Unconventional students at Rice 2018: Doing big things at a small school

When Tessa Fries first considered attending college, she thought she didn’t want a smaller school.

“It’s amazing to me how ridiculously wrong I was,” she said. “I thought you can always make a big school small, but you can never make a small school big, and that’s completely false. Rice is constantly expanding in opportunities, people, faculty and mentors.”

Fries, who is graduating with degrees in English and French, jumped into a number of opportunities during her time at Rice. She is co-captain of Rice Cheer, Lovett College president and a Rice All-Stars volunteer.

“(Rice All-Stars) is this really amazing program where you’re paired one-on-one with a (special-needs) individual and you play basketball,” she said. “You can’t help but have a great time, and you’re also learning the whole time.”

After graduation, Fries will spend two years teaching the special-needs community in Hawaii through Teach For America.

“Everyone here is so motivated and passionate and has a huge story behind them,” she said. “I think we could change the world easily just at this small school.”


About Brandon Martin

Greetings, I am a video producer at Rice University in the Office of Public Affairs. I became a Rice Owl in June 2011. Before that, I was at KPRC-TV in Houston as a special projects photojournalist for seven years, where I covered everything from hurricanes to sports. Southeast Texas has been my home my entire life. I am lucky to have a wonderful wife and two of the cutest girls I have ever seen. Go Owls!