Unconventional Students at Rice 2021: Madison Morris has her eye on Mars

Madison Morris watches the Mars landing

Madison Morris ’21 knew two things about herself early on in life: She had an interest in space exploration and she loved Rice University.

“I've actually wanted to come here since I was in fourth grade, which is kind of crazy,” she said. “Because as a fourth grader, you don't actually know what college is. I just thought the architecture was cool since I grew up in Texas.”

The geochemistry major from Boerne, who participated in NASA’s High School Aerospace Scholars program, has been able to further her space education at Rice.

“I continued that passion when I joined the Earth science major and I met Kirsten Siebach, who was on the Curiosity team, and now she's part of the Mars 2020 team, which is amazing,” she said. “And from that I was able to get involved in research in space. And it pretty much solidified that I want to work in space and not necessarily Earth science itself and more into planetary science.”

Morris credits the opportunities and culture at Rice for her success.

“I think a lot of people say this, but it's the culture of Rice that kind of draws them to it, our culture of care that we have, and just the people here and how willing they are to help each other” she said. “But during Rice is when I realized probably my favorite thing about it and that's probably the opportunities that it provides. I had access to a bunch of people who had research connections to NASA. That's something I've seen in my friends too, no matter what your major is. Rice has so many different opportunities for you.”