THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF RICE EMS
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
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PHOTO CREDIT TK
Rice EMS celebrates 25 years of lifesaving service inside the hedges and beyond. Students in EMSP 281 (EMT class) learn about motor vehicle accidents and safe EMS response from HFD Technical Rescue firefighters.
By Brandon Martin and Schaefer Edwards ’13 PHOTO BY JEFF FITLOW
Above right: The 1998 REMS team On the cover: REMS captain Leenah Abojaib ’22
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2021 REMS student emergency medical technicians (clockwise from left): Becca Egan ’22, Sean Smith ’22, Adrien Quant ’23, George Hung ’23, Anthony Guzzo ’23, Amy Ho ’23 and Leenah Abojaib ’22 4 RICE M AG A ZINE W IN T ER 202 2
PHOTO CREDIT TK
iess College senior Leenah Abojaib was thrilled as she walked into Esther Fernández’s Women and Gender in Spanish Culture class in mid-October. Abojaib was ready and eager to talk all things “Julieta,” a movie about a mother trying to reunite with her long-lost daughter. “I was so looking forward to the discussion. I did my lecture work — I did everything — I was ready,” she said. But 10 minutes into a lively chat about the acclaimed film from director Pedro Almodóvar, an unmistakable siren started blaring as all eyes turned to Abojaib, clad in her black Rice Emergency Medical Services (REMS) uniform. The REMS captain rustled through her bag to find her radio and cellphone, both devices ding-ding-dinging in unison.
LEFT: PHOTO BY LISA BASGALL; COVER PHOTO BY JEFF FITLOW
“I scrambled to put my computer back, took the phone out to check where the call was, indicated that I was en route using the radio and then ran out to the [EMS] truck,” Abojaib said. A pre-med student, Abojaib rushed to the aid of a woman in cardiac distress. In a serendipitous twist, the woman in need only spoke Spanish. “I told my professor afterward, ‘I’m so sorry I missed your class, but at least what we learned in class really benefited that patient!’”
OWLS TO THE RESCUE October 2021 marked the 25th anniversary of REMS, the university’s student-led team of emergency medical technicians that’s blossomed into a lifesaving point of pride for Rice and has minted countless campus leaders — Abojaib included — since its inception in 1996. Today, Rice offers two levels of emergency medical technician (EMT) courses — basic and advanced — for medically minded students and would-be REMS team members. The group’s student EMTs regularly respond to emergencies on campus, routinely assist with emergency
medical calls across Harris County and have become a constant, comforting presence focused on putting Rice’s culture of care into action. According to Lisa Basgall, REMS’ director for the past 12 years, REMS is currently composed of 54 undergraduate EMTs, 25 part-time staffers and two licensed EMS physicians. “We work hard to be qualified, empathetic and professional patient-care providers. We want to have the public’s trust that we’re going to respond consistently and be able to help them when they have an emergency,” Basgall said. “And after 25 years, hopefully, we have a solid foundation.” Today, REMS is one of over 250 student-run EMS organizations operating across the country, according to the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation. To Cameron Decker ’07, current REMS chief medical director and medical director of the Harris County Emergency Corps, the fundamental difference between REMS and other campus organizations are the high-stakes decisions students often make and a level of responsibility that helps REMS members “grow up pretty darn quickly.” “The day to day is going to be responding to emergencies that are not as time sensitive and critical in nature,” Decker said. “But there certainly are those emergencies in which lives are truly at stake, and our students — our membership — are taking care of our own community in their time of need.”
AN EMERGENCY STARTUP REMS is so well-established now that it’s hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t a dependable student medical corps on campus. But co-founder Mark Escott ’96 said getting REMS off the ground was an uphill battle. “[I] got a whole lot of noes from lots of different people, primarily due to concerns about the need and the risk involved,” said Escott, now the chief medical officer for the city of Austin. “The perception is and was at the time that Rice was located across the street from the largest medical center in the world — why would we need to have first response [if] ambulances are coming from across the street?” But Escott and his twin brother, Mike Escott ’98, knew
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Lisa Basgall, director of REMS
firsthand from their time working as student paramedics on ambulances in north Harris County that proximity to the Texas Medical Center didn’t always translate into quick response times. “Being an insider into EMS systems, I knew that was not the case,” Mark said. “They were coming from stations all around town, and anecdotally, it was taking a long time for ambulances to get here, which means a large gap between when the person needs help.” Undeterred, the Escotts and a group of fellow students kept at it and were eventually able to secure the funding to get REMS up and running by October 1996. The timing could not have been better. “I think the first week that we were in service, we had somebody collapse at Cohen House. One of our EMTs was serving as a waitress there and started CPR immediately [and] saved the person,” Mark said. “That happened to be in front of a Houston City Council member, so it brought a lot of positive attention to the program,” he said. “A month later, we had an individual collapse at one of the galas the president was hosting, which had a REMS response and a successful outcome. So two successes shortly after the program began really helped to solidify the program for the future.”
TRAINING AND 24-HOUR SHIFTS These days, in addition to mandatory monthly training sessions, REMS’ rank-and-file “duty crew” EMTs are required to take on at least two 12-hour shifts per month from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or vice versa. “Incharges,” REMS lingo for its student leadership team led by current captain Abojaib and multiple lieutenants, share the load of 24-hour shifts to make sure a seasoned REMS veteran is always on call year-round. (The exception is the 10–12 days around Christmas and the new year when REMS takes a temporary break.) Currently, REMS has more applicants each semester than it can accept into its ranks, Basgall said. Timothy Hays, a McMurtry College sophomore and REMS duty crew member who worked his first official shifts this past summer, is proud to be part of the next generation of REMS members. “We just have a bunch of really hardworking people who came before us. [It’s amazing] when I hear about how REMS started: How from nothing, some college students 6 RICE M AG A ZINE W IN T ER 202 2
just created this emergency medical service for the university and had that actually be successful and grow to this point,” Hays said. It’s one thing to commit your time to service when you have plenty to spare, but REMS EMTs squeeze their shift commitments into already packed academic and even athletic schedules. Abojaib said she typically takes five 24-hour shifts per month, all while double majoring with a 15-hour course load and teaching her own student-led class on crocheting during the fall semester. Hays fits his REMS shifts in around an 18-hour class schedule and his hours of practice and training with the men’s crosscountry team.
“We just have a bunch of really hardworking people who came before us. [It’s amazing] when I hear about how REMS started: How from nothing, some college students just created this emergency medical service for the university and had that actually be successful and grow to this point.” When his friends find out he’s an EMT, Hays said that “a lot of them ask, ‘How do you have time for this?’ Or, ‘How does this work with classes?’” Often, he has to dispel the common misconception that REMS EMTs can’t sleep during overnight shifts — that’s what the radio siren is for. He did confirm he’s had to turn down more than a few invitations for late-night shindigs with his fellow students, though.
A LIFETIME OF LESSONS Former REMS EMTs will tell you that all the missed parties and the stress of hours spent on call were small prices to pay for the invaluable lessons they have learned through the program. Zack Timmons ’15 said his time as a REMS EMT set him up well for his current career as an emergency medicine resident physician at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “I had such a good experience with the Rice EMT basic course and ultimately the EMT advanced course at Rice. [I got] to apply some of the science I was learning in the classroom to problems that real people were facing on campus,” Timmons said. “But the thing that brings people
PHOTOS BY JEFF FITLOW
into REMS is really the service aspect, and I think up in Saudi Arabia before moving to Minnesota in 2016, said that’s something that’s stuck with me since then and REMS opened her eyes to the possibility that she too could lead throughout my whole career.” her fellow students. “I never thought that I could be a captain, lieutenant or incharge because [I am] someone who has a very Similarly, Malford Tyson Pillow ’02, associate professor of emergency medicine and vice chair of different background. One thing I did have from the moment of education in emergency medicine at Baylor College coming to Rice is not being afraid to try out for opportunities of Medicine, credits his time as a REMS EMT with and see what things happen,” she said. “I definitely can see a teaching him how to be an empathetic leader in tangible difference between when I first started and now. And I know that other people … were involved in that growth, and I times of crisis. “One of the quotes I love to use — I wanted to be someone like that for somebody else.” believe it’s Maya Angelou’s — says something to the effect of ‘people won’t always remember what you say or what you did, but they’ll always remember GROWING A LEGACY how you made them feel.’ I remember being there to help students out at their worst moments ... and Looking ahead toward the next 25 years of REMS, Basgall then seeing them later at lunch or in a class and them knows there are plenty of opportunities for the program to saying ‘thank you.’” evolve. She credits the organization’s close partnerships with “It opened up so many different doors,” said the Rice University Police Department, Facilities EngineerAbigail Tucker ’19, a former REMS technician. “It ing and Planning, and Housing and Dining as well as with the made me a better communicator, a better listener, residential college magisters and presidents who support their better [at] working with others — skills that I’ll have student EMTs with helping REMS excel over the years. for the rest of my life. It just opened my eyes to medicine and to how to serve the community.” Those lessons on the value of service extend far beyond the medical world; Timmons was quick to point out how the leadership and communications skills he gained as a student EMT benefited him during his nearly two-year stint as a business analyst at Deloitte. His work in emergency medicine also raised his awareness about how a lack of healthy eating options affected so many of the patients he cared for both as a REMS EMT and later as a student at Students in EMSP the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell 281 practice their Medical School. Together, these experipatient assessment ences inspired Timmons to co-found skills during live Good Apple, an Austin-based produce scenario training. delivery company that uses its profits to deliver boxes of fresh food to families facing food insecurity in Central Texas. Decker figures that’s what REMS is all about. “The broad impact is in a foundation of “We want to continue to grow. We want to continue to have clinical opportunities for our students. At 25 now, our alumni leadership and creating leaders,” he said. “I think that REMS does a fantastic job of rapidly bringnetwork continues to grow, and we have alumni who have ing its leadership into adulthood.” Looking back amazing experiences in high-stakes and different institutions on the past quarter century of REMS, Mark Escott around the country,” Basgall said, with an eye toward expandagreed that watching its members grow into confiing that network in the years ahead. dent care providers and service-minded leaders has REMS members might demur when they’re called “superbeen very rewarding. “I think one of the things that heroes,” but that’s just the type of humility you’d expect from has been most surprising to me is the leadership your friendly neighborhood lifesavers who are so willing to lessons people have taken away from the program give up many hours of their precious college years to make that they’ve used in their careers, be it medicine or their community a safer place. “The commitment that they give something else,” Escott said. and the talent that they bring, their willingness to figure out Abojaib, who’s originally from Syria and grew teamwork … it’s just amazing,” Basgall said. ◆ M AG A ZINE . RICE . EDU 7
RICE MAGAZINE WINTER 2022
Rice EMS celebrates 25 years of lifesaving service.
“The Red Book of Houston” reveals new details about Houston’s thriving Black citizens in the early 20th century.
Fine art photographer Mabry Campbell ’01 shows campus in a unique light with his photography series.
In Case of Emergency
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A Found History
Studies in Mass and Volume
PHOTOS FROM “THE RED BOOK OF HOUSTON,” PUBLIC DOMAIN
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: PHOTOS BY JEFF FITLOW, LINDA WELZENBACH, JEFF FITLOW AND MICHAEL NAGIN
RICE MAGAZINE WINTER 2022
Broadway, Rice’s next president, new athletic conference, PLAT, menstrual equity, lanyards, music class
Mineral collection, Richard Baraniuk, Peter Brown, emotion regulation, faculty books
Soar Over Hate, animatronic puppets, criminal justice advocacy, Classnotes highlights, alumni books
Anya Gu ’25 glides into the new year.
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FEEDBACK Our Fall 2021 issue launched online in mid-October and in print soon thereafter. Here is a sampling of reader responses.
RICE MAGAZINE Winter 2022
All Things Rice
It’s been 50 years since I graduated from Rice, and I wanted to write to tell you that the latest [Fall 2021] edition of Rice Magazine is probably my all-time favorite of “all things Rice” that I’ve read in this half century. I think the graphics and art are terrific, and the articles kept me enthralled from the front to back cover. Kudos to you and the whole staff who created this beauty! — BRUCE MARTIN ’71 You Enjoyed “Paging Through History” Our feature opener shares excerpts and examples from the ongoing webinar project called “Doc Talks,” led by Rice historians Alexander X. Byrd ’90 and Caleb McDaniel.
Kirstin R.W. Matthews details research into vaccine hesitancy. “Fascinating. Much more complicated than I’d thought.” “Building a Better Bee” Our profile of Dan Weaver ’81, founder of BeeWeaver Apiaries in Navasota, Texas, captures a story of commitment, experimentation and innovation in bee genetics and agritourism.
“I did read this and was very interested in the history. It was also fun trying to transcribe the ledger.” “The Explainer”
This new series features “Really liked reading about the expertise of Rice Weaver’s approach faculty on recent or and his change of current events. In this issue, bioscientist career.”
“Paging Through History” In our opening feature, we made an error on Page 7. In a story about a document dated June 15, 1863, related to the thwarted escape of “Captain,” an enslaved man who told his captor that he belonged to William Marsh Rice and his brother, Frederick A. Rice, we stated that Captain’s escape “occurred two years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.” In fact, the attempted escape occurred about six months after Lincoln formally signed the proclamation Jan. 1, 1863.
Wisdom, Wisecracks, Superb Owl Puns We want to hear what you really think. Send your feedback, criticisms or appreciations via email to email@example.com or surprise us with a letter or postcard! We’re owlfully grateful for your thoughts.
If you missed any of these stories, go to magazine.rice.edu to catch up.
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Office of Public Affairs Linda Thrane, vice president EDITOR
Lynn Gosnell ART DIRECTOR
Alese Pickering CREATIVE SERVICES
Jeff Cox, senior director EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Tracey Rhoades ASSISTANT EDITOR
Kyndall Krist PHOTOGRAPHERS
Tommy LaVergne Jeff Fitlow PROOFREADER
Jenny West Rozelle ’00 CONTRIBUTORS
Catherine Arnold, Deborah Lynn Blumberg, Liz Bretz, Mabry Campbell ’01, Schaefer Edwards ’13, Terri Glanger, Kendall Hebert, Jennifer Latson, Delphine Lee, David Levin, Brandon Martin, Amy McCaig, Laura Furr Mericas, Alex Eben Meyer, Doug Miller, Michael Nagin, Agata Nowicka, Katharine Shilcutt, Linda Welzenbach INTERNS
Emma Korsmo ’24, Mabel Tang ’23 Rice Magazine is published quarterly and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, parents of undergraduates and friends of the university. © January 2022, Rice University
FROM THE EDITOR THE RICE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Robert T. Ladd, chair; Elle Anderson; Donald Bowers; Bart Broadman; Nancy Packer Carlson; D. Mark Durcan; Michol L. Ecklund; Wanda Gass; Terrence Gee; George Y. Gonzalez; James T. Hackett; Patti Lipoma Kraft; Holli Ladhani; L. Charles Landgraf; Lynn A. Lednicky; Elle Moody; Brandy Hays Morrison; Brian Patterson; Byron Pope; David Rhodes; Gloria Meckel Tarpley; James Whitehurst; Randa Duncan Williams; Michael Yuen; Huda Y. Zoghbi. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS
David W. Leebron, president; Reginald DesRoches, provost; Kathy Collins, vice president for Finance; Kathi Dantley Warren, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations; Kevin Kirby, vice president for Administration; Caroline Levander, vice president for Global and Digital Strategy; Paul Padley, interim vice president for IT and chief information officer; Yvonne Romero Da Silva, vice president for Enrollment; Allison Kendrick Thacker, vice president for Investments and treasurer; Linda Thrane, vice president for Public Affairs; Richard A. Zansitis, vice president and general counsel. POSTMASTER
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A JANUARY THEME THE FINAL STEPS of this issue’s production cycle coincide with the end of the semester — one marked by evolving policies related to the pandemic and some unknowns in terms of the emergence of a new variant. As Bridget Gorman, dean of undergraduates, noted in a mid-semester campus message, “How and when we shift policies reflects a dynamic process of monitoring and managing COVID in our community.” We are so very grateful for the work of Rice’s Crisis Management Team for maintaining robust testing sites, campus vaccine clinics and a dashboard of data (coronavirus.rice.edu) that displayed the results of more than 80,000 tests processed since Aug. 13, 2021. As the campus winds down for the semester, and all of us — students, faculty and staff — anticipate a muchneeded winter break, we’re taking stock and looking ahead. Our opening feature on the 25th anniversary of Rice’s student EMS service, “In Case of Emergency,” does just that with a story/video package that captures the evolution of Rice’s “dependable student medical corps.” You’ll be amazed at the dedication of Rice students serving as emergency responders. “A Found History” by writer Katharine Shilcutt traces “The Red Book of Houston” from its one-time 1915 publication to today, as digital research reveals new details about a thriving middle- and upper-class Black community in Houston. Digital research has
captured data about the professional lives and strong communities of prominent Black citizens in the early 20th century, a history that has too often been paved over or erased. The creation of online “story maps” by Rice students adds rich new details to this archive. We are delighted that award-winning photographer Mabry Campbell ’01 responded with a resounding “Yes!” to our invitation to turn his lens on campus. In “Studies in Mass and Volume,” Campbell’s unique approach to architectural spaces has revealed a
We are so very grateful for the work of Rice’s Crisis Management Team for maintaining robust testing sites, campus vaccine clinics and a dashboard of data (coronavirus.rice. edu) that displayed the results of more than 80,000 tests processed since Aug. 13, 2021. timeless view of our built environment. Outside of our features, we’ve filled this issue with lively student and campus stories, research briefs and alumni profiles we think you’ll enjoy. We also share the exciting news of the appointment of our next president, Reginald DesRoches, Rice’s current provost, who will take office July 1, 2022. And for the spring issue, we’re working on a story about the legacy of President David Leebron, who has served as Rice’s president for more than 17 years.
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ON BEING BOLD IN OCTOBER, during homecoming and reunion weekend, we formally launched our Be Bold campaign with a goal of $2 billion, twice the goal of our last campaign. The theme was taken from President John F. Kennedy’s iconic speech about going to the moon, delivered in September 1962 in Rice Stadium, just before the 50th anniversary of the first classes at Rice. Kennedy began by noting the huge investment that would be required to achieve that goal, and then proceeded: But if … we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, … on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to Earth … — and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out — then we must be bold. What did he mean by bold? Perhaps a little etymology is in order. The word “bold” is derived from “bald.” No, that’s not the description of my hairstyle, but rather the German word bald, meaning “soon.” In other words, bold incorporates a sense of urgency and speed, as well as doing things differently, in an unexpected way, and courageously. In Kennedy’s case, that sense of urgency was driven by a combination of the breakneck speed of the evolution of knowledge and the fierce competition to apply that knowledge, in some cases for national advantage. Speaking of the pace of human and scientific progress, Kennedy said: This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward. … So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this state of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. He noted that such efforts are accompanied by burdens, hardship and disagreements. Indeed, in the structure of his speech, the call to boldness quoted above immediately followed the paragraph that began “to be sure, all this
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[expenditure on space technology] costs us all a good deal of money,” and laid out some of the costs. He noted that at the time they were already spending $5.4 billion ($47 billion in today’s dollars) per year. And this brings us to the need for a campaign, namely to make the investments that make our bold visions possible. I return often to Kennedy’s speech because in my view it applies so eloquently to our university’s mission and ambitions as well: [O]ur leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world’s leading space-faring nation. … We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. A similar spirit motivates our university across a wide range of endeavors, including space exploration, and Rice has been bold and ambitious from the beginning. The first board of trustees hired from Princeton the young professor Edgar Odell Lovett, who in turn embarked upon a world tour to visit the best universities across the globe. When it came to the final choice of the campus location, the trustees reconsidered the plan to locate the university on a downtown Houston site of about 12 acres, instead choosing a site of almost 300 acres beyond the edge of the town of then about 80,000 people as more fitting its bold aspirations. We see evidence of boldness every day at Rice. We see it in the bold research of faculty to improve human knowledge, health and opportunities. We see it in the bold expansion of our university, both on its campus and even more dramatically through online degrees, programs and courses. We see it in our bold financial aid program, The Rice Investment, which we see increasingly emulated. We see it in our athletic ambitions, despite our small size, now given new impetus through a new athletic conference membership. And we see it reflected in our two largest gifts ever to the university made this past year — one to build new frontiers in our understanding and design of materials, and the other to build a student center that will set a new standard in supporting student life and opportunity. And we see it in the bold determination of our students to make their own contributions. As we approach the 60th anniversary of Kennedy’s speech, I hope you will join us as we celebrate what our university has become, preserve the very best of our attributes and values, and lay the groundwork for a bold future in the decades ahead.
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Cycling for a Cure
In just one month, Sudha Yellapantula went from being a reluctant cyclist to a champion cycling fundraiser for SHEPHERD SCHOOL OF MUSIC pediatric cancer research.
Broadway Beckons BY KATHARINE SHILCUTT
CAMPUS NEWS AND STUDENT LIFE
Kanisha Feliciano has her Broadway and Lincoln Center debut in “Flying Over Sunset.” BY AMY MCCAIG
PHOTOS BY JEF F F I T LOW
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Kanisha Feliciano rehearses with her professor, Nova Thomas.
T’S NOT EVERY DAY that Rice students have the chance to perform on Broadway, but for opera singer Kanisha Feliciano, it was the right opportunity at the right time. Feliciano, an Artist Diploma student of voice professor Nova Thomas, made her joint Broadway and Lincoln Center debut as Clare Boothe Luce’s daughter in “Flying Over Sunset” at the Vivian Beaumont Theater Dec. 13. The new musical was created by Broadway powerhouse James Lapine with music from Tom Kitt, lyrics by Michael Korie and choreography by Michelle Dorrance, the world-renowned dancer and MacArthur grant winner. Set in 1950s Hollywood at a beach house overlooking the Pacific, the musical depicts Luce, Cary Grant and Aldous Huxley on an LSD trip together. Described as “an exhilarating journey into the most colorful corners of the human psyche,” it delves into the private desires, hopes and secrets of the three main characters. Feliciano said that she’s new to the musical theater side of the business. A casting agency’s invitation to
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Being a part of Rice’s Artist Diploma program, which offers postgraduate students the opportunity to refine their craft while learning how to navigate a career in the performing arts, has been unique for Feliciano. audition for the role of Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera” — which calls for a classically trained singer — ultimately led to her “Flying Over Sunset” audition. She made the final two out of 4,000 people who auditioned for Christine, but the role went to an actress with more musical theater experience. As that door closed, a window opened. Feliciano was contacted during the COVID-19 pandemic to see if she was interested in trying out for another Broadway role
requiring a classically trained singer. “Instead of flying to New York and, you know, getting a hotel, making the trek and being in the room to audition with everyone, [the process] was all online,” Feliciano said. It wasn’t long after the audition that Lapine invited Feliciano to join the cast — a lifechanging moment. “I’ve been walking on cloud nine ever since,” she said. Being a part of Rice’s Artist Diploma program, which offers postgraduate students the opportunity to refine their craft while learning how to navigate a career in the performing arts, has been unique for Feliciano. “While they’re training you for that next step in your career, and how to make the transition from a student to a working musician, they encourage you to get gigs,” she said. Feliciano will return to the program after the performance closes in February. While Broadway roles are atypical for Shepherd School singers, extraordinary opportunities are not, said Thomas. “Excellence and achievement are hallmarks of the students here, and Kanisha is emblematic of that.”
SALLYPORT CAMPUS NEWS
Our Next President
Provost Reginald DesRoches to become Rice’s eighth president.
IN NOVEMBER, THE RICE Board of Trustees selected Reginald DesRoches, an internationally recognized structural engineer and earthquake resilience expert, to succeed President David Leebron, who previously announced his plan to step down after the end of the current academic year. “When President Leebron told us he was stepping down, we knew we wanted to build upon what he has accomplished these last 18 years,” said Robert Ladd ’78, chairman of the board of trustees. “We embarked on a search for a proven leader who will be transformational, who will lead Rice to even greater stature and national recognition. We have found a leader who is inspirational and universally respected, a leader who is visionary, strategic and kind.”
PHOTO BY JEF F F I T LOW
“I look forward to maintaining our commitment to excellence in undergraduate and graduate education as well as our core values of diversity, equity and inclusion. I firmly believe Rice is poised and well positioned to reach even greater heights of impact and excellence.”
structural engineering at Berkeley. “I am excited to continue working with the university’s outstanding faculty, students, staff, alumni and community partners to grow the visibility and impact of our research and dedication to the greater good,” DesRoches said. “I look forward to maintaining our commitment to excellence in undergraduate and graduate education as well as our core values of diversity, equity and inclusion. I firmly believe Rice is poised and well positioned to reach even greater heights of impact and excellence.” As provost, DesRoches has led the university’s academic, research, scholarly and creative activities through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the sudden Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, suspension of classroom instruction DesRoches was raised in the New York and Rice’s successful conversion to City borough of Queens. A boyhood love remote learning. He has dramatically of science and math encouraged him to increased the university’s research pursue a degree in mechanical engiawards, launched several new centers neering. While studying at the Univerand institutes, and forged new partnersity of California, Berkeley, DesRoches ships and programs with institutions witnessed the damage wrought by the and organizations. DesRoches came historic 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. to Rice in 2017, when he accepted the That experience led him to focus on post as the William and Stephanie Sick earthquake resiliency as he pursued Dean of Engineering at the George his master’s and doctoral degrees in R. Brown School of Engineering. “I have had the privilege of working closely with Reggie over the last 4 1/2 years, first in his capacity of dean of engineering and then as provost, and observed firsthand his extraordinary leadership, values, thoughtfulness and ambition for Rice,” Leebron said. DesRoches’ wife, Paula, is the director of employee health and occupational medicine at Houston Methodist. They have three children: Andrew, Jacob and Shelby. Shelby is a Rice student in Read more about Reginald DesRoches at the Class of 2023. provost.rice.edu/about. — DOUG MILLER
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A Catalyst for Conversation
PLAT is recognized for excellence in promoting architectural discourse.
NEW CONFERENCE In October, Rice and five other Conference USA teams joined the American Athletic Conference (The American). “We have strong alignment as we embark on the next chapter in the history of Rice Athletics,” said Joe Karlgaard, director of athletics, recreation and lifetime fitness. Altogether, the six new teams — the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Florida Atlantic University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Rice — and the nine continuing conference teams will form a 15-team league. “We are excited to be rejoining schools like SMU, Tulane and Tulsa in an athletics conference, to play Navy on a more regular basis and to have the opportunity to participate in athletics with all the other members of The American,” said President David Leebron.
AFTER EARNING an honorable mention in 2019, Rice Architecture’s PLAT — a student-run, semiannual architecture journal that seeks to stimulate conversations on architectural design, production and theory — was named a recipient of the 2021 Douglas Haskell Award presented by the Center for Architecture. “Commit,” the theme of the award-winning PLAT 9.0, explores commitment as an attitude in architectural practice, elaborating on the agency of both the architect in their intentions and the users in how they occupy a built environment. Graduate students Sebastián López Cardozo and Lauren Phillips, coeditors-in-chief, decided on this theme to explore what responsibilities architects have in teaching or practice. Submissions to this issue included essays, projects and interviews, with contributors from all over the world. López Cardozo says that many ideas for each issue’s direction are generated from topics students discuss in their classes — for example, pragmatism
and economy, architecture as a building or art, and authorship and intentionality. Every year, there is a new editorial team, which shifts the focus of the journal to exploring a fresh set of ideas. “Whether it’s a conversation or an essay from a contributor sharing their projects, [this issue] shows the different ways architects think about what it means to commit to that particular design or attitude,” says graduate student Mai Okimoto, PLAT’s managing editor. “We have the liberty to select our own theme and figure out who we want our contributors to be. That makes it possible for us to have explorations and discourse that are not necessarily tied to what the school is working on.” PLAT shared the top prize with Northeastern University’s Infra-Structures and was awarded $1,750 to support publications exploring architectural history, design and theory. At press time, PLAT 10.0 “Behold” was just released and is available at platjournal. com/shop. — MABEL TANG ’23
Right: The front cover of PLAT 9.0 16 RICE M AG A ZINE W IN T ER 202 2
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Advocating for Menstrual Equity — Period MENSTRUATION, PERIOD CUPS and all things “that time of the month” — nothing is off-limits for Period @ Rice. From no-holds-barred speaker events and engaging social media and newsletter content to meaningful fundraising and advocacy efforts, the 100-plus strong student group makes their voice heard and leaves an impact at every turn. On a mission to destigmatize menstruation, eradicate period poverty and promote environmentally friendly menstruation, Period @ Rice aims to improve menstrual equity on campus and throughout the Houston community. “At our core, we focus on menstrual equity, but we’re also passionate about other timely and relevant health issues that affect women, such as the recent state abortion ban,” said senior Krithi Pachipala, president of Period @ Rice.
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“We’re working to make menstrual products more accessible on campus through signage, supplies and financial support.” Last year, the group partnered with an organic period cup company to provide a free cup to anyone who wanted one on campus. “Menstrual cups can cost around $40, so that was a great opportunity for students to try out a more sustainable menstruation option,” Pachipala said. The affordability of menstrual products is a theme the group carries beyond Rice’s hedges too, as 1 in 5 teens struggle to purchase menstrual products or have never purchased them. Every month, the group hosts a period poverty fundraiser for a Houston health organization. They recently donated menstrual packs to the Montrose Center’s LGBTQ+ community and the
Santa Maria Hostel, a substance use disorder treatment center for women and children. Another issue the group is passionate about is addressing nonbinary and transgender menstruation. “Menstruators aren’t just women,” Pachipala said. “It’s really important to us that we use inclusive language and underscore that menstruation isn’t a binary issue.” Period @ Rice is always welcoming new members. “This is our biggest year in terms of membership,” Pachipala said. “Members can be as involved as they like — from volunteering for an event to joining the executive board.” This year, the group is looking forward to making menstrual products free and available in every public bathroom on campus, marking their greatest achievement to date. — KENDALL HEBERT
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS / 123RF.COM
Meet the student group that isn’t afraid to go there.
Life on a Lanyard
Lip balm Cabbage merchant button
From classes and jobs to internships and extracurriculars, a student’s keys follow them everywhere. Their ID gets them into buildings, their AirPods provide them with study jams, their panic buttons and pepper spray keep them safe, their wallet pays for coffee, their decorative keychains remind them of friends and family — and their lanyard or carabiner hold all of these necessities in reach. In a world of change, it’s easier to keep your life on a lanyard. — EMMA KORSMO ’24
JULIE MOQUIN ’25
Rice Athletics lanyard
Hanszen College lanyard
Personal alarm AirPod case
Daisy keychain MABEL TANG ’23
PHOTOS BY ALESE PICKERING
Penguin AirPod case Reusable straw EMMA KORSMO ’24
LUCIA FERNANDEZ ’25
Bear AirPod case SOFIA PELLEGRINI ’24
DEPARTMENT Shepherd School of Music DESCRIPTION Is music a universal language? Why does music so powerfully affect our emotions? Why do we like some genres of music better than others? The goal in this class is to explore what scientific approaches to these questions can tell us about the place of science in the modern world — as well as how and why science has become so important to the imagining of ourselves as thinking, feeling and willing beings.
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Can You Feel the Music?
Who is your top Spotify artist? Your most listened-to song? Your favorite music genre? A wide range of answers will come from these questions, but the real question is: What do those answers have to do with science? Alexandra Kieffer, assistant professor of musicology, created this class as an elective for non-music majors.
“MUSIC HAS puzzled philosophers for literally thousands of years, and the attempt to figure out how music works and why it affects us has been a part of modern science from its inception. Thinking about these problems, and how different philosophers and scientists have approached them over time, gives us a unique and valuable perspective on how science became what it is today,” says Kieffer. Her goal for the students is not to
doubt what science has discovered about musical experience, but to discover how scientific methods are interwoven with common ideas about what musical experience is. In any given class, students discuss an array of topics including historical observations about music, the cognitive basis of consonance and dissonance, and what experiencing music is like for animals compared to humans. For freshman Nick Harrison, a visual
and dramatic arts major with a theater concentration, the readings and discussions in class give him a new perspective on musical history and how others perceive music. “I love that I get to research music on a level most people don’t get to,” Harrison says. Kieffer hopes that her class gives students outside the Shepherd School of Music a chance to explore music in the context of their own majors. — EMMA KORSMO ’24
PHOTO BY VOLODYMYR MELNYK / 123RF.COM
MUSI 221 Music, Magic and Science in the Modern World
INNOVATION IN THE LAB, THE FIELD AND THE CLASSROOM
WISDOM EARTH SCIENCE
A CrystalClear Path
A late alumnus’s beloved mineral collection finds a new home at Rice. BY CATHERINE ARNOLD
PHOTOS BY LINDA W EL ZENB ACH
One of the gems in the Badachhape collection is ametrine.
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MAGINE ARRIVING in North America at 2 years old, then returning to your birthplace years later to discover you’d been drawn back not only to learn your heritage, but also to find sharp, bright crystal planes thrust from the earth by volcanic processes that flooded magma into an area the size of Oregon and Washington combined. When Abhaya Ramachandra “Ajay” Badachhape ’82 journeyed back to north-central India as an introspective young person, he walked into the nearby world-famous Deccan Traps. Dating back to around 66 million years ago, they provide clues to climate
change that may have started the dinosaurs’ demise. The hills also contain pockets of glittering zeolites, minerals that typically sprouted when volcanic magma encountered water. Finding these marvels, Badachhape began a lifetime of asking questions about the Earth and its geology. Now some of those answers are returning to Rice. Badachhape passed away in April 2021. In October, his wife and son, Sutapa Sur ’83 and Andrew Badachhape ’13, donated 250 minerals from his estate as a tribute to the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences that nurtured his passion for geology. These
Some gems in the Badachhape collection, clockwise from top left: scolecite, barite, stilbite heulandite quartz and apophyllite crystal
specimens include bright amethysts and tourmaline from South America and a wide variety of minerals Badachhape located in the hills around his birth area. “This beautiful mineral collection will have tremendous impact on our department and is an outstanding addition to the mineral collection that we use for teaching and research,” says Julia Morgan, chair of the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences. “It will become a defining focus for the Museum of the Earth, intended for public access and outreach involving digital and physical displays on geology and mineral resources.” After returning from his visits to India with a passion for minerals and rocks, Badachhape decided to study geology at Rice. In his career as a geophysicist, he specialized in locating reserves of oil and gas around the world, authored multiple publications in leading geoscience journals and shared his work at global conferences. “He was very interested in energy equity — the idea that everyone, whether in a remote village in India or in a city in the United States, should have access to some basic energy,” says Sur. In 1970s India, Badachhape had observed individuals who needed to burn wood, dung or smoky kerosene to provide light or fuel for their work or study. Part of that theme, Sur says, was increasing our possible reserves and choices for energy. “He felt that if we choose only one source of energy, we may not provide enough for everyone.” As Badachhape worked around the world — in the North Sea, Brazil, China, Alaska and on visits to his native India — he gathered zeolites and spoke with people about the Earth. “He loved to teach,” Sur says, “and he led with a smile, becoming lifelong friends in many cases.” He’d love seeing the collection at Rice, says his son Andrew. “Sharing with the public as well as with scientists and scholars who might go into the world and do more work — that would thrill him.”
Of Manitoba and Music Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I had a lot of opportunity to explore, whether it was building things with my physicist-engineer brother or going to my other brother’s apartment to listen to new records. I felt really lucky, playing sports and playing music. I played electric guitar in rock bands and planned on having a life, maybe, in music.
The Rock Star Professor
Richard Baraniuk in his own words INTERVIEW BY SCHAEFER EDWARDS ’13
IL LU S T R AT IO N S B Y AG ATA N O W IC K A
ICHARD BARANIUK juggles several significant roles at Rice but is perhaps best known to the larger community as the founder of the nonprofit, open-source publishing platform now known as OpenStax. To date, as part of its mission to improve access to education, OpenStax publishes free, peer-reviewed textbooks for college students. As the C. Sidney Burrus Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Baraniuk has centered his research on digital signal processing and machine learning, two powerhouse programs within the George R. Brown School of Engineering. An award-winning teacher, scholar and mentor, Baraniuk exudes an energetic curiosity about the way the world works. Why? “It’s 100% because of music.”
A Spark of Curiosity I got into electronics because I had purchased a very expensive “effects pedal” for my guitar. Once I went in to change the battery, I opened it up and was kind of curious. I unwrapped the circuit board, and I was flabbergasted because even a 14-year-old could tell that the parts in this $100 effects pedal cost about $2. I decided to build my own and jumped headfirst into the world of electronics, building circuits and all kinds of synthesizers, amplifiers, mixers and recording equipment. In 10th grade, I realized that this could be my dream job. I went into electrical engineering 100% because of music and wanting to build musical things. Mentors Extraordinaire Douglas Jones ’83, my Ph.D. adviser at the University of Illinois, earned his undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees at Rice. I was Doug’s first Ph.D. student, and what struck me was the unbelievable worldly advice that he would regularly dispense. For every single situation,
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he had great advice. When a faculty position came open at Rice, he encouraged me to apply. Once I accepted the job, he laughed and said, “Now you’re going to learn that the advice I was giving you was not my advice: It was Sidney Burrus’ advice that he gave to me when I was at Rice.” Sidney Burrus ’57 had this way of thinking about the world that people want to pass on. I’ve been highly impacted by fantastic mentors like Don Johnson and Behnaam Aazhang, but I owe everything at Rice to Sidney. When you talk about a teacher, a researcher, a leader, a Renaissance man — that’s Sidney. Inspired by Bored Students In the late ’90s, I was teaching a senior-level engineering class, about 20 students, and I got bothered by kids falling asleep in the back of class or not paying attention. I would haul them into office hours and perform informal psychoanalysis to try to figure out why. And when they’d say, “I’m taking engineering because I really love digital photography,” I’d immediately fire back at them. “Do you realize that this material we’re studying explains how JPEG works?” They’d answer, “Really?!” In the next class, they’d be in the front row because they’d made that connection between what excited them and what we were doing in class.
it. But, if we’re talking about a calculus textbook that’s the same as every other calculus textbook, paying $300 doesn’t really make sense.
We should be finding ways to share ideas and knowledge to make the world a better place. Throwing Out the Book I wondered how to scale up this idea of making connections between ideas beyond my class of 20 students. How do I reach 20,000 students? In 1999, the standard way was to write a paper textbook. I went to see Sidney, and he laughed, “A paper book? Give me a break! There’s this thing called the internet. Do something modern!” The Connexions project and a bunch of lasting ideas came out of that conversation. To show connections between ideas, a linear ordering of pages in a book wasn’t going to work. We needed a web, a map showing how ideas connect, so webpages and hyperlinks replaced paper. We could make everything open-source licensed so that a community of instructors from around the world
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could develop and own the book — it’s not my book anymore, it’s the community’s book. The community would make it better every year. And we could make all of this free so everyone could have access forever. Why Open Source Matters Along with lots of people, I believe that knowledge should be free. And that means we shouldn’t be tying up ideas and knowledge in proprietary systems. We should be finding ways to share ideas and knowledge to make the world a better place. And if you do pay for a book or some other educational resource, you should be getting something of value for your money. If I’m reading a novel, of course, I should pay for that because somebody put their life into
OpenStax in the Wild Little did I know that these ideas would actually work, that today OpenStax [formerly Connexions] would be closing in on reaching 20 million students — not only 20 students! One of the neatest things for me was walking through George Bush Intercontinental Airport late one night and seeing an airport staff member studying with an OpenStax book on their break. It was so exciting to see; I took a picture! DJ Rich When I interviewed for my faculty job at Rice in spring 1992, I was staying at the Hilton Hotel across from campus. Anywhere I traveled, I had a habit of — as The Replacements song “Left of the Dial” goes — tuning the radio to the left of the dial and ended up on KTRU. I loved it. At Rice, that was where my radio, car radio and stereo radio were set. A few years after arriving, I volunteered and took the 4–7 a.m. shift for a whole semester. There’s something about being totally alone in the studio in the middle of the night and knowing that there might be somebody out there listening. I look back fondly on that experience, and I learned so much about music from KTRU.
Students in Peter Brown’s class show their work in 2017.
Images of Community
PHOTOS BY TOM FLAHERTY
Artist-educator Peter Brown is honored with the 2021 Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award.
FOR MORE THAN 43 YEARS, Peter Brown has been teaching photography classes at the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, where many of his former students — who number in the thousands — have gone on to become professional photographers, arts advocates and accomplished practitioners. In October, Brown was recognized for his contributions to the field of photography with the 2021 Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award from CENTER. In nominating Brown for
the award, one student commented: “His excitement about photography is contagious and has led most of his students to publish books of their work, participate in group and solo exhibitions around the world and have their work acquired by museums.” A founding member of the Houston Center for Photography, Brown is a member of the Glasscock School’s advisory board and the recipient of numerous awards, including an Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown received the first Glasscock School Teaching Award in 2008. To further recognize his legacy, the Peter T. Brown Gallery, funded by donations from his former students, was dedicated in 2014. In accepting the award last fall, Brown described the Advanced Photography Workshop he continues to teach today at the Glasscock School; the challenges and opportunities of online teaching; the intelligence, experience and wide-ranging interests
Peter Brown teaching a class in 2015.
of his students; as well as his own award-winning work as a chronicler of the High Plains of the American West. “I was asked by Dean Mary McIntire in 1978 to teach my first class, and the school has been supportive of my work ever since,” Brown said. “Our current dean, Rob Bruce, has told me that the community we’ve established in this workshop has become a model of sorts for the entire school. … I’m so proud to have been a part of all this and so happy to have been friends and colleagues with all these people for all these years.”
— TRACEY RHOADES
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WE DON’T KNOW ...
How to Train Emotion Regulation Bryan Denny, assistant professor of psychological sciences, searches for ways to make emotion regulation interventions more targeted and effective. I’M REALLY INTERESTED in how we regulate our emotions — how people cope with things like a global pandemic, stress in the workplace or the death of a loved one. There’s never just one strategy for that, nor just one type of response. If the same negative emotional situation were to happen for 100 people, you might get 100 different responses. Yet being able to cope with those feelings and somehow manage your response to them is critical for making it through the day. It’s deeply connected with not only mental health, but physical health as well — feeling deep stress and being unable to calm yourself down is associated with things like risk for cardiovascular disease. At the moment, there are plenty of evidence-based therapies for people who have trouble dealing with their emotions. Each of them can be very effective. But in many cases, they take months of in-person sessions with a clinician, and they can often be quite expensive for patients. So how do we
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At the moment, there are plenty of evidencebased therapies for people who have trouble dealing with their emotions. Each of them can be very effective. But in many cases, they take months of in-person sessions with a clinician, and they can often be quite expensive for patients. improve on them? How can we potentially streamline them and make them more effective? Doing that will involve answering some very big questions. What are the specific psychological mechanisms that make a therapy work for an individual? What happens in an individual’s brain
that underlies improvement in their response? Do those psychological and neurobiological mechanisms vary from person to person and from setting to setting? And do they change between different demographics? In order to improve our standards of care and our ability to reach those who may benefit, it will be really important for us to figure out how emotion regulation interventions work in more detail. If we can reveal which elements cause the most impact for specific individuals in specific situations, we can potentially use that information to design more personalized approaches. With those sorts of tools, we’d be able to get more bang for the buck in evidence-based therapies. We could tailor treatments to each individual, using specific strategies that we know are likely to work for them. Doing that would let us provide relief more economically to a wider group of people and give them the help they need in potentially much shorter periods of time. — AS TOLD TO DAVID LEVIN
IL LU S T R AT IO N B Y A L E X EB EN ME Y ER
Now Reading BY JENNIFER LATSON
Collaborative Anthropology Today A Collection of Exceptions Edited by Dominic Boyer and George E. Marcus Cornell University Press, 2020
The American Civil War in Indian Country Fay A. Yarbrough ’97 The University of North Carolina Press, 2021
FOR MANY OF US, THE CIVIL WAR CONJURES up images of white men in blue and gray uniforms, fighting over slavery. But as Rice history professor Fay A. Yarbrough writes in “Choctaw Confederates,” other groups besides white Northerners and Southerners were drawn into the fray. Several American Indian nations, including the Choctaw Nation, sided with the Confederates. And as Yarbrough reveals, they weren’t halfhearted supporters but deeply entrenched allies. Choctaw leaders went so far as to declare any criticism of the Confederacy a form of treason against the Choctaw Nation, punishable by death. Why was the tribe so committed to the Confederate cause? Yarbrough, who is also the author of “Race and the Cherokee Nation,” posits that while sovereignty and states’ rights were important to Choctaw leaders, so was slavery. The Choctaw had been active participants in the slave trade since as early as the 1720s, and by the 1800s they relied on enslaved people for both agricultural labor and as English translators. At the start of the Civil War, enslaved people of African descent made up 14% of the population in the Choctaw Nation. “Ironically, given the history of removal, 19th-century Choctaws were far more ‘southern’ than their white contemporaries realized,” Yarbrough writes.
IT’S NO ACCIDENT THAT “Collaborative Anthropology Today” is a joint effort. The essay collection, edited by Rice anthropology professor Dominic Boyer and University of California, Irvine anthropologist George E. Marcus (formerly a chair of anthropology at Rice), explores how collaboration can elevate anthropological research — and why individualism has dominated the field for roughly half a century. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Boyer and Marcus write, anthropologists routinely collaborated with each other and with other scientists, from linguists to archaeologists to historians. Those collaborations led to some of the most ambitious and important anthropological enterprises of the era. But around the middle of the 20th century, the field underwent a shift toward a more individualistic model of research. By the 1980s, they write, “the dissertational norm became the solo-authored account of an individual scholar’s fieldwork.” While individual work remains the norm today, collaboration has become increasingly common again — at least supplementarily, as Boyer and Marcus note in an introduction to the “collection of exceptions,” to the solo research rule presented by roughly two dozen contributors to the book. “This abundance of generative outreach to and engagement of other disciplines and arts seems to us to bode well for the liveliness of anthropological fieldwork, theory and ethnography going forward,” they write.
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A FOUND HISTORY Student-driven research into the rare and remarkable “The Red Book of Houston” reveals new details about Houston’s thriving Black citizens in the early 20th century.
BY KATHARINE SHILCUTT
Surviving copies of “The Red Book of Houston,” published in 1915, are rare.
A R E V E A L I NG A RT I FAC T “It’s such an amazing treasure,” said Guthrie, who was looking for a new topic for a Woodson Research Center blog post when she stumbled upon a copy of “The Red Book” in Rice’s archives in early 2019 and vaguely recalled a conversation she’d once had about a similar-sounding red book with Reginald Moore, the late Sugar Land activist and historian whose own files also reside at the Woodson. “When I saw it, I thought of Mr. Moore,” said Guthrie, who immediately recognized the treasure trove of data presented in its pages. “I opened it and was like, ‘What the holy …’” The book itself is so rare that the Woodson only owns a photocopy, though a high-resolution version is available online. A handful of original copies reside locally at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center and the library at Texas Southern University (TSU). Originally printed on glossy stock, the book showcases the personal and professional lives of the city’s most prominent Black citizens: bankers and businessmen, preachers and schoolteachers, their extensive educational backgrounds enumerated and their portraits taken in front of their churches or homes. A wedding photograph
ALL IMAGES IN THIS STORY ARE FROM “THE RED BOOK OF HOUSTON” AND ARE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.
OW I N H E R F I R S T Y E A R of medical school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Susanna Yau ’20 credits an unexpected research project during her senior year as a history major with transforming the way she’s approaching her future career as a physician. Yau is far from the first person who’s come away changed by their encounter with “The Red Book of Houston” — and she won’t be the last, now that the rare book’s abundance of spatial data has been preserved for public research at Fondren Library’s Woodson Research Center. There’s no book like it in any other American city, from any other time period. “The Red Book of Houston: A Compendium of Social, Professional, Religious, Educational and Industrial Interests of Houston’s Colored Population” — published just once, in 1915 — offers a detailed depiction of Black middle- and upper-class life in the Bayou City at a time of both triumph and trial. “We could find nothing comparable to it anywhere,” said Norie Guthrie, an archivist and special collections librarian in the Woodson. “The Red Book” is recognized by researchers as unique in its comprehensive and creative celebration of Black life over a century ago, published 50 years after the Emancipation Proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” were freed. Guthrie spearheaded a yearslong project to digitize and promote its contents by making it accessible to researchers in digital formats, including a story map built with historic maps of Houston and spatial data painstakingly gathered from the pages of the century-old book. During the undertaking, Guthrie partnered with a team of Rice students, including Rachael Pasierowska, who earned her Ph.D. in history in 2021; Ryan Chow ’21, an English major; Tanvi Jadhav ’21, who majored in history with minors in sociology and politics, law and social thought; and Yau, whose own work on the project revolved around retrieving and cleaning up data on the many schoolteachers listed in “The Red Book,” including their home addresses.
of James Pendleton and Lillie Bell Price Pendleton notes their ceremony “was among the most important that Houston has produced, being attended by white and colored en masse.” “It was a very powerful statement for them to make this book,” Guthrie said. “The Red Book” teems with photos, essays, poetry, histories and business directories, boasting hundreds of local listings for everything from physicians and attorneys to ice cream parlors and picture shows. With the help of a Fondren Fellows grant, Guthrie and her team kicked off a data retrieval and cleaning project in 2019, resulting in over 900 names and addresses extracted from “The Red Book” during their ambitious undertaking. Fondren has made this work available online for free in the form of geospatial mapping data. Future researchers can use this wealth of data to continue exploring “The Red Book” with geographic information system software and other tools. The data Guthrie and her team pulled is already being put to use on projects like “Black Life in Houston: An Atlas of Racial Inequity, Displacement, and Integration” from Farès el-Dahdah, a professor of art history and humanities. Jadhav assisted on that project by tracing the 90-plus churches listed in “The Red Book,” using Houston city directories and other Fondren resources to confirm and flesh out the data before pulling it into the atlas.
PHOTO CREDIT T K
Originally printed on glossy stock, the book showcases the personal and professional lives of the city ’s most prominent Black citizens: bankers and businessmen, preachers and schoolteachers, their extensive educational backgrounds enumerated and their portraits taken in front of their churches or homes.
Harris County schoolteachers
“You can see the expansion of the Black community in Houston through the construction of churches,” said Jadhav, currently a Venture for America fellow. Working on the project provided an opportunity for humanities research during her senior year, said Jadhav, but it also gave her a greater understanding of the history of Houston’s Black community and its impact on the development of neighborhoods such as the Third Ward and Freedmen’s Town.
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e A wedding photograph of James Pendleton and Lillie Bell Price Pendleton notes their ceremony “was among the most important that Houston has produced, being attended by white and colored en masse.”
C.G. Harris, the official photographer of “The Red Book,” with his traveling portrait studio: a camera mounted to a bicycle.
Colored High School at 3030 San Felipe Road is one of several schools listed in the book.
One of those who migrated to Houston around that time was a midwife named Annie Hagen, who “came to Houston with 50 cents and through her industry and thrift … accumulated a nice bit of property” around the turn of the 20th century. Photographs taken in 1915 depict two of those properties, with a proud Hagen standing alongside her family on the front porch of their home at 609 Hobson St.
“I think this project helped me to recognize the impact that locations of community, such as religious buildings, can have on the character of a neighborhood,” Jadhav said. “It also made me rethink what empty lots and new construction are: a reflection of how a city has changed and the different stakeholders and communities that are prioritized.” A W I N D OW I N T O HOUS T ON ’ S PA S T “What’s really cool about ‘The Red Book’ is that it has allowed undergraduates to get involved in these research projects and to learn more about the city where they’re going to school,” said associate dean of humanities and history professor Fay Yarbrough ’97, who assisted Guthrie with convening an online panel last spring that debuted the project’s story map to the public, with hundreds in (virtual) attendance. Familiar Houston wards once filled with thriving Black schools, churches, businesses, lodges and homes came to life during the panel as Guthrie scrolled through a series of maps. It ended with a poignant selection of shots showing the current state of a few of these Houstonians’ homes: vacant lots, towering overpasses. Also on that panel were TSU professor Cary Wintz ’65, who discussed the history of the Fourth Ward; fellow TSU professor Karen Kossie-Chernyshev ’85, who covered African American history in Houston City Council’s District B; and Bernadette Pruitt, associate professor of history at Sam Houston State University, who used “The Red Book” in her own
scholarship and talked about African American migration patterns to Houston. Questions about these patterns and more came in throughout the discussion (which is available for viewing on YouTube). There was even some speculation about Houston’s own Harlem Renaissance and whether or not “The Red Book” may be able to shed more light on Black culture in the Bayou City in the years leading up to the 1930s. “I think the idea of a Houston Renaissance is intriguing to folks,” Yarbrough said. One of those who migrated to Houston around that time was a midwife named Annie Hagen, who “came to Houston with 50 cents and through her industry and thrift … accumulated a nice bit of property” around the turn of the 20th century. Photographs taken in 1915 depict two of those properties, with a proud Hagen standing alongside her family on the front porch of their home at 609 Hobson St. Hagen’s neighborhood was later demolished to make way for Interstate 45 and Allen Parkway. Hobson Street no longer exists, one of many parts of Black Houston carved away over the years. Just as homes and churches depicted in “The Red Book” have been lost to time, so have the names of those responsible for creating the book and the
Annie Hagen and her family on the front porch of their home at 609 Hobson St. in 1915
H.J. Broyles and family
The Broyles family residence on San Felipe Road
motives they held for its publication — an expensive endeavor that cost $80 per copy in today’s currency. The publisher printed nothing else before or since. And though a second edition seems to have been planned, it never came to fruition. These are just a few of the mysteries presented by “The Red Book,” which Guthrie hopes can be investigated using the data she and her team have collected. A T H R I V I NG B L AC K C OM M U N I T Y
“The Red Book” was published on the cusp of America’s Great Migration, during which 6 million African Americans left Southern states and headed to the north and west. Houston in 1915, ever on the leading edge of demographic change, had already experienced its own surge, however; its Black population tripled every decade between 1860 and 1890. By 1910, census data showed nearly 24,000 Black residents, comprising 30% of the city’s total population. Meanwhile, a new wave of Jim Crow laws had been enacted in Houston: Streetcars became segregated in 1903, followed by hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and other public places in 1911. The 1910 Slocum massacre weighed on local minds: Dozens of African Americans were slaughtered in an unincorporated
Many of the properties pictured in “The Red Book” have long been demolished, such as 2121 German St., pictured here.
town 150 miles north of Houston, but a grand jury empaneled in Harris County declined to indict any of the killers. The contemporary “Blue Book” society directories of Houston and Galveston listed only white people and businesses. But Houston’s Black community was thriving, especially in areas like Independence Heights, which became the first African American municipality in Texas in January 1915. And “The Red Book” proudly displayed this fact for all to see. “Part of its purpose is to push against the ideas that white people might have about what Black people are capable of, of what they had achieved — just every kind of stereotype,” Yarbrough said. “I see it as this really clear statement: ‘Look, this is what we are. You can think whatever, but we have proof. This is what we are.’” All those who read “The Red Book” are inspired by a different facet of its carefully curated account of Black life in Houston over 100 years ago. For some, it ’s the intimate portraits and photographs taken by C.G. Harris, the official photographer of “The Red Book,” shown on one black-and-white plate with his traveling portrait studio: a camera mounted to a sturdy-looking bicycle. For others, it’s the lists of businesses that clearly delineate a thriving community filled with barbershops and banks, dentists and dressmakers.
“Part of its purpose is to push against the ideas that white people might have about what Black people are capable of, of what they had achieved — just every kind of stereotype. I see it as this really clear statement: ‘Look, this is what we are. You can think whatever, but we have proof. This is what we are.’”
Trinity M.E. Church, 1410 Travis St.
A N I N F OR M E D C A R E E R PAT H
For her part, Yau was intrigued by the schoolteachers. In 2019, she was assisting Alexander Byrd ’90, vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion and associate professor of history, with a research project on whether or not teachers at three different schools in the Houston Independent School District actually lived in the neighborhoods where they taught. Studies have shown that both teachers and students benefit from having teachers live in the areas they serve, but stagnant wages and increasing home prices have made this inaccessible for many teachers across the country. Yau joined “The Red Book” team when Byrd suggested working with them to find data she could use to study historic teacher residence patterns in Houston. “The work I did with Dr. Byrd and ‘The Red Book’ team provided a perspective on Houston and education that I never would have thought about otherwise,” Yau said. “I cannot say enough about how valuable my history background and history research experiences in particular have informed my understanding of the cities where I live and my career.” After graduating from Rice, Yau was inspired to take a gap year and work through AmeriCorps at a nonprofit in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward. Yau said that her work with “The Red Book” project helped her make sense of the complex social issues she encountered during her AmeriCorps term and has continued to propel her on a path of public service. “Seeing how deep-set structural racism in America has been and continues to be, through both my history classes at Rice and my research into 1918
The residence of G.O. Burgess, mayor of Independence Heights
Left: G.O. Burgess; right: Mrs. G.O. Burgess with her sister, Mrs. Georgia Hall
and 2019 Houston public schoolteachers, has motivated me to pursue a career in medicine to serve marginalized communities,” Yau said. Now in medical school, Yau reflects on her undergraduate career and the humanities research she accomplished as totally transformative. “One of the reasons I chose to come to Baltimore was the University of Maryland’s emphasis on serving the community, and already I have seen many parallels between the social inequality in Houston and in Baltimore,” Yau said. “Because it so deeply affects individual stories and experiences, I know that having intimate knowledge of the history of the inequality I am seeing today will allow me to one day better serve my patients as a physician.” ◆ 35
STUDIES IN MASS AND Through the lens of Mabry Campbell, Rice’s campus transforms.
Left: Edgar Odell Lovett College Above: Brockman Hall for Opera 37
ine art photographer Mabry Campbell, a 2001 graduate of Rice’s MBA program, has produced a series of photographs of Rice’s built campus that is entirely original. In this series and in his work overall, fixed geometric forms and sharp architectural angles contrast with dreamlike skies — effects achieved in part by a preference for long exposures rendered in silvery black-and-white tones. In nearly a half-dozen sessions between July and October, Campbell spent hours walking the campus, a cart of equipment in tow, seeking a combination of light and location that would lead him to set up his tripod. He sought out buildings of varying ages and styles, from one of Rice’s original buildings, Maxfield Hall (formerly the Mech Lab), to the newly built Brockman Hall for Opera. “I’m trying to remove each subject from reality by a couple of steps,” Campbell says. Is that Lovett College? Yes, but probably not a view of Lovett College you’ve ever seen or imagined before. Whether buildings we’ve lived
Left: Moody Center for the Arts Below: Maxfield Hall
with for decades or ones we’re just beginning to incorporate into our own mental maps and memories of campus, the resulting images teeter between the familiar and strange, starkly isolated from the hubbub of campus life. Campbell’s images — sharp and mesmerizing — capture Rice in an unconventional light.
Left: Detail, James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace at the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion Above: Brockman Hall for Physics
You can see more of Campbell’s projects and series on architecture, land and the sea at mabrycampbell.com or in person at the Catherine Couturier Gallery in Houston. — LYNN GOSNELL
Above: Mabry Campbell with Jaume Plensa’s “Mirror” sculptures 42
PROFILES, HISTORY AND CLASSNOTES
LIFE AFTER RICE
Justice and Healing Michelle Tran is helping the most vulnerable fight cancer and overcome hate.
BY LAURA FURR MERICAS
PHOTOS BY MICH A EL N AGIN
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“I wanted to help my community and get better connected. And I think medicine is a lot about that — one on one, helping an individual heal.”
OR MICHELLE TRAN ’18, practicing medicine and activism go hand in hand. After graduating from Rice with majors in biochemistry and cell biology and poverty, justice and human capability, the Sid Richardson alumna went on to the M.D./Ph.D. program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she’s focusing on oncology. She was admitted to the Icahn School’s FlexMed program during her sophomore year at Rice, which guaranteed her a spot in the medical school while encouraging her to study more broadly and get involved in Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership. “I knew that I wanted to do research in some capacity before I applied to the program. But after I got in, I got to go further into it,” Tran says. “Combined
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with the research I was doing at MD Anderson, I was really interested in combining clinical care with research to translate discoveries into clinical trials that could be brought to patients.” After arriving in New York during the height of the pandemic, Tran found a second purpose: to help the most vulnerable members of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities protect themselves against violent, racist attacks. Since March 2020, there have been 9,081 hate incidents against AAPI people in the U.S., according to the organization Stop AAPI Hate. And New York City saw the largest increase in those attacks, according to The New York Times. “I remember people in the subway trying to go to the opposite side of the car, giving a strange look, and people calling my boyfriend racist slurs,” she says. “And
unfortunately, things just escalated from there and violent acts started happening against folks in circles closest to me.” Tran attended marches and protests, but she knew there was more to be done. In March 2021, along with Tiffany Yuen, a mentee of Tran’s through Apex for Youth (an organization that works with underserved Asian and immigrant youth from low-income families in New York City), she launched Soar Over Hate. The goal was to raise about $3,000 via GoFundMe to purchase and distribute personal alarms, whistles and pepper spray to the most vulnerable members of the AAPI community — including the elderly and those who don’t speak English. Within about a day, they’d doubled their financial goal. As of press time, more than $6 million has been donated to the organization, allowing Soar Over Hate to distribute 23,000 protective devices, mainly through events in New York and California that drew thousands of concerned community members. They’ve since expanded their scope by launching two new initiatives: a scholarship for low-income rising 12th graders in New York City and a fund for victims to receive counseling from culturally competent Asian American therapists. And of course, Tran is balancing all of this with the demands of her academic program, too. How? It all goes back to her intention. “The reason why I started this program is because I wanted to help my community and get better connected,” she says. “And I think medicine is a lot about that — one on one, helping an individual heal.”
ALUMNI ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Peter Clarke Is a RoboPuppet Wizard How a Rice fine arts degree led to an unexpected career in TV and film.
FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS, Peter Clarke ’00 has created practical special effects — animatronic puppets in particular — for film, TV and commercial productions, including key characters in “The Mandalorian,” “Pacific Rim,” “Runaways” and “Finch.” During his time studying painting and sculpture at Rice, Clarke studied abroad in Florence, Italy, where he started making wearable artwork that viewers could interact with physically. While earning his master’s degree at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), he continued to develop the interactive aspects of his sculpture with the added focus of mechanical functionality. “I was basically making machines that also had a performance art component to them,” Clarke said. He moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and found his first job on Craigslist with a special effects company that made high-end props for the Halloween industry. There, Clarke made connections that opened the door to opportunities at larger companies. He was eventually hired by Legacy Effects, where he has been working for nearly 10 years as a mechanical designer. Special effects is an evolving industry, but the animatronics that Clarke and his colleagues work on are still rooted in the fundamentals — with some technological advances, of course. “Baby Yoda has an animatronic face and head, but its body and arms are still just a rod puppet controlled manually by guys in green suits with long metal poles, which is the same
PHOTO BY LIZ BRE T Z
Special effects is an evolving industry, but the animatronics that Clarke and his colleagues work on are still rooted in the fundamentals. technology that’s been around forever,” Clarke explained. “The difference is that his head is entirely 3D-printed, designed on 3D CAD [computeraided design] software and uses some construction techniques that weren’t even invented five years ago.” Compared to the original Yoda from “Star Wars” that was largely constructed by hand, 3D printing allows Clarke to make animatronic components much faster and smaller without sacrificing performance and character, which also helps him keep up with fast-paced production schedules. “I can make something in a couple of weeks that used to take months to make,” he said. Despite the advances in computer-
generated (CG) special effects, animatronic puppets still play an important role in the industry. “One of the classic things they say about acting is that ‘acting is reacting,’” Clarke said. “Having an animatronic puppet on set gives an actor something to interact with. If it’s a CG character, sometimes they’ll be interacting with a green ball or something that doesn’t give them feedback or anything to work up against.” Ultimately, what starts out as a puppet can transform into a beloved character that people develop strong emotional connections toward. “Even though I have somewhat of a traditional sculpture background, the animatronics aspect is always much more interesting to me than the art side of special effects where they’re sculpting characters or painting them,” Clarke said. “Making them move and trying to give them life — or the illusion of life — is what really interests me.” — KYNDALL KRIST
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“We have an obligation to be a better country. We know better, so we should do better. We have to do this top down.”
LIFE AFTER RICE
Momentum for Change
Attorney Kenitra Brown builds on years of experience to advocate for changes in criminal legal systems across the United States.
KENITRA BROWN ’07 was 5 years old when her father went to prison. The man who fixed her hair and let her tag along to church choir practice was convicted of running a car theft ring, a charge for which he maintains his innocence. Because the justice system mistook him for someone with the same name who committed a separate crime, he ended up with a 65-year prison
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sentence. Brown, who grew up in Dallas, noticed more neighborhood family members, friends and neighbors going to jail, too. “As I watched them go away, I heard people say, ‘If he had just had a lawyer.’ So I decided, I’m going to be a lawyer and help people come back home,” she says. Brown’s childhood neighborhood is still among ZIP codes with the most incarcerated residents in Texas. Decades of over policing have contributed to inequitable access to city services, school funding and affordable child care, she says. Brown, who has a law degree from the SMU Dedman School of Law, now is the director of engagement at SMU Law’s Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center. She spearheads its community engagement initiatives and advocacy and engagement efforts with criminal justice research and reform advocates across the nation. The U.S. incarcerates more people
than any other country in the world, with marginalized communities disproportionately affected. Black people comprise just 13% of U.S. residents, yet they’re 40% of the incarcerated population. Black women are incarcerated at twice the rate of white women, and women are the fastest growing segment of the incarcerated population. “We have an obligation to be a better country. We know better, so we should do better. We have to do this top down,” Brown says. She connects activists from across disciplines with innovative ideas to inform policy reform. People need help with factors keeping them in the system — mental health, addiction and housing. “Incarceration is not the answer or solution,” she says. Brown returned to SMU after four years spent building her own business as a family and criminal law defense attorney. Her mother, who started a business as a single parent, inspired her. At Rice, Brown majored in political science, religious studies and policy studies. When she worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s parole division after her sophomore year, which coincided with her father’s release on parole, Brown got a firsthand look into the challenges of life for parolees. “It’s hard to be hopeful when it always feels like if you make one mistake you’re going back to prison,” Brown says. Despite the obstacles to improving the legal system, Brown is optimistic. “The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor laid bare the systemic inequalities across systems,” she says, “and the pandemic exacerbated those inequalities sparking worldwide protests, actions and conversations. There’s momentum for change.” — DEBORAH LYNN BLUMBERG
PHOTO BY TERRI GL ANGER
Class Naps, Oenology, Fine Art and Frozen Cars
Excerpts from Owlmanac
Since retiring in 2013 from UT Austin as the architectural senior project manager for renovations of classrooms and offices, Bethany Ramey Trombley ’70 (Jones: BA) has been painting almost every day. Her work is represented by two Texas Hill Country galleries and on her website, bethanyrameytrombley.com. She very joyfully divides her time among her kids and six adored grandchildren. She and Richard, married 18 years, spend a few months of the year in Asheville, N.C., and love traveling. Bethany is looking forward to going back to France for a few weeks for language school immersion and to paint. — Contributed by class recorders Ann Olsen ’70 (Jones: BA) and Mike Ross ’70 (Baker: BA; MS, 1974)
The note from David Barnett ’61 (Will Rice: BA; MS, 1963) touched on the lighter side of Rice with yet another “Asleep at the Class” story, a genre that is getting to be quite popular. I might make a guess, from the data already collected, that approximately everyone who went to Rice (and had 8 a.m. classes) could tell their own personal version of “Asleep at the Class.” This one was MATH 220 with Hubert Bray 1918 (PhD) and a student I will identify only as “a bright physics major from Oklahoma.” I quote the remainder of David’s note: “… and luckily, he didn’t swallow the chalk. Had this been in the NCAA basketball tourney, it would have been a 3-pointer by today’s standards.” — Contributed by class recorder Ed Millis ’50 (BS)
[While at Rice,] Mark Scheevel ’78 (Lovett: BS; MEE, 1979) and I joined Todd Keil ’79 (Lovett: BS) and Mark Keil (Lovett) for a Christmas break drive back to our homes surrounding Chicago. On the way north, the lack of heat in the car wasn’t an issue, as it was still relatively warm. On the way back in January, it was a big issue. When I reminded Todd of this trip, he reminded me of his brother’s repair effort: “Yes, that was a cold Christmas break car ride. Halfway back to Rice, after we just about froze to death, my brother opened the hood and jammed a screwdriver into the heating manifold. Then we had heat.” — Contributed by class recorder Chris Lahart ’78 (Lovett: BA)
“After a trip to France in 1970, my husband and I developed an interest in wine. This was before wine consultants and sommeliers. We read what books were available and made trips to California’s wine country. As wine production grew and wine became more than red, white or pink, my interest broadened. I became a wine writer, a wine judge and even ‘taught wine’ to Elderhostel groups touring New Mexico. One high point: A month in Switzerland as wine consultant for a Zurich restauTo submit a Classnote to Owlmanac, contact rant that featured wines and cuisine of your class recorder or log on to the Rice Portal the Southwestern states of the U.S.” at riceconnect.rice.edu and click “Submit a — Contributed by Shirley Classnote.” Machocky Nelson ’59 (BA)
IL LU S T R AT IO N S B Y DEL P HINE L EE
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Now Reading BY JENNIFER LATSON
The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health Rene Almeling ’98
University of California Press, 2020
Pregnant women are bombarded with information about how their age, diet and environment could affect their child’s development. It may come as a surprise that these factors matter when it comes to fathers as well. Faced with a new spate of research demonstrating the crucial
role men play in reproductive outcomes, Yale University sociologist Rene Almeling wondered: Why are researchers just now beginning to ask these questions? She explores the implications in her new book, “GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health.”
Why are we just finding out how men’s age, health and exposure to toxins can affect the health of the children they father? Reproduction and reproductive politics have long been portrayed as “women’s issues.” But in recent years, an increasing number of studies have shown how paternal age and the health of men’s bodies at the time of conception can affect not only sperm count and motility, but also the genetic material inside sperm. This is important new information about how men’s health might affect reproductive outcomes, such as miscarriage, birth defects and even childhood illnesses. You write about a 19thcentury effort to launch “andrology” as a medical specialty. It didn’t catch on, although gynecology obviously did. Why not? Obstetrics and gynecology were among the first medical specialties to emerge in the U.S., near the end of the 19th century. The book’s first chapter chronicles an 1880s attempt by elite physicians, mostly from New York City, to launch a parallel specialty for men called andrology. The founders were ridiculed, mostly because men’s sexual and reproductive health at the time was dominated
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by highly stigmatized sexually transmitted diseases. To this day, there is still no unified specialty focused on men and reproduction. As a result, there is a relative lack of public health attention to men’s reproductive health. For example, men still have the same two contraceptive options they had at the end of the 19th century: condoms and vasectomy. It seems like people are talking more openly about infertility issues, but it’s still a conversation that’s focused on women. Will this change? I hope so. I interviewed 40 diverse men from the general public about reproduction and sperm. They had not heard that their age and health can affect sperm and, in turn, their children’s health. Most didn’t know that sperm take two to three months to grow in the male body, which is the key window before conception when their behaviors and exposures probably matter most. They didn’t know that with every passing year, older men are more likely to develop new mutations in their sperm, which have been linked to an increased risk of autism and schizophrenia in their children. In fact, most of the men I spoke with said the last time they heard anything about their own reproductive systems was in high school.
When the Earth Had Two Moons
Cannibal Planets, Icy Giants, Dirty Comets, Dreadful Orbits, and the Origins of the Night Sky Erik Asphaug ’85 HarperCollins Publishers, 2019
CELESTIAL BODIES are bad drivers. They collide with each other at high velocities and then may cling together for perpetuity or speed away, trailing debris, in a series of interstellar hit-and-runs. Erik Asphaug, a planetary science professor at the University of Arizona, studies space crashes like these, which created the planets and moons of our solar system. One mystery that has puzzled researchers like Asphaug is why the planets, comets and asteroids near Earth have such different compositions — as do the two halves of our moon. In “When the Earth Had Two Moons,” he works to unravel that mystery, which has driven much of his own research. “If planets were born out of clouds of primeval material orbiting the Sun, then why aren’t they more or less the same, like so many raindrops condensing from a cloud, or like so many bales of hay piled in a mowed field?” he asks in the introduction. “Without getting ahead of my story, let’s just say that nearly every planet and moon that ever existed in the solar system was consumed by something bigger than itself, and that makes all the difference in the world.”
You Are What You Risk
The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World Michele Wucker ’89 Pegasus Books, 2021
MICHELE WUCKER’S GRANDMOTHER brazenly ignored health risks: She once refused surgery for an abdominal aneurysm until it had grown to roughly the size of an orange. Her high tolerance for risk often had harmful consequences, such as when she threw her back out in an attempt to lift a huge TV, by herself, in her mid-80s. Wucker, a leadership strategist and former think tank executive, has spent much of her career studying why people ignore obvious risks — like those an octogenarian faces when lifting heavy objects — and how to get them to recognize their own vulnerabilities. Wucker’s last book, “The Gray Rhino,” explored how neglecting risks could lead to crises for companies and entire countries; her new book, “You Are What You Risk,” examines the issue from a personal level. “What makes the difference between people who act and the ones who freeze in the face of risks and crises in their own lives?” she asks. The book explores how our personalities shape our sensitivity to risk, along with the cognitive biases and moods that can affect our ability to judge the right response. More crucially, Wucker outlines the ways we can create better “risk habits” to avoid charging headlong into dangers we could easily avoid.
With Malice Toward None
Apollo Chamber Players Azica Records, 2021
In “With Malice Toward None,” the Apollo Chamber Players have channeled the frustrations and fears of the past two years into art that addresses the social and cultural issues of our time, infused with hope for the future. The album derives its title from Abraham Lincoln’s phrase “with malice toward none, with charity for all,” and its 16 globally inspired compositions celebrate American culture and the resilience of the human spirit. Apollo’s core musicians — Matthew J. Detrick ’03 (violin), Anabel Ramirez Detrick (violin), Whitney Bullock ’07 (viola) and Matthew Dudzik ’04 (cello) — are true Space City citizens. In its 14th season, the quartet partners with schools, youth centers, refugee and veterans service organizations, hospitals, airports and libraries to bring live music performances to underserved audiences.
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11.20.2021 // Anya Gu ’25 performs a solo at a R-ICE Skating club meetup // The Galleria, Houston
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PHOTO BY JEFF FITLOW
What does Be Bold mean to you? What would it take to tackle climate change, global health care or inequity in education? What kind of bold, out-of-the-box thinking could change the world?
Be Bold: The Campaign for Rice is an ambitious $2 billion fundraising initiative to expand the pathbreaking work of our students and faculty and to seize every opportunity to make an impact on our world. Explore our world-changing goals at bold.rice.edu and decide what being bold means to you.
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ON THE WEB
Shaping a City
“The Red Book of Houston,” a rare treasure, offers a detailed description of what middleand upper-class Black life was like in Houston in the early 1900s. A yearslong project to digitize the book’s contents, led by archivist and special collections librarian Norie Guthrie at Rice’s Woodson Research Center, has given researchers access to how Black lives helped shape Houston’s communities and impact the city. For a more in-depth look at the project’s “story map,” a series of city maps that pinpoint the residences, churches, schools and businesses of Houston’s Black community 50 years after emancipation, go to magazine.rice.edu.
Celebrating Art and Music IN CELEBRATION OF THE MOODY Center for the Arts’ fifth anniversary and the 10th anniversary of James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace, the center will host “Soundwaves: Experimental Strategies in Art + Music” beginning Jan. 21, 2021, and running through May 14, 2022. Inspired by Turrell’s iconic Skyspace as a place activated by visual and sonic elements, “Soundwaves” will recognize visual and performing artists who have exemplified a deep engagement with music. The exhibition, marking the Moody’s commitment to transformative encounters with the arts, will span sculpture, audio, video, painting and performance to showcase the generative relationship between visual and acoustic practice. Several works, including installations by Jorinde Voigt and Spencer Finch, will be made specifically for the Moody’s exhibition. Visitors will be engaged through sight and sound via a wide range of themes, including perception, memory, the passage of time, our relationship to technology and the environment, and the struggle for racial justice and social change. Learn more about this exhibition and the full year of anniversary programming at moody.rice.edu. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ANRI SALA AND MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY; PHOTO BY REMI VILLAGGI, MUDAM LUXEMBOURG
Kanisha Feliciano, an Artist Diploma student in the Shepherd School of Music, made her joint Broadway and Lincoln Center debut in “Flying Over Sunset” in December. As part of the school’s program, post-graduate students have the opportunity to perfect their craft with real-world experience while earning their diplomas. Feliciano, a soprano, has performed in Mozart’s “Abduction From the Seraglio,” Adamo’s “Little Women” and several roles at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where she earned a Master of Music in vocal performance.