Unconventional students at Rice: Nathalie Phillips finds what she was looking

The Rice University mechanical engineering program attracts young minds by promising to let students take projects from concept to completion. For Chicagoan Natalie Phillips, the concept of what she wanted college to be was already formed during the admission stage.

“I did a lot of research,” Phillips says. “I knew I wanted to study mechanical engineering. I knew I also wanted to study Spanish literature. And I wanted to study abroad, and that’s not an easy combination to make work. I did a lot of research and figured out that at Rice that would probably be possible.”

Four years later, the concept of college is finishing up for Phillips. Her first semester at Rice she completed a tree house with a team of freshmen engineers. And throughout her undergraduate experience she has been a fixture at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen.

The Spanish and Portuguese degree came in handy during her internship in Brazil after her freshman year. “It was cool to do an engineering internship but abroad with some cultural overlay.” Phillips says.

As she gets ready to graduate from Rice in May, Phillips feels prepared for the next step, which will be working as an engineer at Whirlpool back in the Midwest.
“I think having been a Spanish major but also interning abroad helped me in the job application process for the role I’ll be having because Whirlpool is an international company.” Philips continues, “I think it will great if I have the opportunity to do work travel to Spanish speaking countries and put that into action a little.”

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!