Dateline Rice for June 11, 2018 (Weekend Edition)


Rebecca Richards-Kortum named US science envoy
The State Department has selected Rice bioengineer and global health pioneer Rebecca Richards-Kortum to serve as a U.S. science envoy. She is one of only 23 scientists ever selected for this prestigious position. Richards-Kortum is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor, professor of bioengineering and director of Rice 360º Institute for Global Health.
TMC News (This was featured in the June 11 issue of TMC Today and also appeared in Science Magazine.)


Fear drives forced labor underground along US-Mexico border
Tony Payan, the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and director of the institute’s Mexico Center, is quoted in an article about the migrants who stay and find jobs as farmworkers in the Rio Grande Valley and how they face a greater risk of falling victim to forced labor, trafficking, wage theft and debt bondage.
Thomson Reuters Foundation (This article appeared in 10 other media outlets.)

Pope Francis criticizes continued search for fossil fuels at meeting with oil executives
Bill Arnold, professor in the practice of management at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, is quoted in an article about Pope Francis’ call to find a balance between environmental protection and the development of resources.
The Wall Street Journal (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in the Independent Recorder.)

‘They just took them?’ Frantic parents separated from their kids fill courts on the border
Alumna Azalea Aleman-Bendiks ’87, an assistant federal public defender, is quoted in an article about the representation of migrants in court.
The Washington Post (Subscription is required. This article also appeared in the Houston Chronicle and the Albuquerque Journal.)

How batteries will change the power business
Daniel Cohan, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is quoted in an article about the changes in the renewable energy sector.
Barron’s (This article appeared in and

One year after the blockade, Qatar’s economy is strong
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, fellow for the Middle East at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is quoted in an article about how Qatar has managed to weather the disruptive impact of the diplomatic and trade embargo by neighboring Persian Gulf nations.

Scientists go deep to quantify perovskite properties 
Rice research is featured in “Headlines” on the National Science Foundation’s homepage and in the June 11 issue of the NSF’s Science 360 newsletter. Rice researchers were able to create a scale by which labs can determine the binding energy of excitons, and thus the band gap structures, in perovskite quantum wells of any thickness. This could in turn aid in the fundamental design of next-generation semiconductor materials. The Tech Explorist article mentions that researchers Aditya Mohite and Jean-Christophe Blancon will be joining Rice. Junichiro Kono, professor of electrical and computer engineering, of physics and astronomy and of materials science and nanoengineering, is quoted.
National Science Foundation
Scientists go deep to quantify perovskite properties

Tech Explorist


Anaya will keep the Mexican economy moving forward
Alumnus Hector Ruiz ’73, a Rice trustee emeritus, authored an article about the Mexican presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya.
The Dallas Morning News (Subscription is required.)

G-6 plus Trump
An article mentions that Rice hosted the Group of Seven summit in 1990.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required.)

A look at Tropical Storm Allison at the 10-year anniversary
Phil Bedient, the Herman Brown Professor of Engineering and director of Rice’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center, is quoted.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required.)

How Houston lost its mind over a Trump shirt
Rice is mentioned.
Texas Monthly

Perseverance pays off for Harlingen’s top grads
An article mentions Nathan Ramon is considering attending Rice.

HSHP top of the class are role models
An article mentions that Jaime Ramirez plans to attend Rice.

Texas has 254 counties. Beto O’Rourke has campaigned against Ted Cruz in each of them
Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor of political science, fellow in political science at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, is quoted in an article about the effectiveness of the campaign strategy of U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, as he seeks to unseat incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Houston, in November. Jones is also interviewed by KLBJ about the political implications of either keeping or removing the confederate plaque situated in Texas’ capitol rotunda. Jones is also cited in a discussion on KTRH about mailed political advertisements.
The Eagle (This article also appeared in the El Paso Herald-Post.)
KLBJ-AM (Austin) (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast. A similar segment aired on KUIK-Portland and KRLD-Dallas.)
KTRH-AM (Houston)

Musician’s musical roots in Longview land him at the Met Opera
Alumnus John Romero ’16 is featured and pictured.
Longview News-Journal

Texana Reads: Memoir destined to be a champion for immigration reform
Rice is mentioned.
Corpus Christi Caller-Times

The Texanist: Am I a traitor if I root for a rival Texas team when it plays out of state?
Rice football’s in-state rivalry with Southern Methodist University is mentioned.
Texas Monthly


Was there life on Mars? We’re closer than ever to finding out
NASA’s Curiosity rover recently found organic molecules, potential building blocks of life, preserved in 3.5 billion-year-old bedrock on Mars. Curiosity also confirmed sharp seasonal increases of methane in the Martian atmosphere, and researchers cannot yet rule out a biological source because most of Earth’s atmospheric methane comes from animal and plant life, and the environment itself. Kirsten Siebach, assistant professor of Earth, environmental, and planetary sciences, is interviewed and quoted in two radio broadcasts and two articles.
Texas Standard
KUT-AM (Austin) (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)
New Mars discoveries advance case for possible life
Curiosity vindt complex organisch materiaal dat mogelijk afkomstig is van oeroud leven op Mars
New Scientist (An English-language version is not available.)

Report: Rush for employment creates challenges for Houston’s refugees
An article and radio segment mention a new study from Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research that determined that refugees in Houston face myriad challenges to becoming self-sufficient and English proficient. Yan Digilov, a co-author of the study and researcher with the Kinder Institute, is quoted.
Houston Public Media

Does science have room for God?
An article mentions a question posed at a recent symposium hosted by Rice titled “Science at a Particular Crossroads: Bringing the Religious Implications of Mainstream Science to Evangelical Christians.”
Houston Public Media

KUT-AM (Austin)
Steve Murdock, the Allyn and Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology and director of Rice’s Hobby Center for the Study of Texas and former U.S. Census Bureau director, is interviewed in a radio broadcast about how asking questions about participants’ immigration status on the 2020 census will lead to undercounting communities of color. (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)

Classical 89.5 (Salisbury, Md.)
Ken Cowan, associate professor of organ at Rice’s Shepherd School of Music, is featured.

WLTZ-TV (Columbus, Ga.)
A broadcast featuring Ntozake Shange mentions that she formerly taught at Rice. (Click the video button to watch the broadcast. This segment also aired on CW39 Houston and WNCF-Montgomery, Ala.)

‘FOX 26 News Special: What’s Your Point?’
Alumnus Todd Litton ’01 is a candidate in the Democratic primary for U.S. representative in Texas’ 2nd Congressional District.
KRIV-TV (Houston)


Queen’s birthday honors 2018: Knighthood for Les Ebdon
David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute and professor of physics and astronomy, was appointed to the Order of the British Empire for services to U.K./U.S. links in the space industry and higher education.
Times Higher Education

‘Photo Flash’: ‘Broadway and the Bard’ celebrates its opening night
Alumnus Mark Janas ’82 is featured.
Broadway World

MBMA Remembers Industry Legend Gill Harris — MBMA
Alumnus Gilliam Harris ’64 is featured and pictured.


West Islip High School announces 2018 valedictorian, salutatorian
An article mentions that Melodi Doganay plans to attend Rice.
New York Patch

Top graduates 2018: High achievers and words that inspired them
An article mentions that Bryant Ruff plans to attend Rice. Press

SummerFest music director Cho-Liang ‘Jimmy’ Lin will bow out with poise and panache
Cho-Liang Lin, professor of violin at the Shepherd School of Music and the music director of the La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest chamber music festival, who will conclude his 18-year tenure as musical director of SummerFest in August, is featured and pictured.
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Class of 2018
An article mentions that Grace Vincent and Jian Liang are planning to attend Rice.
The Buzz Magazine

How a letter of recommendation could hurt your chances — especially if you’re a woman
Letters of recommendation written for women are more likely to contain words or phrases that raise doubts about job or education qualifications than are letters written for men. Co-author Mikki Hebl, the Martha and Henry Malcolm Lovett Chair of Psychology at Rice’s School of Social Sciences, is quoted.

4 reasons why Arab women join STEM fields and 5 challenges they face
Kirstin Matthews, a fellow in science and technology policy at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is quoted
About Her

New athletic director and ‘Flying Classroom’ at JSU, MSU professor wins Civil War book award
Alumnus Andrew Lang ’13 won the Tom Watson Brown Book Award for his new book.
Jackson Free Press

Gut sensor could monitor health — and beam results to a smartphone
Scientists have developed a small, ingestible capsule that mixes synthetic biology and electronics to detect bleeding in the digestive tract, but the sensors may need to be much more sensitive to reliably measure chemicals in the gut, according to Jeffrey Tabor, assistant professor of bioengineering and of biosciences.
World News

How 2018 commencement speakers talked about Trump without saying his name
Michael Bloomberg’s commencement speech at Rice is featured. A video is also included.
The Inquirer

At annual ASIE reception, designers learn how the city hums
An article mentions that Carol Haddock attended Rice.

David M. Shribman: Robert F. Kennedy and the great unknowns
History Professor Douglas Brinkley is quoted.
Manistee News Advocate

Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum: ‘How Life Works’
Alumnus Nelson Hoffman ’70 will present “How Life Works” in Los Alamos, N.M.
Los Alamos Daily Post

What would Trump’s coal bailout look like in Texas?
Michael Maher, senior program adviser for the Center for Energy Studies at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is interviewed about the effects on Texas of the Department of Energy’s plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power.

As cities report more rats than ever, scientists find eastside and westside rodents
Michael Kohn, an associate professor in the Department of BioSciences, is quoted in an article about the efforts to genetically identify where different rat families have clustered in four cities in the New World.
The Keene Sentinel


Keith Law’s draft recap: AL team-by-team breakdown
Rice baseball player Ford Proctor was recently drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays.
ABC News
Bouquets and brickbats
Beaumont Enterprise

USM 2018 football viewing schedule announced under new C-USA contract
An article mentions that Rice football will play University of Southern Mississippi Sept. 22.
WDAM-TV Online

After iconic inaugural class, who’s next for Houston Sports Hall of Fame?
An article mentions that Rice’s head baseball coach Wayne Graham is a possible future candidate for Houston’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required.)

Stetson well-armed in 1st NCAA Super Regional appearance
Rice is mentioned
Daily Commercial

11 former and current Bombers selected in 2018 MLB Draft
An article mentions that Rice baseball player Cody Staab was drafted by the Seattle Mariners.
Our Sports Central

Catching up with Tigers’ 2017 draft class 1 year later
Former Rice baseball player Dane Myers is mentioned.

Conference USA preseason position reviews: Offensive line
Former Rice football player Calvin Anderson is mentioned.
Underdog Dynasty

The 12 QBs LSU will face in 2018
Rice football player Miklo Smalls is pictured and featured.

Arizona State counts on Herm Edwards to lead revival, is No. 79 in 2018 preseason college football rankings
Rice is mentioned.
Orlando Sentinel

Rice grad transfer Cashaw commits to Creighton
Rice graduate transfer Connor Cashaw is featured.

College football’s 92 Week 1 games, ranked
Matchups between Rice football and the University of Houston and Prairie View A&M are mentioned.
SB Nation

Key transfers plug inexperienced holes in secondary
Former Rice football player J.T. Ibe is mentioned and pictured.

Early outlooks for LSU football’s 2018 season
Rice football’s matchup with Louisiana State University is mentioned.

Ton of prospects at Notre Dame on Saturday for Elite Skills camp
Rice is mentioned.
Photos: A look at the action from Notre Dame’s Elite Skills camp

Curley Young hopeful Arizona offer the start of big summer
Rice is mentioned.

Recruiting quick-hitters from summer Everett Withers camp
Rice is mentioned.

Conference USA Football 2018 predictions
Rice head football coach Mike Bloomgren is mentioned.
Sports briefs
Bay City Daily Tribune

Henderson’s Keivie Rose adds 3 new offers
Rice is mentioned.

Texas State offers Lufkin’s Breylon Garcia
Rice is mentioned.

Recruits who committed to Power 5 schools this week
Rice is mentioned.

Texas High’s Coltin Clack commits to Arkansas State
Rice is mentioned.

Weekend visitor preview
Rice is mentioned.

If Kliff Kingsbury makes it through 2018 at Texas Tech, it might be because of … defense?
Former Rice football player Preston Gordon is mentioned.
SB Nation

Texas a top school for 4-star California DB
An article mentions that Craig Naivar coached at Rice.

OSU football: Cibolo (Texas) Steele CB Xavier Player commits to Oklahoma State
Rice is mentioned.
Tulsa World

‘High-School Football All-Star Game’
Former Rice football player Larry Izzo is mentioned. Rice is mentioned.
KTRK-TV (Houston) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)


A system purely for developing high-performance, big data codes
Computer scientists from Rice’s DARPA-funded Pliny Project believe they have the answer for every stressed-out systems programmer who has struggled to implement complex objects and workflows on “big data” platforms like Spark. Rice’s PlinyCompute will be unveiled here Thursday at the 2018 ACM SIGMOD conference. In a peer-reviewed conference paper, the team describes PlinyCompute as “a system purely for developing high-performance, big data codes.”

DIY brings high throughput to continuous cell culturing
In a paper appearing online this week and on the cover of the July issue of Nature Biotechnology, Rice researcher Caleb Bashor and colleagues from Boston University (BU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveil eVOLVER, a system that combines the control of automated cell-culturing systems that can run continuously for months with the scale of high-throughput systems that grow dozens of cultures at once.

Rice U. expert: Any agreement with North Korea ‘will have to involve people who understand the technical issues’
Facing a high-stakes challenge to get North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, President Donald Trump plans to speak alone with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their historic summit Tuesday in Singapore, according to news reports. Rice University political scientist Ric Stoll is available to discuss the summit and issues at play.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is a senior editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.