Rice’s Initiative for Students expands experiential learning opportunities

By Ted Walker

During the Initiative for Students, over 1,900 Rice alumni, parents and friends gave their time and expertise to enhance Rice education and provide students with dynamic professional development opportunities.

Christina Regelski

Christina Regelski, a Ph.D. candidate in history, is featured in the Initiative for Students Impact Report and video.

The three-year initiative, which officially came to a close June 30, offered students more opportunities to develop skills that complement their work in the classroom. The initiative’s development improved upon trends in higher education that call for more experiential education and more focused professional mentorship.

Sallyportal, Owl Edge Externships, the Doerr Institute for New Leaders and Lilie (the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) are just some of the new programs and tools that are helping students plan for the future and connect with the Rice network.

The Initiative for Students Impact Report highlights several students for whom alumni connections and support made a significant difference:

  • Christina Regelski, a doctoral candidate studying 19th-century U.S. history, mapped hundreds of Civil War-era letters using geographic information system mapping technology as a Fondren Fellow.
  • Madeleine Pelzel, an architecture major, capitalized on her Owl Edge externships and support from the Owl Edge Experience Fund to take on a perspective-changing summer design internship in London.
  • Manuel Pacheco, an electrical engineering major who aspires to work for Tesla, formed an alumni mentorship that started via Sallyportal and led to an eye-opening visit to the Tesla factory.
  • Darik Dillard ’16, a mechanical engineering and mathematical economic analysis major and Rice football player, took inspiration from scholarship support to strive for excellence and prepare for a career that will make him proud.
  • Phil Hedayatnia, an arts, technology and the science of creativity major in the School of Social Sciences, worked with Lilie mentors to build a broad range of skills as he prepares for a career as a startup entrepreneur.

These are just a handful of many examples of the initiative’s impact. You can explore further by watching their videos on the home page for the Initiative for Students Impact Report.

–Ted Walker is a development writer and team lead in the Development and Alumni Relations Communications Office.

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