President DesRoches speaks on STEM, diversity at Axios Local

Reginald DesRoches

Axios Houston hosted President Reginald DesRoches and a number of speakers at its May 16 event focusing on ways to expand Houston’s STEM workforce and increase diversity.

Axios Local Texas bureau chief Bob Gee and Rice President Reginald DesRoches. Photo by Chris Bacarella for Axios.

“For us to be competitive, to continue to recruit the best students to Rice and the best faculty and staff to Rice, we have to be diverse,” he said. “And on the flip side, when we think about how we educate our students, they’re only in classes typically 12 hours a week. The learning that takes place is largely outside the classroom, and that learning is really when you bring groups of people with different backgrounds, different experiences, different challenges, different socioeconomic backgrounds, different talents together in the classroom, outside the classroom, that’s when people really, truly learn.”

Gee and DesRoches. Photo by Chris Bacarella for Axios.

An engineer by trade, DesRoches spoke on the need in Houston for new, young talent and how more students are staying in the city after graduation.

“One of the things we find that works well is making sure — particularly for these underrepresented students coming into STEM fields — they have a connection to faculty. Faculty often have that connection to industry and can really help the students,” he said. “Early on when these students first come into the university (we connect them to) faculty, provide that relationship with the faculty so they can feel like they have someone they go to when they have these questions about career opportunities or where they might take their degrees.”

President DesRoches
DesRoches. Photo by Chris Bacarella for Axios.

Watch the rest of DesRoches’ conversation and the full event here.