News and Announcements

  • Sunday, April 01, 2012 5:14 PM | Anonymous

    Please click on the following link to take you the article featured on Shell's media webpage:
  • Friday, March 30, 2012 10:44 AM | Anonymous
     – MARCH 28, 2012

    Students pray for sun this week at Shell Eco-marathon in Houston

    Some Rice University students will break out their fancy new wheels this weekend, but not for Beer Bike.

    The 16-strong Rice crew will compete with 138 other teams for bragging rights to the most futuristic, energy-efficient car on the road, whether powered by gas, alternative fuels, electricity or the sun. The competition will take place in downtown Houston on a 0.6-mile track laid out around Discovery Green.

    Rice Solar Car club

    Members of the Rice Solar Car team show off their work-in-progress earlier this week. Clockwise from left: Rachel Schlossman, Juan Barbon, Joseph Song, Andrew Owens, Andrew Markham, Ben Lewis, Robert Wilson, Hersh Agrawal, driver Kerry Wang and Allison Garza. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

    The Rice Solar Car Team formed a year ago and raised more than $80,000 from various sources, including a generous gift from Rice alumni Burton ’56 and Deedee ’56 McMurtry. The project picked up steam, so to speak, in the mechanical engineering class of the team’s adviser, Andrew Dick, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science.

    The result was a vehicle, RSC1, pieced together over the weekend at Ryon Lab and the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. It is the culmination of a year’s work that saw students choose an unusual design that breaks with the form factor of previous solar cars.

    “The biggest thing that drove this design was our time constraint,” said Duncan College sophomore Allison Garza, co-president of the club with Hanszen College sophomore Joseph Song. “Having only three months to design and build a car brought some innovative approaches.”


    Kerry Wang

    Kerry Wang will drive the car at this week's Shell Eco-marathon. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

    Kerry Wang, a Duncan College senior, will pilot the lightweight car this week. He worked primarily on the power system and will get the thrill of experiencing the 18.8-percent efficiency the solar panels will provide.

    Make that “solar panel.” The top of the car will effectively be one panel, pieced together from 174 small, square units laboriously wired together by hand and set into a 1.3-by-3.5-meter frame that will serve as a solid solar roof.

    “This is our first car, and we wanted it to stand out in some way. So we went for creativity,” Garza said, noting the team did extensive research on other solar cars. “There are two heavily used designs: You have the bubble canopy, which is a flat car with a bubble on top (for the driver’s head); then you have the manta-ray design, which is sleeker and usually has a shield where the eyes peek through.

    “We were thinking, ‘What can we do to maximize solar-array space while still being innovative?’ So we’re the first solar car that has the driver completely underneath the roof. We’ll lose a little bit of aerodynamics, but going 18 miles an hour doesn’t add a lot of drag.”


    Making solar arrays

    Students spent hours piecing together solar arrays for the Rice Solar Car. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

    The competition requires that the vehicle weighs no more than 140 kilograms, or a little more than 300 pounds, including the carbon-fiber frame and two battery packs that total about 8 pounds. With the driver, who must weigh at least 100 pounds in accordance with the rules, the car will top 400 pounds.

    “Most car bodies take a good five to six months to fabricate,” Garza said. “Kerry came up with a design with panels that fit into each other like a puzzle. So instead of taking months, we spent 20 minutes putting it together. It will probably take us a day to seal it with carbon fiber tape.”

    The Eco-marathon is not a traditional race: There will be no head-to-head competition on the track around the downtown park. Competitors must maintain an average minimum speed of 15 miles per hour as they try to squeeze every last drop of energy out of their limited fuel. The teams are expected to take their cars for 10 laps around the track, a total of six miles, within 15 minutes.

    If the days are cloud-free, Wang said, fuel won’t be an issue. In fact, a good solar car will hit the finish line with more power than it had at the start. “(Solar cars) are the only cars that produce energy,” Garza said. “Technically, if ours is very efficient, we could produce more than we use.”


    Allison Garza

    Allison Garza, the club's co-president, solders a solar element for the car. Photo by Jeff Fitlow

    Wang said the primary 5.8-pound lithium polymer battery stores enough juice to run the course twice with no input from above. “Having more capacity means the battery’s more efficient at lower power, because less is lost to heat dissipation,” he said.

    Song said the team didn’t expect to qualify for such a large competition in so short a time, and he thanked the team’s sponsors and donors for making it possible. “With their support, team members of all disciplines and backgrounds have been able to experiment in a unique setting,” he said. “All of this trial and error has led to the creation of our first car.”

    The club’s real draw, Garza said, was the chance to contribute to what she sees as the future of transportation, however impractical current solar cars may be.

    “Besides getting to do a really cool engineering project, I also feel it helps the environment, in some sense,” she said. “Maybe one day in the next 10, 20 years we might come up with a technology that will revolutionize the way cars are built. That’s exciting to me.”

    Dick sees another benefit. “One of the original ideas for the solar vehicle was to also have it serve as a platform for new technologies developed at Rice,” he said. “We’d like to take advantage of that for the vehicle, but also to showcase researchers. That’s one idea for the future.”


  • Friday, March 16, 2012 10:55 AM | Anonymous

    Schermerhorn to accompany Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof on Africa trip

    Martel College senior Jordan Schermerhorn knows how she’ll spend at least part of her summer vacation. She will accompany New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to Africa.

    Schermerhorn has been named the winner of Kristof’s annual “Win-a-Trip” competition and will spend between 10 days and two weeks with the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist on one of his excursions, most likely to Malawi.

    Jordan Schermerhorn

    Jordan Schermerhorn

    As a bioengineering student, Schermerhorn works extensively with Rice’s Beyond Traditional Borders initiative, but this will be her first trip outside the United States. “So this is really exciting for me,” she said.

    “We are very proud of Jordan, who has decided to focus her excellent bioengineering skills and her beautiful writing on alleviating global poverty and global health disparities,” said Rebecca Richards-Kortum, the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering and director of Rice 360˚: Institute for Global Health Technologies. “We know she will make the most of this amazing opportunity, and we look forward to reading about her experience in The New York Times.”

    In a column last December, Kristof called for entrants with excellent communication skills, especially online, and Schermerhorn fit the bill. “I like using Twitter a lot and try to use that for a combination of professional and personal stuff,” Schermerhorn said. “So I keep it relevant to my academic interests, and I think he found that appealing.”

    She’s also earning her stripes as a bioengineer through her senior capstone design project as a member ofTeam Breath Alert, which is developing a neonatal apnea monitor for the developing world. The team won second place in the annual Rice Undergraduate Elevator Pitch Competition last year.

    In the Times competition, Schermerhorn was required to submit an essay that, Kristof wrote, described her abilities “in sparkling prose.” She wrote about a solo trip after high school to Big Bend National Park undefined “the instant I realized the world was bigger than my hometown” undefined that encouraged her to find a way to relieve the poverty she witnessed across the border in Mexico.

    Her studies at Rice and participation in Beyond Traditional Borders have refined her vision over the past four years. “I’d love to help demonstrate to students and budding entrepreneurs that there is a vast set of untapped opportunities here to build, create and implement solutions to complicated problems in the developing world,” she wrote. “And I could help reach a nontraditional audience whose potential to improve lives remains largely untapped.”

    She’ll write for a national audience when she blogs for the Times during her trip. She and Kristof, whose work focuses on human rights abuses and social injustice, will be accompanied by a videographer who will also file regular reports on their travels.

    The news is still too fresh for her to feel intimidated. “It hasn’t hit me yet, but it’s definitely a step up from writing for the Rice Standard,” she said.

    She was delighted to tell her mother, an editor for Educational Testing Services, that her communication skills got her the Times prize. “She’s very humanities-oriented, a grammar nerd, and she got this engineering/science-oriented daughter,” Schermerhorn said. “She didn’t know what to do with me. But she’s very excited.”

    Rice News staff 

  • Thursday, March 08, 2012 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    Rice students build an owl on wheels for Houston’s Art Car Parade – and for course credit

    Art Car 101

    In a cluttered art studio off the Sewall Hall courtyard, five students are in deep discussion about the shape of an owl’s wing.

    Does it curve at the top, or is it smooth? What does a wing look like, anyway?

    Pictures of owls are spread out on a table. Insects fly in through the open doors, attracted by the light on a warm evening. The students lean in over the cardboard wing they’ve cut, deliberating over shape and aerodynamics.

    “Do we want to take this to the car?” someone asks. And the five of them steal away into the night with their cardboard wing, headed for the Oldsmobile Alero they are transforming into an owl.

    Every Wednesday night about 13 students gather for ARTS 105, also known as Art Car 101. They’re building Rice’s entry for Houston’s Art Car Parade in May – and they’re getting an hour of course credit for it.

    Art Car 101 student

    Students in ARTS 105 are turning an Oldsmobile into an owl for Houston's Art Car Parade. Photo by Greg Marshall

    The idea for the course came from Greg Marshall ’86, Public Affairs’ director of university relations. He has arranged the university’s previous entries in the annual parade of crazy and colorful cars, a Houston institution organized by the Orange Show Foundation.

    Art Car 101 is a collaboration, Marshall said, between the Visual and Dramatic Arts Department and the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, which worked together to create a “cross-disciplinary class.” He proposed the course as a way to involve “the entirety of the Rice University family” in a project that would celebrate Rice’s centennial undefined including students, staff, faculty and alumni.

    The four instructors – who are contributing their time – are a perfect amalgamation of those groups: Two are faculty members, one is on staff and three are Rice alumni.

    And they have backgrounds that make them ideal candidates to teach an art car class:

    – Marshall has arranged the university Art Car Parade entries for the past several years, including last year’s “Centennial Sammy,” a Model T made in 1912. The 2008 entry, a single-molecule “nanocar” developed by Rice chemists, rode on the dashboard in a vial and won the parade’s Visionary Artist Award.

    – Jay Miller, a visiting assistant professor of philosophy, is a sculptor and has worked with Stanley Marsh 3, the creator of the Texas Panhandle’s “Cadillac Ranch.” Miller’s academic research tends to focus on the social significance of art, including the meaning of collaborative projects.

    – Natali Leduc ’07, who earned a Ph.D. in French studies at Rice, is an MFA candidate at the University of Houston. Leduc has a long history of creating both art cars and art bikes for the annual parade, and her work on bicycles was exhibited in Tulsa last year.

    – And Richard Carter ’84 is an adjunct professor of computation and applied mathematics. He’s also creator and owner of the “Sashimi Tabernacle Choir,” an ’84 Volvo covered with more than 250 Big Mouth Billy Bass fish and lobsters, all singing classical opera.

    The 2000 Oldsmobile was contributed by Tommy Brasher ’63 and Scott Brasher ’95, owners of Brasher Motor Co. in Weimar, Texas. (License plate: OWL100, a nod to the centennial.) And once the students are finished, the plain four-door sedan will be permanently transformed into a Rice Owl.

    “We have students from all kinds of backgrounds – engineering, mathematics, the visual arts, the humanities – and all of them are working on this common goal,” Miller said.

    Most of the students have “artistic bents,” Carter said, even if they’re not majoring in art. Claire Schaffer, for instance, a Lovett senior, is majoring in French – but she helped her parents work on two art cars when she was growing up in Houston. So ARTS 105 was an obvious choice for an elective.

    “I like classes where I create something at the end – a project,” Schaffer said. “I was looking for creative outlets, and this popped up.”

    In class that February evening, Schaffer was creating owl feathers by stretching old pantyhose over bent wire hangers. Leduc followed up with wire and a pair of pliers, securing each feather to part of a metal ironing board that once belonged to Schaffer’s grandmother.

    “We’re still in test mode,” Schaffer said. Next week, the plan might be altogether different.

    Art Car 101 student

    Lovett senior Claire Schaffer tries making feathers out of hosiery and hangers. Photo by Greg Marshall

    The feathers, of course, must be sturdy enough to stay on a car driving 20 mph. Schaffer and Leduc took their feathered ironing board out for a test run in the courtyard.

    “Run, Natali, run!” Schaffer called out, and they took turns careening across the concrete and trying to build up enough speed for some wind beneath their wing.

    Meanwhile, in another studio off the courtyard, a trio of students and Miller were welding.

    “Basically what we’re going to do,” Miller told them, “is create an armature for the front of the car – what will actually support the owl head.”

    He gave a crash course on the basics of welding and showed his students how to use the MIG welder to connect four thin steel bars.

    “One thing that’s really difficult about welding,” Miller told them, “is it gets so hot that it warps the metal and can throw your angles off a little bit. We have to be really careful.”

    Welding masks were handed out. The whir of the machine was followed by a series of crackles and bright flashes. Sparks scuttled across the concrete floor and into the night.

    Collaborative art projects like this, Miller said, are an “emerging creative process.”

    “Especially this kind of creative project,” he said, “ties together so many different abilities and ideas – both creative and analytic – in a way that you often hear talked about but rarely see realized.”

    The group hopes to have something to show visitors at the UnConvention in April. The car should be finished soon after that for a series of Art Car Parade events that culminates with the actual parade May 12.

    “We realize the Houston Art Car Parade is something big and important,” Miller said. “We want to be a part of that.”

    See another article in Art Car Nation!

  • Friday, February 17, 2012 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    Jocelyn Brown ’10, a staffer at Rice 360˚: Institute for Global Health Technologies, appeared via video at a White House event Feb. 8 to talk about life-saving technology developed by students at Rice University.

    Brown was one of four representatives of academic institutions invited to speak at the “Innovations in Global Health” event this week. She is in the African nation of Malawi on behalf of Rice 360˚ and was unable to appear in person, but prepared a video in which she discussed the groundbreakingbubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) device that provides support for infants whose respiratory systems are compromised. 

      Rice students at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen watch as Jocelyn Brown, an alumna and staff at Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies, appears via video at a White House conference, "Innovations in Global Health," this week. 

    From left, Rice alumni Michael Pandya, Jocelyn Brown, Katie Schnelle, Haruka Maruyama and Joseph Chang showed components of their bubble continuous positive airway pressure device, developed in 2010 to help infants recover from respiratory infections. Brown, who is in Africa demonstrating the device, appeared via video at a White House conference this week. 

    The bCPAP was developed by Rice seniors at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen as their engineering design capstone project in 2010, and Brown has remained at Rice to continue to develop the device. Also on the team were Rice alumni Michael Pandya, Joseph Chang, Haruka Maruyama and Katie Schnelle. The portable device can be built for $160 and provides the same level of therapeutic pressure as units commonly used in the developed world that cost as much as $6,000, Brown said.

    “In my brief time (in Africa) so far, I have seen how quickly babies improve on CPAP and how relieved their mothers feel when their children begin to breathe more easily,” Brown told the White House audience. “The very first patient we put on CPAP was a bronchiolitic baby whose oxygen saturation was dangerously low upon arrival at the hospital. Before starting CPAP, she was nonresponsive, but within minutes of receiving CPAP support, her oxygen levels greatly improved. Just hours later, she was able to nurse, and five days later, she was discharged from the hospital.” Brown said it was amazing to see the baby recover when she had the assistance of the CPAP and did not have to work so hard to breathe.

    “This is about reducing the costs and improving the results of how we spend taxpayer dollars to achieve development outcomes,” said Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which selected bCPAP for funding through its Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge last July. ”But it’s also about offering American students, universities, researchers and entrepreneurs a chance to tap into a set of problems that are fundamentally solvable.” 

    Saving Lives at Birth is a partnership among USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada and The World Bank.

    Rice 360˚ Director Rebecca Richards-Kortum, the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering, attended the event on Rice’s behalf.


  • Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    Late in the Fall 2011 semester, after a summer of record setting drought, six freshmen marched from the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen to the wooded space between Keck Hall and George R. Brown Hall, carrying coils of garden hose and three objects resembling oversized hula hoops.

    As one student fastened the hose to an in-ground faucet, others wrapped the plastic hoops around the trunks of three oaks and connected them to the hose. When the signal was given, the valve was turned and out sprayed thin streams of water, soaking the ground beneath the drought-parched trees.


    “The tough part was the consistency of the angles. We had to get the water coming out in the right direction, with the right amount of pressure,” said Devin Mahon, a mechanical engineering major.

    The students were enrolled in Introduction to Engineering Design, ENGI 120, one of the first semester-long design courses offered to freshmen at Rice. Teams work on client-based design projects drawn from area hospitals, community partners, international communities and the campus.

    The students named their team WATER – Watering All Trees Everywhere at Rice. Besides Mahon, the other members are, in bioengineering, Peter Yu; in chemical engineering, Junli Hao; in mechanical engineering and materials science, Fay Pauly, Oscar Turner, Rachel Wang.

    Their goal was to work with the staff of Rice Facilities Engineering and Planning (FE&P) to develop an efficient watering system, one that conserves water while saving trees. The project was inspired by the ongoing drought in Texas.


    The spray from the students’ device is aimed at the “drip line” of trees, the outermost circle on the ground where rain drips from leaves and branches. There, rather than nearer the trunk, is the most efficient and beneficial spot for supplying trees with water.

    The team built three prototypes, finally settling on an optimal design of 10-foot lengths of PEX pipe, with holes measuring .043 inches drilled every 10 centimeters.

    “That gave us the best, most even distribution of water,” Turner said.

    Ann Saterbak, professor in the practice in bioengineering education, teaches the class.


    “This group was very hard-working,” she said. “They stayed in constant communication and kept a positive, realistic outlook. They demonstrated impressive management skills and took the initiative to consult faculty and staff about the technical and logistical complexities of the project.”

    She attributed the team’s success to “group trust and unwillingness to settle for an inadequate solution.”

    ENGI 120, as it’s popularly known, started in spring 2011 with 20 students in the first class. By the fall, enrollment had doubled.

    ENGI 120 introduces students to the engineering design process, and to working as a team. They work with "Apprentice Leaders" -- older students enrolled in Engineering 316. These coaches receive leadership training in the preceding semester in Engineering 315.

    “ENGI 120 helps students put the rest of the engineering curriculum in context. The class whets their appetite for design but also shows them the need for technical knowledge within the design process,” said Mark Embree, director of the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership and professor of computational and applied mathematics.

    “We also anticipate,” he added, “that students will use their intensive team experience in ENGI 120 as a springboard for group work elsewhere in the curriculum and in student clubs.”

    Grounds superintendent Ron Smith, with Rice FE&P, looks forward to trying out the WATER-designed watering device.

    “We watched a demonstration and it looks as though they would be effective and useful on campus,” he said. “We’re not aware of anything like them currently on the market.”

  • Tuesday, January 10, 2012 10:58 AM | Anonymous

    M. Kenneth Oshman '62 appears on a Houston Chronicle list of notables who died in 2011.

    Houston Chronicle


    M. Kenneth Oshman, 71, a Rice University trustee and benefactor whose gift to the school made possible the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, dedicated in 2008. Aug. 6. 

  • Friday, January 06, 2012 3:22 PM | Anonymous
    James McLurkin has received from award from Proto Labs.


    James McLurkin, assistant professor of computer science at Rice University, has received from award from Proto Labs to help produce low-cost robots for engineering undergraduates.

    Based in Maple Plain, Minn., Proto Labs advertises itself as the “world’s fastest” manufacturer of “custom CNC (computer numerical control) machine machined parts and injection molded parts.”

    McLurkin will receive up to $100,000 worth of prototyping and production services to be used for robot production. Shortly after joining the Rice faculty in 2009, began designing his own model, the R-One. It can be programmed for different levels of learning but is inexpensive enough to be used in a K-12 program.

    “I want robots to be as popular as scientific calculators,” McLurkin said. “I want to support a curriculum where every student has their own robot and can study individual lessons, and where they can also work in teams -- using their robots collectively in multi-robot systems.”

    From 1999 to 2003, McLurkin was the technical lead and project manager at iRobot Corp., where he managed the DARPA-funded Swarm Robotics project. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science in 2008 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Monday, December 12, 2011 9:29 AM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to Team Ice Owls!


    Third annual competition awards $6,150 in prizes to students

    Special to Rice News

    The Ice Owls team won first place overall in Rice University's third annual Undergraduate Elevator Pitch Competition with a plan to design and build a device for vaccine storage in developing nations. The competition was held Nov. 17 at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

    Forty teams presented 90-second "elevator pitches" -- overviews brief enough that they could be given on an elevator ride -- to a group of 275 judges. The teams were evaluated on the commercialization potential of their projects and were asked to consider such factors as customer needs, market applications and unique differentiators. Prizes totaling $6,150 were awarded to the winning proposals. Competition judges included investors from throughout the Houston area, many of whom are involved with the Rice Business Plan Competition.

    The elevator pitch competition was created to expose engineering students to the possibility and process of commercializing the technologies they create, said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. This year’s event was open to anyundergraduate student team that wanted to pitch a product.

    “Fourteen teams of non-engineering students were a wonderful addition to the 26 teams of engineering students who pitched their capstone engineering design projects at the competition," said Maria Oden, professor in the practice of engineering education and director of Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. "We hope that entrepreneurial opportunities and exposure to the possibility of commercialization of their work will help all the students think beyond the initial stages of an idea and consider taking that idea into the marketplace.”

    Burke added, “We hope that a number of these projects will move forward and become commercial successes and result in the formation of new startup ventures." 

    Award winners

    First place overall ($1,500)

    The Ice Owls' plan called for the design and construction of a system that uses steam from a capteur-soleil, a low-cost technology to capture the sun's energy, to make ice. The system will be used in developing nations for vaccine storage. Team members included Victor Leyva, Shai Bernstein, Tristan Clement, Geoffrey Holmes, Travis Howell and Yean Lee.

    Second place ($750)

    Breath Alert developed a system capable of detecting apnea in premature infants and is suitable for use in crowded, poorly staffed settings. Team members included Rachel Alexander, Rachel Gilbert, Jordan Schermerhorn, Bridget Ugoh and Andrea Ulrich.

    Social and Global Health Ventures ($400 per team)

    Citybusters' plan called for development of an air-sterilization system tailored to the demands and limitations of a bus environment that has the potential to reduce the spread of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Team members included Shidong Chen, Grace Ching, Jerry Lue, Sundeep Mandava and Joey Spinella.

    PEEK developed a cost-effective and portable endoscope with high resolution for providing point-of-care screening in the developing world. Team members included Rebecca Hernandez, Charisma Kaushik, Jean Kim, Amy Liao and Sabha Momin.

    Medical and Rehabilitation Technologies ($400)

    TCOIL's plan called for the design of two prototypes: a transcutaneous energy transfer system suitable for implantation and capable of powering Procyrion’s cardiac assist device, and a wireless system capable of controlling pump operation and determining critical pump operating parameters. Team members included Alexander Dobranich, Trevor Mitcham, Michael Torre, Hana Wang, Erin Watson and Tyler Young.

    Energy, Sustainability and Electronic Technologies ($400)

    Rice Recovery's project sought to develop a system that can harvest energy to supplement existing energy production systems in a solar electric vehicle, the Rice University Solar Car. Team members included Andrew Owens, Ethan Wagner, Kerry Wang and Robert Wilson.

    Research and Innovation: Laboratory, NASA & Military ($400)

    Collar ID designed a new collar that can be fitted quickly in the field of combat to properly immobilize military patients with spinal cord injuries without exacerbating injuries. Team members included Kareem Ayoub, Alicia Buck, Adriana Gamboa, Michael Heisel, Irma Martinez and Daniel Peng.

    Open Challenge: Hardware Solutions ($400)

    Loco4Motion proposed a cellphone case capable of converting the energy generated from daily motion into electricity. Team members included Sonia Garcia, Allison Garza, Vivaswath Kumar, Chester Kupchella and Joseph Song.

    Open Challenge: Networking, Software and Public-interest Ventures ($400)

    SNOWMAN's plan would establish a combination of algorithms to manage social-network content according to each user's preference on friends and industries. Team members included Mira Chen, Mingming Jiang and Frank Zhang.

    First place, Houston Entrepreneurs’ Organization ($1,000)

    Impossible Challenges developed a design that will potentially allow the launch of microsatellites with a mass around 1-2 kilograms into orbit for a fraction of what NASA or any private company spends per kilogram. Team members included Andrew Amis, Joe Anderson, David Sullivan and Kern Vijayvargiya.

    Second place, Houston Entrepreneurs’ Organization ($500)

    Wisga's plan would leverage the power of reviews to help students discover the internships, research positions and opportunities of their dreams. Reviews help students find the experience that is the best fit for them and provide organizations that recruit on Wisga with the best applicants possible. Team members included Ian Akash Morrison and Aniruddha Sen.

    The competition was part of Rice's involvement in Global Entrepreneurship Week, which was sponsored in part by the Kauffman Foundation. The event was hosted by the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and was sponsored by BP, the Houston Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, the Jones Graduate School Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Rice's Center for Engineering Leadership, the George R. Brown School of Engineering and the Jones School.

    -- Mary Lynn Fernau is marketing director for the Rice Alliance.

  • Monday, November 21, 2011 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    Check out the OEDK website at to see a list of all of the winners!


    The undergraduate elevator pitch competition was held on last Thursday, November 17th and Ice Owls took the first place $1,500 prize. Congratulations to mechanical engineering majors Victor Leyva, Shai Bernstein, Tristan Clement, Geoffrey Holmes, Travis Howell, and Yean Lee on their win. The team was pitching their design project, which uses solar power to produce ice. See the list below for all of the winners!

    3rd Annual Undergraduate Elevator Pitch Winners:

    10 cash prizes totaling $6,150


    1st Place Overall: $1,500

    Ice Owls - Victor Leyva, Shai Bernstein, Tristan Clement, Geoffrey Holmes, Travis Howell, Yean Lee

    2nd Place Overall: $750

    Breath Alert - Rachel Alexander, Rachel Gilbert, Jordan Schermerhorn, Bridget Ugoh, Andrea Ulrich

    Social and Global Health Ventures: ($400 each team)

    Citybusters - Shidong Chen, Grace Ching, Jerry Lue, Sundeep Mandava, Joey Spinella

    PEEK - Rebecca Hernandez, Charisma Kaushik, Jean Kim, Amy Liao, Sabha Momin

    Medical and Rehabilitation Technologies ($400)

    tCOIL - Alexander Dobranich, Trevor Mitcham, Michael Torre, Hana Wang, Erin Watson, Tyler Young

    Energy, Sustainability and Electronic Technologies ($400)

    Rice Recovery - Andrew Owens, Ethan Wagner, Kerry Wang,
              Robert Wilson

    Research and Innovation: Laboratory, NASA & Military ($400)

    Collar ID - Kareem Ayoub, Alicia Buck, Adriana Gamboa,
              Michael Heisel, Irma Martinez, Daniel Peng

    Open Challenge: Hardware Solutions ($400)

    Loco4Motion - Sonia Garcia, Allison Garza, Vivaswath Kumar,        
              Chester Kupchella, Joseph Song

    Open Challenge: Networking, Software, and Public-interest Ventures ($400)

    SNOWMAN - Mira Chen, Mingming Jiang, Frank Zhang

    Houston Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)

    1st Place: $1,000

    Impossible Challenges - Andrew Amis, Joe Anderson, David Sullivan, Kern Vijayvargiya

     2nd Place: $500

    Wisga - Ian Akash Morrison, Aniruddha Sen

Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen - Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK


  Industry Partners