Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

Current HART Projects

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Communicating the Value of a Walk Through the Woods (Spring 2019)

The Memorial Park Conservancy (MPC) seeks to raise awareness of the value that urban forests can play in mental wellbeing. Studies have shown that engagement with urban forests can have positive mental health benefits in addition to physical health benefits. However, few people seem to take advantage of a walk through the woods, be it due to a lack of awareness of urban forest resources or of the value of such an excursion. This project will support the Conservancy by identifying how visiting Memorial Park can provide mental health benefits for visitors and create a means for communicating these benefits to targeted audiences and the public at large.

Students:

Antonia Iyer, Political Science & Policy Studies
Yunmin Oh, Cognititve Sciences & Psychology
Zoe Parker, Environmental Science & Policy Studies
Annum Sadana, Biochemestiry and Cell Biology & Policy Stuidies

Team Coach: 

Cathy Boyd, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:

Winifred J. Hamilton, Enviornmenal Health (Baylor College of Medicine)

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Measuring Houston Arboretum's Visitor Experience (Spring 2019)

This project will support the master planning efforts of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a 55-acre non-profit urban nature sanctuary that provides education about the natural environment to people of all ages. The project will focus on understanding who visits the Arboretum, where those visitors come from, what aspects they engage with when visiting, and visitors’ familiarity with existing programs and interest in other opportunities. This information will help the Arboretum make informed, evidence-based decisions regarding resource allocation and future planning in order to serve the whole Houston community. This experiential learning opportunity will enable students to apply the knowledge and skills gains from Rice courses to complete work that will benefit residents and visitors to the City of Houston.

Students:

Tian-Tian He, Ecology and Evolutionaly Biology & Study of Women Gender and Sexuality
Dawson Klein, Anthropology 
Ramee Saleh, Economics & Policy Studies
Sarah Torresen, Ecology and Evolutionaly Biology

Team Coach: 

Matt Lamb, Political Science

Faculty Advisors:

Randal Hall, History
Richard Johnson, Environmental Studies 

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Analyzing the Effectiveness of HFD's Community Safety Programs (Spring 2019)

The role of the Houston Fire Department (HFD) goes beyond putting out fires and incorporates many aspects of public safety including emergency medical services and fire prevention. Their mission is to save lives and protect property. Public education plays an important role in this mission. HFD currently offers a number of diverse resources and programs regarding community safety such as what to do during a cardiac arrest, cooking safety, and arson prevention. This project will support HFD by developing ways to assess the effectiveness of existing resources by analyzing current programming, drawing comparisons to national standards and best practices, and making evidenced-based recommendations for improvement.

Students:

Shannon Chen, Statistics
Charlie Dwight, Econoics & Social Policy Analysis
Ranie Lin, Mathematical Economic Analysis & Computational and Applied Mathmatics
Rachel Moore, Mathematical Economic Analysis & Social Policy Analysis


Team Coach: 
Steven Perry, Political Science

Faculty Advisor:

Bob Stein, Political Science