Unconventional Students at Rice: Manuel Pacheco steps out of his comfort zone

It’s not unusual to see Jones College senior Manuel Pacheco biking on campus. What does catch your eye is when he’s cruising on a tall bike, a borrowed double-decker from his part-time job at Rice Bikes.

When he not biking, the Mexican-born electrical engineering major has taken advantage of the opportunities he’s found at Rice in and out of the classroom. As a sophomore, he used his skills to design the motor controller for the Rice Electric Vehicle Team.

“I think one of the things coming in as a freshman is you’re really excited about doing all these things,” the Mexican-born electrical engineering major said.

Manuel Pacheco outside of the OEDK

Pacheco went out of his comfort zone to learn Mandarin. “It just seemed like a huge mystery, totally different language,” he said. “At the same time, so many people speak it in the world, it’s so popular, so I thought it’d be also really useful to learn.”

The senior took that knowledge overseas, studying abroad in Hong Kong for a semester. “As a freshman when I came in during O-Week, I would have never imagined I would have gone to Hong Kong and studied.”

Pacheco has accepted a job helping to build computer chips in Austin. It’s a fitting post-graduation step for the kid who liked playing with Legos and marvels at the wonders of engineering.

“Electrical engineering is pretty cool,” he said. “It’s around everywhere, but almost nobody really understands how it works. It’s like your phone just kind of magically works with everything else.”

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!