Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, January 27, 2020 — Houston, TX 59°

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There’s more to life than career fairs and co-ops

(09/19/18 8:53am)

Last week, three Rice alumni who work at General Electric wrote an opinion piece in which they called on freshmen and sophomores to quit making excuses, stop messing around with fruitless activities like college leadership or studying abroad and apply for professional internships as early as possible in their undergraduate careers. While I do not question that the authors were well intentioned, their piece makes sweeping assumptions that are ignorant, damaging and simply incorrect.

Success without happiness: A eulogy for Mac Miller

(09/19/18 7:42am)

I was strolling back to my room from my mechanics lab session in Herzstein Hall, my final class of the week, as my ever-expanding list of commitments weighed heavily on my mind. Around the time I was on the sidewalk bound for my room, I heard a strange song selection reverberating through the entire campus from Sid 7th: “Self Care” by Mac Miller. I listened to the song bouncing off of Baker and pondered to myself, “Why are they playing this, of all songs?” While it’s a great song, I didn’t think it fit the mood of the environment. It’s a song more suited to private listening. It’s best heard as if he were in conversation with you, laying out his pain so you can connect.

Out in STEM club to prioritize advocacy

(09/19/18 7:29am)

The Rice University chapter of Out in STEM identified issues faced by LGBTQ students in STEM fields at their first general body meeting. Out in STEM, a nonprofit professional society focused on LGBTQ people in STEM, will focus its agenda on social and professional advocacy, according to founder Grace Wickerson. Wickerson, a Brown College junior, said oSTEM hopes to educate faculty on LGBTQ issues. According to Wickerson, both Title IX and sexual misconduct trainings are mandatory for faculty, but ally training is not. As a result, some professors who want to accommodate LGBTQ students aren’t sure how to do so, Wickerson said. Jones College junior Patrick Brady, a founding member of the club, said one professor asked him how to accommodate students who use they/them pronouns. “I was giving a talk during O-Week and then one of the professors sat in on it,” Brady said “I mentioned using different pronouns for people who use they/them pronouns [because] people at Rice do use these pronouns and it’s just something to be aware of, and he asked me afterward, ‘Oh, so I just use they/them if they want to use they/them?’ Because he just never got ally trained and he wants to help and wants to do everything right but he just never got instruction on that.” Students at the meeting also expressed interest in connecting with LGBTQ faculty in STEM departments. The chapter’s faculty sponsor is Jordan Miller, associate professor in the bioengineering department. “I feel like currently I don’t know who [the LGBTQ faculty] are,” Wickerson said. “Especially, I know there are [LGBTQ faculty] in other majors, but compared to other universities, a lot of our people are in STEM. So I feel like knowing who those faculty are will really help.” McMurtry College senior Ella Matsuda said having faculty resources is important to the LGBTQ community. “I had an openly gay professor at Rice, kind of before I was very out, and [...] seeing him just living his life and people were only judging him for his science and nothing else did give me a little more confidence,” Matsuda said. The club began last year, when the chapter organized a tour of NASA and attended the National oSTEM Conference in Chicago, which includes a hackathon and networking events. This year, the oSTEM chapter is on the Rice Engineering Societies Council, and will add social and advocacy aspects as well as attend the National Conference again, which comes to Houston on Nov. 16. Eric Voigt, American Society of Mechanical Engineers conference chairman, said attending professional conferences is very important for getting internships as a STEM major. “A lot of other universities have chapters of oSTEM and Rice either didn’t have one or it was inactive,” Voigt, a Brown College junior, said. “Now that we have this organization that Grace essentially rebooted, we’ll have a specified delegation instead of people randomly going over to conferences by themselves. It’s more organized now.” Brady said he is looking forward to a year of increased visibility for the club. “I would say last year, since we were a new club, the focus was mostly about sending people to the conference in the fall,” Brady said. “There wasn’t as much visibility since people didn’t really know the club had started yet. I’m excited for it to gain momentum and traction so we can have more people go to the national conference and host more events and speakers on campus.” Wickerson said there are also opportunities for LGBTQ students from across different universities to connect at the oSTEM National Conference, in addition to professional recruitment. “I went last year along with two other people, and it was awesome because it was a really new experience,” Wickerson said. “There’s like 700 other LGBTQ students in science, and you just get to nerd out, and science, and hang out, and chill, and talk about LGBTQ stuff, so it’s really cool and fun.” Wickerson said long-term goals for the group include ensuring sustainability for the organization and continuing to increase awareness for the professional opportunities available to LGBTQ students in STEM. According to Wickerson, there are companies in the Houston area with employer resource groups, which are groups within companies that represent and recruit diverse populations, including members of the LGBTQ community. “This is something people care about,” Wickerson said. “This club has a purpose beyond just being a group of people with similar majors and similar identities.”

Establishing healthy habits at Rice: Don’t “beat” the changes, understand them

(09/18/18 12:35am)

While students can expect to gain weight during their time at college, buzzwords like “the Freshman 15” are not college curses that afflict all unsuspecting victims. Factors like school-related stress and social pressure can very much affect eating and exercise habits, but it’s all a part of settling into a new lifestyle. Adjusting to college is difficult for everyone, and gaining some weight while coping with such a drastic change in lifestyle is totally normal. Understanding that this weight gain is commonplace is essential. 

48 hours of fame: Rice students engineer on crunch-time in reality TV show

(09/12/18 2:58pm)

Thomas Herring, Mikaela Juzswik and Gentry Clark don’t particularly like reality TV. Nathalie Phillips doesn’t keep up with any except for Dancing with the Stars, which she said she’s been watching religiously for over 10 years. Despite their aversions to the genre, these four Rice students spent a summer weekend participating in a reality TV competition, set to air in 2019.