People, papers and presentations


The Development and Alumni Relations division won two Gold Awards in the international 2016 Circle of Excellence competition sponsored by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). In the category for flash campaigns, the award was given for the 2015 Rice Annual Fund 24-Hour Challenge. That challenge resulted in a bonus donation of $240,000 to the Rice Annual Fund from an anonymous alumnus after more than 2,400 alumni met the challenge to make a gift of any size on June 16, 2015. The results from challenges in previous years were nearly tripled, inspiring the Rice Board of Trustees this year to issue a new challenge in which more than 5,000 supporters made a gift to Rice on Feb. 29. In the category for collaborative programs at single institutions, the award was shared with the Center for Career Development for the Owl Edge Externship pilot program, which was designed to recruit alumni, parents and friends to host Rice students for short-term job-shadowing experiences. Through collaborative efforts, the externship opportunities were promoted via career fairs, student volunteers, existing electronic publications, presidential events and the assistance of development officers and relationship managers embedded throughout campus and around the country. The Gold Award is CASE’s second-highest honor in this competition.

Scott Cuellar, a doctoral student in Rice’s Shepherd School of Music, won the Gold Medal at the San Antonio International Piano Competition June 11. The quadrennial competition attracts high-level international competitors. Cuellar also won prizes for best performance of a romantic work and best performance of a Russian work. The prize includes $15,000 and several concert opportunities in San Antonio next year, as well as a guest appearance at the Cactus Pear Music Festival. Cuellar is a student of Professor of Piano Jon Kimura Parker.

Manuel Gutiérrez, assistant professor of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American studies, presented “Beyond the Verbal and Visual Divide: How the Visual Arts Are Reshaping the Production, Promotion and Consumption of Literature in Contemporary Mexico” in a panel on “Interdisciplinarity and Visual Culture” at the XXXIV International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association in New York City in May. At the same congress, Gisela Heffes, associate professor of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American studies, participated in the workshop “Conversaciones Interdisciplinarias II: Literatura, Artes Visuales, Ciencials Sociales,” organized the panel session “Paradigmas del Conocimiento en la Ecocrítica: Desafíos Metodológicos e Interdisciplinariedad” and was a discussant for the session panel “Formas de Vida: Animalidad y Biopolítica 1. She also co-hosted a reception announcing the launch of the Colección (Dis)locados, a digital initiative that is a joint collaboration of the Humanities Research Center’s Rice University Digital Scholarship Archive and Literal Publishing (Houston/Mexico).

Computer Science student Lisa Huang was selected to participate in the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Student Entrepreneur Program in Orlando, Fla., June 19-24. The program fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses through tailored entrepreneur curriculum, a live-pitch competition awarding $10,000 in seed capital and mentoring from the most successful women’s business enterprises and America’s largest Fortune 500 companies.

Sophomores Joanne Kim and Priya Kane are among 30 young women selected to participate in the first Girls Who Invest summer intensive program at the University of Pennsylvania. Founded in April 2015, Girls Who Invest is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in portfolio management and executive leadership in the asset management industry. The program is for rising college sophomores and juniors interested in pursuing a career in portfolio management and leadership in the asset management industry.

Rice Energy and Environment Initiative Executive Director Charles McConnell has been named to the board of directors of the EERC Foundation, the parent organization of the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center. The center, founded as a federal research lab in 1951, employs 235 scientists, engineers and support personnel who work with government and academic partners to develop energy and environmental technologies for almost 1,000 corporate clients.





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