RK Headshot


King Receives NSF CAREER Award.

Research co-authored by Fleisher and Prendergast gains widespread attention.

SOPA students partner with HERC and HISD.



Dear Alumni and Friends of the School of Social Sciences,


I write to you today in the midst of the spring semester’s “busy season,” as we prepare for many end-of-year celebrations and commencement ceremonies. This is always an exciting time of year!


This spring, we met future Social Sciences PhD students at our meet and greet dinner; held two well-attended Research Relays with the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and social sciences postdocs; took Anthropology 450 students on an international trip to Thailand and Finance and Banking externship students to New York City through the Frances Anne Moody-Dahlberg Gateway Program; and participated in Rice’s Owl Days. I also enjoyed a trip to Austin, where I met many of our wonderful alumni and visited with our students who are interning at the Texas legislature.

Dean Kimbro and Interns

In addition to these events, we participated in this year’s 24-Hour Challenge earlier this month. I would like to say a big “thank you” to those of you who donated in support of our STaRT@Rice program during the challenge. We sincerely appreciate the support, which allows us to provide a rich educational experience for our students, including scholarships to those indicating a need. If you are interested in donating to support the Fall 2023 STaRT@Rice, or any other endeavors within the School of Social Sciences, please visit our giving page.


I invite you to read below for recent updates on students and faculty within our school. It has been an exciting year, and we look forward to honoring our new graduates next week. Let the celebrations begin!


With best wishes for a great summer,

RK Signature Crop

Rachel Kimbro, Dean, School of Social Sciences



danielle king Luz Garcini Englebretson and Fischer-Baum

Danielle King, assistant professor of psychological sciences, won the  National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, which includes a five-year grant that will support King's research on preventing and overcoming race-based threats and how employers can improve workplace experiences for employees who face such threats.

Luz Garcini, assistant professor of psychological sciences, was appointed to the APA Board of Directors“I will work to ensure that APA is inclusive at multiple levels, including being acknowledging and respectful of individual differences, theoretical orientations, areas of expertise and developmental stages,” said Garcini.

Robert Englebretson, associate professor of linguistics, and Simon Fischer-Baum, associate professor of psychological sciences, organized “Braille and the Reading Sciences: Diversity Through Research and Engagement,” at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

In late 2022, President Biden appointed Ruth López Turley, director of Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research and professor of sociology, to the National Board for Education Sciences, which 

advises and approves priorities for the Institute of Education Sciences. 


STaRT 2022

Blank Slate Monument

Doyle Arnold

Nobel laureate Thomas Sargent, the W.R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Business at New York University, presented his 2022 Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics (RISE) Lecture titled “Conquests of American Inflation: North and South.”

A video captures the second STaRT@Rice, which took place during Fall Break. The multi-day immersive program provided an innovative, hands-on research learning experience to students in the social sciences from Rice and other local universities.

Last month, the Blank Slate Monument, which pays a tribute to African American history, was on display at Rice University. The exhibition was sponsored by the Center for African and African American Studies, the School of Humanities, the School of Social Sciences and Hanszen College.

The outgoing chair of the School of Social Sciences Advisory Board, Doyle Arnold, was honored for his many years of exceptional service during a reception at President DesRoches' house prior to the spring Advisory Board meeting.




Eduardo Salas received the APF Gold Medal Award for Impact in Psychology, the APS Lifetime Achievement Award, and the SIOP Wayne Cascio Scientist-Practitioner Award.


Colette Nicolaou won Rice's highest teaching honor, the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching.


Congratulations to the many other School of Social Sciences faculty, staff, and students who received numerous awards and accolades this year. Click the various links to read about the winners, learn more, and view photos.




fleisher boat

A new genetic study of medieval people who lived along the Indian Ocean coast of eastern Africa revealed that they had both African and Persian ancestry. Jeffrey Fleisher, professor of anthropology, and Mary Prendergast, associate professor of anthropology, are co-authors of the study, which includes more than 40 authors from universities and museums in Africa, Europe, and North America. The findings were published in Nature and featured in the New York Times.

Using decisions made in experimental trust games conducted in previous academic studies, Rice University political scientist Rick Wilson and Texas A&M economist Catherine Eckel asked subjects to view photos of the people who made those decisions and guess their levels of trustworthiness in a new study. Even though subjects were motivated by being paid for correct guesses, they had little accuracy.

A new research project led by Stephanie Leal, assistant professor of psychological sciences, is focusing on Alzheimer's disease and improving early detection methods through the use of highly sensitive memory tasks and brain imaging - which someday may even lead to a cure. 

Leal said the hope is "to understand the earliest cognitive and brain changes, which should get us closer to determining the cause of the disease.” 

The decision of where to send a child for their K-12 education is a big one. According to new research from Rice University sociologists, approximately one-third of parents in their Dallas-based study make the call based on their own experiences in the classroom. This method of decision making can exacerbate racial segregation and “white flight” from city schools, the research revealed.


The Social Policy Analysis (SOPA) major focuses on evidence-based policy design, analysis, and communication, culminating in the completion of a hands-on community capstone project. One such project is in partnership with the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC). The two groups are engaged in The Equity Project with HISD. 

Thomas Avalos, a Lovett College senior majoring in sport management, was all smiles during the World Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston while working as a a ticket experience ambassador for the team. The Astros won the World Series in six games over the Philadelphia Phillies.

This semester, three social sciences students are getting an up-close look at the 88th Texas legislative session, spending the spring in Austin to learn the ins and outs of policymaking at the state level. During a recent trip to Austin, President DesRoches took the time to meet with the interns to discuss their experiences.

Super Bowl 2023

Martin and Hicks

Peter Chung

Sport Management students had the awesome opportunity to work at Super Bowl LVII festivities in Glendale, Arizona in February. Thirty-six Rice students worked at the NFL Honors awards show on February 9 and seven worked at the CBS president's party on February 12. 

Two alumnae shared their experiences with the School of Social Sciences’ Master of Social Policy Evaluation (MSPE) program and the positive impact it had on their careers. The MSPE program gives students the opportunity to explore specific policy areas in depth, including criminal and juvenile justice, public health, early childhood development and education, and labor markets.

Rice alumnus, 21-year-old Peter Chung, who will walk out through the Sallyport during this May’s commencement ceremonies, is making history as the youngest director of player personnel in college football.

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