheering spectators in this illuminated nighttime parade. —T.R.
Q QUEEN ELIZABETH CENTRAL HOSPITAL
Before they started building one together, Eckhaire Beluah had never seen a 3-D printer and Elizabeth Peacock had never used one.
“In my country, we don’t have many of the things you have in the United States. We have a good education. We learn the theory but we don’t have the machines, the technology, to use it,” said Beluah, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering at the University of Malawi Polytechnic.
“This has been fun. Studying to be an engineer is about finding solutions to problems. Together, we figured out how to build a 3-D printer, something I didn’t know how to do before,” said Peacock, a sophomore in mechanical engineering at Rice University.
From two continents and two cultures, Beluah, Peacock and their fellow student interns spent much of the summer in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) learning to become engineers and entrepreneurs. The exchange program was supported by the Lemelson Foundation, OEDK and Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies.
“We are so pleased to have engineering students from Rice and Malawi working together to invent solutions to real-world challenges. They’re learning a lot from each other and are adding to the work of the OEDK and Rice 360° in a significant way,” said Maria Oden, professor in the practice of bioengineering education and director of the OEDK.
Since 2007, Rice 360° has worked with physicians and nurses in Malawi to implement innovative health technologies for improving patient care. Rebecca Richards-Kortum, the Malcolm Gillis University Professor and founder of Beyond Traditional Borders; Ann Saterbak, professor in the practice of bioengineering education and associate dean for engineering education; and Oden are leading a collaboration with colleagues at the University of Malawi Polytechnic’s new biomedical engineering degree program, the University of Malawi Medical School and at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
The Malawian students arrived May 31 and returned home July 24. They spent 40 hours a week working in the OEDK alongside their Rice counterparts, learning such skills as laser and plasma cutting, 2-D and 3-D design and finishing.
The other Rice interns at the OEDK were senior Hanna Anderson, sophomore Harrison Lin, senior Whitney Orji, sophomore Leah Shermann, sophomore Mikaela Juzswik and Bailey Flynn ’15. The other Malawian students were Nehuwa Namuthuwa, James Fungulani and Florence Sadyalunda.
While working with electrical engineering student Fungulani to assemble a 3-D printer, Orji said, “I’ve learned as much from him as he’s learned from me, maybe more. He knows more about the electronics than I do. We formed a pretty good partnership.”
Four other Rice undergraduates and an alumna spent the summer in Blantyre: senior Sarah Hooper, sophomore Catherine Dunaway, senior Tanya Rajan, senior Emily Johnson and Karen Haney ’15. They worked with four Malawian students on health technologies developed by both groups over the past year. With funding from the Lemelson Foundation, Rice is working with Malawi Polytechnic to develop its own version of the OEDK. —P.K.
R ROADWORK, RENOVATIONS and REPAIRS
“Summer is our busiest time,” said Susann Glenn, manager of communications for Facilities Engineering and Planning and for Housing and Dining. Between repairs to campus buildings, sidewalks and roads as well as new construction work, improvements are being made to the campus beginning immediately after Commencement and lasting until O-Week — and beyond.
• Jones College North is being updated with solar panels, a few new residential rooms, and new and refurbished bathrooms.
• Construction has started on a grandstand, enclosed press box and team facilities for soccer and men’s and women’s track and field and cross country at Holloway Field.
• A BRC lab is being expanded and improved.
• The Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen will gain more working space for student projects.
• Construction on the new Moody Center
for the Arts (below) is continuing on the land formerly occupied by the Jake Hess tennis courts.
• Construction of the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center in the north end zone of Rice Stadium is ongoing.
These, along with many other projects like electrical work in buildings across campus, will have the university in tip-top shape when the fall semester begins. —J.R.
S SUMMER SEND-OFFS
Before they step onto campus for O-Week, many incoming students already will have received a hearty welcome to Rice from alumni, parents and current students at student send-off parties in their hometowns. In cities across the U.S., from New York City to L.A. to Chicago and at locations across Houston, new Owls and their families had the opportunity to meet students who are in the thick of campus life and alumni who have been through it all before.
“We love the chance to bring alumni and parents together with current and incoming students,” said Kay Lauer Williams ’86, who hosted Atlanta’s send-off party with her husband, Doug ’84. “It’s a wonderful tradition -— this year marks our 25th party, and we hope one day to welcome the children of the students we’ve sent off.”
Many of the send-off events, organized by the Association of Rice Alumni, will take advantage of the summer weather at parks and gardens — a preview, perhaps, of the live oaks and azaleas yet
to come — while others will take place at the homes of area alumni hosts. A real, live owl will be on-hand for selfies at the Dallas-Fort Worth party, while in Washington, D.C., owls and other fauna are a stone’s throw away at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. —T.W.
T TEACH FOR AMERICA
Each summer, about 5,000 new Teach For America recruits — recent college graduates and young professionals — attend summer institutes to prepare for entering the classroom in the fall. For six years, Rice has hosted the Houston National Institute, providing housing and meals for about 500 recruits, called corps members, and 100 staff members.
This year’s institute ran June 7–July 11. It’s an intense schedule. The days begin early — typically around 5 a.m., when the corps members rise, eat breakfast and prepare to spend time observing and teaching in a Houston classroom. That’s followed by more training back on Rice’s campus, as well as feedback, coaching with experienced TFA teachers, additional lesson planning and presentations. Five or six hours of sleep is the norm, corps members say.
Mary Beach, a recent Texas A&M University graduate who’s training to teach pre-K and kindergarten, has enjoyed seeing the growth in her young students’ abilities in just a few weeks: “Some students who were not able to write their names are working really hard to write them.” Beach will be headed to a school in Las Vegas Valley along with corps member Viviana Ramos, a University of Southern California graduate. “I love being able to see the students make new connections and have those ‘aha’ moments,” Ramos said over dinner with her fellow corps members at Rice’s West Servery. TFA recruits are being housed in Duncan and McMurtry residential colleges.
Jonathan Flores, a recent graduate of Florida International University, said that he joined TFA out of a sense of responsibility and desire to give back to his community. “Education is in the front line — that’s where we can change the future,” said Flores, who will be teaching middle school English.
While most of the corps members will soon settle in at schools in South Texas, Florida, Nevada and Missouri, more than 100 of the trainees will stay in Houston. Last year, Rice University was one of the top contributors of alumni to TFA, as 20 graduates joined the 2014 corps. The 2015 statistics are not yet available. —L.G.
U UNCONVENTIONAL COLLABORATION
The annual International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in Boston is the place to be for aspiring synthetic biologists, and students from Rice and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) will make history there in September as the first team to feature students from two institutions on opposite sides of the world.
Six Rice undergraduates went to Hong Kong this summer to work side by side with their HKUST teammates on their entry — a potassium, phosphate and nitrate biosensor. Back in Houston, the rest of the team, including six undergrads and two graduate students — worked on various non-wet lab aspects of the project, such as maintaining the project’s wiki. Rice graduate students in the systems, synthetic and physical biology program served as advisers.
Their goal: use synthetic biology to create a tame strain of E. coli bacteria that changes color to let gardeners know if their soil has the right mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Regardless of whether the color-coded soil sensor hits paydirt at the Sept. 24–28 iGEM competition, faculty mentors Beth Beason-Abmayr, a lecturer of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice, and King Chow of HKUST say they plan to continue the cross-continental student iGEM collaboration for years to come. To follow the team’s progress, visit their home page at ricemagazine.info/294 —J.B.
V VOLLEYBALL, BASKETBALL, SOCCER
Just three of the nine sports camps offered throughout the summer on Rice’s campus. Kids ages 4 to 18 meet for overnight, half-day or full-day sessions to learn a new sport or perfect their skills. Rice coaches and staff teach many of the individual camps, and current and former players lend a hand to the thousands of sports enthusiasts who attend. This summer, basketball camp participants got extra-special treatment from Rice’s new basketball coach, Mike Rhoades (pictured at right), and his family, who were an integral part of the camp, greeting campers, running the camp store and providing instruction during lecture sessions. —T.R.
All year long, Rice alumni, faculty, staff and students can say “Owl do” in the Rice Chapel, but summer months are especially festive. June brought five weddings and several receptions to campus, said Henny Halliburton, the business and event coordinator for the Rice Memorial Center. Halliburton directs the brides and grooms to all the resources they need to put together the wedding they desire.
The intimate chapel seats 125 in wooden pews and up to 100 more when additional chairs are added. The interior of brick, traditional stained glass and sparkling gold tile mosaic walls also features a C. B. Fisk pipe organ. Many wedding parties hold their receptions on campus — in the Ray Courtyard, the Grand Hall or the historic Cohen House. Some couples hold receptions at Valhalla and a few couples manage to include several campus venues in their special day.
Such was the case with Kelsey Adams and Robert Knox (pictured), who both graduated in 2012 from Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. The couple held their wedding ceremony for about 160 guests at the Rice Chapel in May. “With several of our guests from out of town, it was an easy decision to select the chapel for our ceremony so that we could share the beautiful Rice campus and a different side of Houston,” Adams said. The chapel carried additional significance for Adams, whose mother married her stepdad, William McNeill ’73, there. The Adams-Kelsey party held their reception at Cohen House and the “after party” at Valhalla. —L.G.
Rice made news this summer with the installation of two new and amazingly powerful electron microscopes. The Titan Themis scanning/transmission electron microscope enables scientists to view and analyze materials smaller than a nanometer with startling clarity. A research group led by Emilie Ringe, assistant professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of chemistry, will operate the Titan Themis and a second microscope, a Helios NanoLab 600 DualBeam microscope. Electron microscopes use beams of electrons rather than rays of light to illuminate objects of interest. Rice plans to host a two-day workshop in September to introduce the microscopes and their capabilities to the research community at the university and beyond. Ringe looks forward to bringing researchers into the new microscopy lab — and to the research that will emerge. “I would like every paper from Rice to have fantastic, crystal-clear, atomic-resolution images and the best possible characterization.” Read more about these new instruments in Abstract on Page 16. —M.W
When school ends, the fun begins. Rice’s Summer Youth Activity Program, based out of the Rec Center, offers a wide range of daily activities, including swimming, basketball, soccer, tennis, dance, art, fencing, archery and baseball. This summer, 400 participants took to the pool, courts and fields. Whose kids participated? 27 percent were community members, 30 percent staff/faculty, and 43 percent alumni. Pictured are Sofia Lowery and Rowan Marshall. Sofia is the daughter of Mary Lowery ’88 and Rowan is the daughter of Greg Marshall ’86. Sofia and Rowan bridged two categories — their respective parents are both staff members and alums. —T.R.
Two Allen’s swamp monkeys at the Houston Zoo have a new “toy” to play with this summer thanks to the work of a team of Rice students who created an interactive enrichment device as part of their freshman engineering class. The device, built at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, is a heavy-duty plastic box containing three shelves staggered with holes. Nuts or sunflower seeds are put on the top shelf, and the monkeys have to work them down to a hole at the bottom. Built to be noisy, the puzzle-like box is providing a daily dose of enrichment and peanuts for Naku (male) and Oda (female), who are housed in the zoo’s primate exhibit.
Watch a video: ricemagazine.info/295 —T.R.