RICE week highlights College commitment to student research, creative endeavors

by Matt Overing

Centre College News
Students shared research, internship experiences and creative endeavors at the RICE symposium.

Centre College students took to the stage — in classrooms and hallways and galleries — to share an academic year’s worth of research, internship experiences and creative endeavors (RICE).

RICE week is the celebration of student achievement, massive in scale with more than 150 students taking part, and it’s a unique-to-Centre approach that helps students gain experience presenting their work — a skill that will serve them well in post-graduate and career settings.  

Vivian Bowles '21, River Fuchs '21 and Will Britt '21 shared the stage for the RICE Symposium lecture.
Vivian Bowles '21, River Fuchs '21 and William Britt '21 shared their experiences at the RICE Symposium lecture. Photo by Chantell Limerick, associate professor of Spanish.

Students heard from successful alumni Vivian Bowles ‘21, River Fuchs ‘21 and William Britt ’21, who shared their undergraduate research experience and the impact it had on their career during the RICE Symposium lecture.

“I am always impressed by the breadth and depth of the work presented at RICE,” said RICE chair Karoline Manny, instruction and reference librarian. “The research featured at RICE comes from all disciplines.” 

Students in Associate Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience Aaron Godlaski’s class shared their findings on how caring for plants affects mental health. Class of 2024 members Niki Maleki, Ali-Grace Fleeman, John Beebe and Gray Rahbany shared their findings that caring for plants did boost the mood of students.

“We wanted to look at something that we could relate to as college students, like stress,” Rahbany said. 

Four students in Professor of Psychology Jan Wertz’ class presented the beginnings of a research question on the relationship between belongingness and mental health in college students. Seniors Duerell Bard, Will Kempf, Ella Treinen, and Braden Duncan, class of 2025, presented their research with the goal of finding solutions to belonging on campus.

RICE week 2024

“We found studies being done at larger schools, and we are curious to see how we can use this data at Centre,” Treinen said. “We have such a unique environment and a close-knit community — how can that be different and how can we use what we find to benefit our campus?”

Oral presentations ranged from Taylor Swift to molecular dynamics simulations. Students in the J. H. Atkins Scholars Program presented on diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice topics.

"RICE is an amazing time to engage with my peers," Rahbany said. "Being able to show them the work that my group and I have been working on over the past year is something that only the Centre experience brings."

RICE week culminated with the symposium Thursday, with students across disciplines sharing their work. Additionally, the AEGON Gallery at the Jones Visual Arts Center played host to 40 different art students sharing sculptures, blown glass, pictures, paintings and more, from intro to drawing course work to upper level work in drawing and painting, glass, ceramics and photography.

“It is such a joy to have the opportunity to see the final product of all the hard work I see the students producing, and I always plan to take full advantage of the day to watch as many presentations as possible,” Manny said.

Photo at top couresy Francisco Lacson, class of 2025