Rice launches program for emerging scholars

This summer Rice University launched the Rice Emerging Scholars Program (RESP) to acquaint first-year students with the challenging pace, depth and rigor of math, science and engineering courses at Rice.

Math, science and chemistryIn May a select cohort of freshmen newly admitted to the schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences were invited to participate in RESP. This new six-week residential academic program includes classroom instruction from Rice faculty members in math, chemistry and physics; daily work on study skills and subject knowledge with advanced undergraduate student coaches; and opportunities to interact with Rice researchers over meals and in laboratories and colloquia.

The program also includes special visits to Rice faculty research labs and Houston-area facilities such as NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Texas Medical Center. In addition, Ann Saterbak, professor in the practice of bioengineering, is leading the scholars through a six-week design challenge at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen.

“We hope that these activities will not only expose them to academic life at Rice, but also interest them in the undergraduate research opportunities that are available,” said Matt Taylor, co-director of RESP and associate vice provost and associate dean of undergraduates.

The 24 participating students are housed in Will Rice College, where five Rice undergraduates are living alongside the scholars and serving as academic tutors and student-life mentors. The students have three classes each day and spend an additional five to six hours per day on homework and group projects.

“Some of the greatest challenges in a professional career occur at the transitional moments when a person passes from an old setting to which she’s become accustomed to a new one with different expectations,” said Mike Wolf, faculty co-director of RESP and a professor of mathematics. “Rice has always been a place where young people come from a variety of backgrounds and experience the intellectual climate that surrounds the highest levels of achievement. Our goal at RESP is for our scholars to find the transition to studies at Rice to be not an obstacle to success but the opening of an exciting new chapter in their development as scientists and engineers.”

For more information on RESP, visit http://firstyear.rice.edu/content.aspx?id=111.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.