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Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

Latest News

Spring 2017 CCL Newsletter

Jan. 11, 2017

You can read the newsletter here.


Outreach Day 2016

Aug. 30, 2016

Outreach Day, coordinated by the Center for Civic Leadership and the Rice Student Volunteer Program, continues to kick off the school year in a positive direction. Over 200 students participated in this year's Outreach Day whose "purpose was to highlight refugee contributions to the city of Houston, increase awareness of refugee services and advertise future volunteer opportunities for Rice students” according to Thasha Uche, assistant director of the CCL and coordinator of Outreach Day. Outreach Day is more than just "one day of service," it is rather "day one of service," exposing students to issues facing the City of Houston and organizations working to solve them. Read more in Rice News.


Summer 2016 Newsletter

July 31, 2016

As we head into fall, we take a moment to celebrate the great work of our students and partners this past summer. You can read the summer newsletter here (downloads as PDF).


Loewenstern Fellow co-authors paper based on cancer prevention research in India

May 26, 2016

Sri Gopakumar, who graduated this May, has contributed to a literature review that was published in the April 2016 issue of Journal of Global Oncology.

In the summer of 2015, through the Loewenstern Civic Research Fellowship, Sri conducted research on cancer care in Bangalore, India, examining information and communication technologies (ICTs) for use in cancer diagnosis and prevention efficacy. Working with the Research Triangle Institute, Sri helped facilitate a case study-based analysis of various telemedicine and mHealth (mobile phone health) applications at field sites across southern India to identify and evaluate potential ICTs for breast, cervical, and oral cancers. 

The publication that Sri contributed to, "Adoption of Information and Communication Technologies for Early Detection of Breast and Cervical Cancers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries," presents previous literature on the rising incidence of cancer around the world, discusses the potential of ICTs in global oncology, and summarizes instances of how low- and middle-income countries such as India, Bangladesh, Zambia, and Cambodia are using ICTs in their cancer prevention efforts.

The Loewenstern Fellowship, housed in the Center for Civic Leadership, offers students a yearlong experience to conduct service and civic research abroad. Civic research values local knowledge as the key source and devises research methods appropriate to the sociocultural context so that knowledge generated will be used and applied to address the focal issues. 

Students interested in the Loewenstern Fellowship in Civic Research may contact Dr. Madalina Akli, Associate Director of Global Engagement in the CCL.


Spring 2016 CCL Newsletter

May 17, 2016

The Spring CCL Newsletter is here. In this issue, we highlight students’ initiatives in the community and share the outcomes of the many fellowship competitions that the CCL shepherds Rice students through each year, as well as the instrumental role of Rice faculty in ensuring that the CCL offers high impact, co-curricular leadership development.


CCL Certificate student receives 2016 Commencement Award

May 16, 2016

Anne Wells has earned the 2016 Sheryl WuDunn Commencement Award for Social Justice for her academic and service work in international community development and education.

This spring, Anne completed the capstone project for the Certificate in Civic Leadership. The capstone is a 2-semester series of courses in which students work with a Center for Civic Leadership instructor, a faculty advisor, and a community partner to research an issue, develop a proposal with a community partner to address the issue, and implement their proposed project. Anne worked with Engineers Without Borders and Amigos de las Americas, a Houston-based nonprofit, to develop a sustainable training curriculum for engineering students who are working on international community development projects. In 2014, as a Loewenstern Fellow through the Center for Civic Leadership, she served on the Inca Project in Archaeology with Projects Abroad in Huyro, Peru.

 Anne graduated on May 14 with a Bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies and Premedicine.


KHOU highlights HART team findings on pollution in Houston

May 11, 2016

A Houston Action Research Team's (HART) findings on pollution in Houston was featured on local news station KHOU. You can watch the video here.

The Center for Civic Leadership's HART program consists of small, interdisciplinary teams of Rice students who work together with city offices and community organizations to address issues and challenges facing Houston and its residents. This particular HART project, the Bridge to Clean Air project, is a multi-year collaboration between Rice University and Air Alliance Houston to create a relatively inexpensive air treatment system to reduce vehicle pollution at a prominent traffic hotspot in Houston. The project aims to design and build a stationary air treatment system that would remove air pollution from a portion of US 59 at the Hazard St. Bridge.

In the spring, a team of HART students conducted Phase 1 of the project, working with Dr. Loren Raun in the Statistics department and representatives from the City of Houston’s Bureau of Pollution Control and Prevention to sample air and test for ambient levels of PM, VOCs, and NOx. Team members prepared and analyzed the data to: (1) characterize pollution at the site in order to determine the appropriate treatment equipment and strategy, and (2) record background levels of pollution to measure the impact of the project.

Members of the HART team were: Vera Liu (Statistics), Will Deaderick (Mathematics), Ryan Saathoff (Policy Studies and Political Science), and Bilan (Jackie) Yang (Mechanical Engineering). Rice graduate student Taylor Barnum (Environmental Analysis and Decision Making) served as team coach. The results of the team’s work will serve as the air pollution benchmark for the project and will be compared to air samples taken once the air treatment system has been installed to determine the system’s effectiveness. 


Rice students win Fulbright Scholarships

May 10, 2016

7 Rice University students have received Fulbright Scholarships, which will give them the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad.

“The students who receive a Fulbright grant have a strong academic background, leadership potential and a passion for expanding mutual understanding among different nations and cultures,” said Madalina Akli, Associate Director for Global Engagement with the Center for Civic Leadership. “We are excited and honored to have seven Fulbright winners at Rice in one year.”

Students interested in applying to the Fulbright for next year should contact Dr. Akli for advising.

Read more about this year's winnners in Rice News, here.


Anjali Bhatla selected as 2016 Truman Scholar

April 25, 2016

Anjali Bhatla, a Rice junior majoring in health sciences and policy studies, is one of 54 college students in the U.S. selected to be a Truman Scholar. Recipients of the highly competitive scholarship are awarded up to $30,000 to be used for graduate study in the U.S. or abroad. Scholars are selected based on their strengths in leadership, public service, and academic achievement.

Students interested in applying for the Truman Scholarship for 2017 should contact Danika Brown, Director of Curriculum and Fellowships in the Center for Civic Leadership.

Read more about Anjali in Rice News, here.


HART students win awards at RURS

April 21, 2016

The Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) annually sponsors an Undergraduate Research Symposium (RURS) open to students from all disciplines. The symposium offers students an opportunity to showcase their research, develop professionally, and compete for prizes. This year, the CCL Houston Action Research Teams (HART) had the opportunity to present their research concerning issues and challenges facing Houston and its residents. Three of the HART teams were awarded prizes for their hard work and dedication to the Houston community.

The Park Improvement Preferences of Under-Surveyed Populations team won the Shell Center for Sustainability Award. The team was comprised of Sally Hodges-Copple, Lucy Matveeva, Emily Jacobson, and Tanvi Sharma.

The Dynamic Role of Libraries: How do Customer and Library Characteristics Drive Houston Public Library Usage? won first prize from the School of Social Sciences. The team, which included Tiffany Tang, Melanie Zook, Shaan Patel, and Madeleine Tibaldi, focused on public library usership in the Houston area.

The Effects of Local Library features on the Distance Travelled to Houston Public Libraries team also tied for first prize from the School of Social Sciences. The team consisted of students Derek Holliday, Benjamin Hamm Conard, Jena Lopez, and Natalie Polacek.  

The full list of 2016 RURS winners can be found here.


HART students co-author paper on Houston parks planning

March 28, 2016

recent article in CityLab referenced a paper, "More Inclusive Parks Planning: Park Quality and Preferences for Park Access and Amenities" co-written by a Houston Action Research Team (HART) that was published in the academic journal Environmental Justice.

In Spring 2015, on behalf of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD), a team of Rice undergraduates sought a greater representation of user improvement preferences for public parks, focusing on Hispanic and African-American communities in Houston  The HART students designed and conducted a survey targeting minorities at parks on the east side of the city.

Along with Alan Steinberg, Associate Director of the CCL, and graduate student Kevin Smiley, the HART students, Tanvi Sharma, Sally Hodges-Copple, Emily Jacobson and Lucy Matveeva co-authored a paper based on the survey data that was published in the February 2016 volume of the academic journal Environmental Justice.

According to the article's abstract:

"Parks are increasingly viewed as places that prompt environmental justice analysis. While these studies have focused on inequalities in access to parks and amenities within parks, we offer a third important topic of study: the opinions and preferences of minorities with regards to park usage. We link empirical environmental justice analysis on parks with the core environmental justice belief that marginalized communities must have a voice in planning processes. Using data from two surveys conducted in Houston, Texas, we analyze the park preferences of these communities ... Overall, we highlight the importance of integrating community voices into parks planning."

You can read the published paper in its entirety here.


Rice undergrads compete to create policy ideas for MobilityHouston@Rice

March 24, 2016

MobilityHouston@Rice Policy Challenge, which was held on the evening of Tuesday, March 22nd, gave Rice undergraduates the opportunity to generate innovative solutions to the mobility issues facing Houston, and to receive feedback from Houston mobility stakeholders. Student teams worked to create policies relating to topics of accessibility, congestion, and public transit, and then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.

In order to host the event in collaboration with the Center for Civic Leadership, MobilityHouston, and the Roosevelt Institute, Rice junior Madhuri Venkateswar received funding from the Hilda and Hershel Rich Family Endowment for Student Community Service. The Endowment supports projects that are intended to make a distinctive impact upon society, raise awareness among the Rice community, and foster and encourage leadership and creativity among Rice students.

Read more about the event and the winning team here in the Houston Chronicle, here in Rice News, and also here on the January Advisors' blog.


Recent alum Nathan Truong ('14) wins Luce Scholarship

March 2, 2016

Nathan Truong, who graduated from Rice University in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, has been selected to be a Luce Scholar and will spend the next year working in Asia.

Nathan is a current Instructor of Physics and AP Statistics, and a Teach for America Corps Member at YES Prep Public Schools. Read more in Rice News.

According to the Luce Foundation, the intent of the Luce Scholars program is to provide an immersion experience in Asia for an outstanding group of young Americans who would not otherwise have the opportunity to come to know Asia intimately.To be successful, candidates must demonstrate an outstanding capacity for leadership, have a record of high achievement, and have mature and clearly defined career interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments.

Current Rice students interested in the Luce Scholarship should contact the Center for Civic Leadership for advising. Eligible candidates must have received a Bachelor's degree before their year in Asia.


Mobility Houston, Roosevelt Institute, and the CCL team up to host policy challenge

Feb. 15, 2016

MobilityHouston, the Roosevelt Institute, and the Center for Civic Leadership are partnering to host the upcoming MobilityHouston@Rice Policy Challenge on Tuesday, March 22, which will give Rice undergraduates the opportunity to generate new, innovative solutions to the mobility issues facing the Houston community.

The MobilityHouston@Rice event is limited to 10 student teams and registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Students may apply here.

Leading up to the event, teams will work to research and outline their policy ideas. During the policy challenge, teams will have the opportunity to speak with relevant stakeholders from around the Houston area to receive feedback on their proposal. The stakeholders include elected officials, representatives from city departments, non-profits, and commercial firms - all of whom have deep knowledge and interest in Houston's mobility policies.

The teams will then present their proposals to a panel of judges who will evaluate the proposals and award a prize of $1000 to the highest performing team.

The CCL will be holding an information session to answer questions about the event at 12:10 PM on Tuesday, February 23rd on the 2nd floor of the RMC in the CCL Conference Room.


CCL raises a glass to community partners

Feb. 12, 2016

On Tuesday, January 26, Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) honored local leaders in city government, nonprofits and the private sector who work with the Center to provide experiential learning opportunities for Rice students during an event called "The Brew."

More... »


Voting is now open for the 10 Rather Prize finalists

Jan. 27, 2016

The Rather Prize was created in partnership with former CBS News anchor Dan Rather and his grandson, Rice University freshman Martin Rather, the Center for Civic Leadership, Austin-based Greenlights for Nonprofit Success, and SXSWedu. 

Concerned about Texas public school rankings and the current quality of education in the state where his grandfather attended school, Martin came up with the idea for an award that would recognize original and innovative ideas to improve public education.

Voting is now open to the public, and you can cast your vote for the best idea here.

More press coverage of the Rather Prize can be found here, and more information about the Prize can be found at www.ratherprize.org.


Rice senior Isabel Scher is selected as 2017 Schwarzman Scholar

Jan. 11, 2016

It was announced today that Rice University senior Isabel Scher was selected as 1 of 111 Schwarzman Scholars. Recipients of the scholarship will travel to Beijing in 2017 for a one-year Master's Degree program. Read more in Rice News.

Students interested in applying to the Schwarzman may contact the CCL for advising and information on writing a successful application.

More press coverage of Schwarzman Scholars can be found in The New York Times, and you can meet the inaugural class in a video produced by the Schwarzman scholarship program here.

Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $350 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity.

The $450 million endowment will support up to 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions opened in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence in 2016.

Learn more at www.schwarzmanscholars.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SchwarzmanScholars and on Twitter at @SchwarzmanOrg.


Upcoming Due Dates

Jan. 6, 2016

Please note the following due dates for scholarship and program applications. 

Houston Internship Program application

Friday, January 8

Contact: Jesse Hendrix

Udall Scholarship application

Tuesday, January 19

Contact: Danika Brown

Wagoner Scholarship application

Wednesday, January 20

Contact: Madalina Akli

Beinecki Scholarship application

Monday, January 25

Contact: ccl@rice.edu

Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience (LRME) application

Monday, February 1

Contact: Michael Domeracki or Thasha Uche

CD Broad application

Friday, February 5

Contact: ccl@rice.edu

Undergraduate Conference Funding 

Thursday, February 11

Contact: Michael Domeracki


CCL Newsletter

Jan. 4, 2016

Happy 2016!  The first issue of our newsletter focuses on our work with community partners. We hope you enjoy reading highlights of some of the projects accomplished in 2015 through collaboration, and we look forward to working with you in the New Year. Download our newsletter as a PDF.


Rice alumnus Ibrahim Khan is awarded Marshall Scholarship

Dec. 9, 2015

Rice alumnus Muhammad Ibrahim Khan is one of 32 U.S. students who has won the distinguished Marshall Scolarship for 2016. The scholarship funds American students pursuing graduate studies in the UK. Marshall Scholars are selected based on academic merit, leadership potential, and ambassadorial potential. 

Ibrahim graduated in 2013 from Rice with a B.A. in English and cognitive science, and is currently a graduate student at Dartmouth College. With the Marshall Scholarship, he will undertake a graduate degree in philosophy in Islamic studies and history at Oxford University. Read more at Rice News.

Graduating students interested in applying to the Marshall Scholarship for study in 2017 may contact the Center for Civic Leadership for advising and resources on writing a successful application. In order to be eligible for the Marshall, students must have graduated by the fall of the academic year that they take up their scholarship.

For more information on fellowships advising for the Marshall and other scholarships, visit our Fellowships page.