Meet this week’s Centennial Star

Involvement, commitment, engagement — IT’s Carlos Solis embodies many of the things that make Rice special

To celebrate the Rice Centennial, this year the university will honor 100 staff members who represent the best of Rice culture. Each week, a Centennial Star will be recognized for their contributions to excellence, and we’ll introduce them in Rice News.

This week’s Centennial Star Carlos Solis has a long history at Rice University as a student, volunteer and staff member.

Carlos Solis

Carlos Solis

As a student, Solis, who earned a doctoral degree in biology at Rice in 1993, served as the Graduate Student Association representative on an Information Technology committee and stayed as a postdoc to develop technology to teach and learn biology.

As a volunteer, he worked with the Rice School/La Escuela Rice to infuse technology into teaching and learning and led a group of teachers into the rainforests of Guatemala for an immersion program in Spanish and tropical biology.

As a professional, Solis joined Rice’s Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning. His leadership of technology projects gained notoriety and brought national attention to Rice, including through national publications and Computerworld Smithsonian and Microsoft Connected Learning Community awards. He played an instrumental role in a host of technology and teacher-education projects, including the Electronic Community of Teachers, which trained more than 2,000 Houston-area teachers in science and technology under National Science Foundation funding. He has presented to national audiences on issues pertaining to the digital divide and completed a study on factors affecting Latino participation in the technology sector.

In 2005, Solis joined the IT Department as manager of educational technologies. In that role, he deployed technology installations to nearly 100 Rice classrooms; brought online instructional tools like OWL-Space to campus; provided video conferencing, event streaming and media production; and supported faculty in implementing innovative teaching technologies like clickers, digital media and SCALE-UP, a student-centered active-learning environment. He is currently providing support to faculty engaged in Rice’s Coursera online learning venture.

“When you see Carlos, you’ll often spot the color orange,” a colleague wrote. “It is a reminder of his work beyond the hedges in a dedicated commitment to the fight against human trafficking.”

Solis serves as a member of a community-based relief organization, in the leadership team for local ministries, as a fundraiser for internationally focused nonprofits and as a speaker against modern-day slavery.

In the guise of “Jade Rider,” Solis embarks on long motorcycle trips to build awareness of human trafficking, act as a form of advocacy and generate donations for anti-human trafficking campaigns. This summer he rode from Houston to far north points in Alaska. A Rice Visual and Dramatic Arts student profiled Solis’ philanthropic and mission-based work in a short video which can be found at

“Carlos represents many of the things that make Rice special – involvement in community causes, commitment to supporting innovation and technology that enrich both the faculty and student experience and engaging in service activities that make Rice a better place to learn and work,” a colleague wrote. “His presence at Rice makes our constellation of Centennial Stars more brilliant and enduring.”

To nominate someone as a Centennial Star, go to For more information, contact Rebecca Millet at

To view previous Centennial Stars, visit

About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is editor of Rice New.