Rice University School of Social Sciences

Message from the Dean

Dear Alumni and Friends of the School of Social Sciences,


RK HeadshotIt has been some time since our School has had a newsletter, and we hope that you will enjoy receiving news about the innovative and exciting research, teaching, and programs in Social Sciences.


This fall has brought the return of students to campus and the first “normal” O-Week that we’ve had since 2019. Classes have now been underway for six weeks, and it’s great to see our classrooms and public spaces vibrant and full again. We are all excited about the inauguration festivities for President DesRoches that are just around the corner, and I am enjoying working with Provost Dittmar, newly arrived from the University of Michigan. This is a season of change at Rice, and the School of Social Sciences is ready to embrace it!


This fall also marks my second year as dean. My first year focused on a year-long strategic planning process, helping us discern how best to serve our faculty and students, as well as where we want to invest. That plan will be released shortly, and we look forward to your engagement with the plan and the School.


Did you know that one-third of all undergraduate majors Rice awards are in the Social Sciences? And that five of the top ten majors at Rice are in our School? We are proud to serve so many Rice students and look forward to undertaking a reimagining and revamping of our Gateway Program, newly renamed the Frances Anne Moody-Dahlberg Gateway Program, thanks to the generosity of the Moody Foundation.


Please take a look at this round-up of recent stories featuring Social Sciences students and faculty. They truly show the energy, creativity, and impact of our community.


Please also keep up to date with the School by following @ricesocsci on our social media channels.


With best wishes for a great fall,

RK Signature Crop

Rachel Kimbro, Dean, School of Social Sciences



kraft staircase


Rice ranked by Niche as one of nation’s top 10 universities

Five of our undergraduate majors ranked in the top 10 in the nation by Niche, and Sport Management was #1! We also ranked No. 5 in the nation for students majoring in psychology, No. 7 in anthropology and sociology, No. 9 in political science and No. 12 in Economics!

Our program in I-O Psychology is ranked #1! 

IO Psych FacultyU.S. News and World Report ranked our graduate program in industrial organizational psychology number 1 in the nation in 2022. “The I-O program is an undiscovered diamond at Rice,” said Eduardo Salas, department chair and I-O professor of psychological sciences. “Just look at the accomplishments of the faculty from national scholarly lifetime achievement awards to national teaching awards winners.”

Low-Vision-Mobility Workshop ImageRice workshop on improving mobility with low vision brings together leaders to discuss pressing public health concern of visual impairment

“In addition to hearing about cutting-edge work from highly esteemed individuals, what was particularly exciting was that the presenters included people from a range of disciplines and sectors. We heard from academic researchers, optometrists and ophthalmologists, and directors of support groups for those who have vision loss...we learned a lot from each other that hopefully will lead to new strategies to help individuals with low vision improve mobility,” said Patricia DeLucia, associate dean for research in the School of Social Sciences.



SS RR Sept 22Video celebrates Social Sciences collaboration with Engineering during Research Relay

On September 15, the School of Social Sciences hosted the first Research Relay of the academic year with the George R. Brown School of Engineering. Four teams of social sciences and engineering scholars were given six minutes each to present their collaborative research in a “lightning talk” format. Research Relays aims to provide a relaxed setting to allow faculty to learn about each other’s research, promote informal discussions and stimulate collaborations.

Soaking the Middle Class


Sociology Assistant Professor Anna Rhodes’ new book tackles the impact of disaster on middle-class families

"'Soaking the Middle Class' was authored by Rice assistant professor of sociology Anna Rhodes and University of Wisconsin assistant professor of sociology Max Besbris, who was on the faculty at Rice during Hurricane Harvey. The book explores how families in the Houston suburb of Friendswood recovered from the storm and how that process exacerbated economic inequality within the community." - Rice News

doors choice crop2Economics Associate Professor YingHua He’s research points to ways to improve school choice processes 

"Choosing a school is one of those all-important decisions that can forever change the trajectory of a student's life. We must do all we can to simplify this process and help students get access to the best schools possible," said YingHua He.


Student Corner

Szabo HeadshotSociology doctoral student receives competitive dissertation research grant from the Russell Sage Foundation

Julia Szabo, a sociology doctoral student, was recently awarded a dissertation research grant from the Russell Sage Foundation. The $10,000 award for her research titled “Exploring Residential Choice and Schooling Experiences Across Immigrant Generations in a Latinx-Majority Suburb of Houston, TX” will enable Szabo to gather original data, which entails interviews with parents who live in a Latinx-majority suburb in the Houston area.

Placemarker 2Archeaology video series explores historic plantation site

“With this video series, we hope to introduce the community-based approach and collaborative work between Rice and the Texas Historical Commission to local communities in Brazoria County. The hope is that this introduction will lead to more local engagement in Rice's archaeological work at the site and a deeper impact from the efforts Rice is making to contribute to public history and heritage in Texas that highlights the lives of overlooked people in the state's past.” said Molly Morgan, lecturer in anthropology.

SS PhD Placement PhotoOur PhD students shone on the job market last spring

During the COVID-19 pandemic, doctoral students in the School of Social Sciences overcame seemingly insurmountable odds, thanks to the support of dedicated faculty, staff and peers. Several recent doctoral graduates in the School of Social Sciences shared stories about their time at Rice and discussed their successful placements.

Gateway Externship NYC 2022Gateway students participated in an externship to NYC

Where will a Rice University social sciences degree take you? All the way to NYC! This past April, our undergrads watched the closing bell at NASDAQ after a big day visiting with alumni from Citi, Goldman Sachs and Boston Consulting Group (BCG).




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