If you are interested in engineering at Rice this post is for you! I recently received an email from a prospective student living in Ghana, Africa who had some really great questions that apply to most all students interested in engineering topics here at Rice (Side-note: find the bloggers emails on the “Meet the Bloggers” page and email us with your questions! We love answering them and you help us know what other prospective students are curious about!).
The Question: Could you kindly describe the engineering programs, internships, engineering competitions, etc. you have participated in at Rice?
The Answer: So far as a freshman engineering student here at Rice, outside of academics I am involved in many engineering activities such as Engineers Without Boarders and an off-campus engineering internship/job. However, there are many, many other avenues engineers can pursue that many of my other friends here pursue, which I will outline at the end of this blog post.
Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a group that meets once a week and is devoted to creating world in which the communities we serve have the capacity to sustainably meet their basic human needs (clean water, bridges, etc.). Certain members of the team are going to El Salvador to start implementing a water treatment facility during winter break. The more meetings I go to as a freshman, the more likely I am to go later (spring break freshman year, fall break sophomore year, etc.). EWB is also not only for engineering students. The trips need translators, biologists, chemists, etc., so don’t let thinking “it’s only for engineers” shy you away! Click here to check out Rice’s EWB website.
I found my off-campus job through a senior at McMurtry (my residential college). We were talking at dinner and he was talking about where he worked and it sounded great, so I asked if there were any openings and bada-bo-bada-bing I have a job/ paid internship! I work three hours twice a week (six hours total) for a petroleum engineering company in Rice Village, which is a quick bike ride (ten minute walk) from campus through the pretty and safe neighborhoods surrounding Rice. The company provides universities and petroleum companies with tools to better teach petroleum engineering to students and staff. We also stay up to date with current drilling technology, alternative energy research etc. I go to meetings, get other universities involved, make the PR more student-friendly, research technology updates and I am actually going out to an oil platform (yes, the kind that’s on water) in the spring! It’s a great experience, a good resume builder, and I’m allowed to do school-work if I really need to! Email me if you come to Rice and are interested in getting involved.
For other engineering opportunities at Rice, many of my freshman friends are conducting research on campus and designing their own experiments within the limits of what the person they’re conducting research for wants. Look at another one of the bloggers Peter’s computer science research (click here)! Some of those jobs pay and they’re really easy to get by going to the research fair in the beginning of the year and emailing a professor from the fair about conducting research with them. Three of my non-engineering friends are conducting research for the natural sciences department researching how basil plants evolve over four generations when a specific type of caterpillar is introduced. Their hours are extremely flexible (as in research-whenever-you-want-to-hours) and they get paid for conducting the research too, which is always nice. The list of research topics available to students is endless and it’s fantastic that they’re not at all exclusive to upperclassmen or graduate students.
As far as competitions go, one of my friends is working on a solar car where the students build a car that runs completely on solar energy. He is only a freshman and is leading the project! There are really a million and one things to get involved in at Rice (Click here for a complete list of Rice’s clubs) that students find out about through posters, emails, peers, etc., so look around, ask around and get involved!