For Fulbright researchers, Rice is home away from home

Fulbright MDS students share how EPMP nurtures their career aspirations in a culturally rich environment

EPMP Fulbright students stand in an atrium at Rice University

International students may now use their Fulbright scholarships to pursue a professional master’s degree from the Engineering Progressional Master's Programs (EPMP) in the George R. Brown School of Engineering. This includes Rice CS' Master of Data Science and Master of Computer Science degrees. 

“I received my Fulbright scholarship in Mexico,” Aldo Alvarez shared. “Thanks to this scholarship, I'm able to do my graduate studies in the U.S.” Rice waives tuition for master’s students in the Fulbright program, and The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies coordinates social gatherings for Fulbrighters to help them feel at home.

EPMP Fulbrighters join a welcoming global community from the very beginning. “Having access to a network of current students and alumni was invaluable,” Facundo Arredondo said. “Their guidance and support were instrumental during the application process and in navigating my initial steps at Rice.”

Alvarez and Arredondo, along with several other Fulbright EPMP students, have firsthand insight about how the professional master’s program is helping them achieve their career goals—and what makes Rice feel like home away from home.

Meet some of the Fulbrighters who are pursuing their Master of Data Science degrees:

Aldo Alvarez: “I have great freedom to design my academic path so it adjusts to my career goals,” Alvarez said. Aldo Alvarez is using his master’s degree in data science to integrate his background in physics with machine learning, tackling problems with a social impact. The professional master’s program allows him to customize his coursework to his career needs. 

For Alvarez, the welcoming Fulbright community and Houston’s strong Latinx culture made him feel at home. “The Fulbright group at Rice started organizing welcome sessions even before the beginning of the academic year. This city has a big Latinx community, so there are a lot of places and people who share my culture.”

Facundo Arredondo: “There is a community vibe at Rice that I am sure you will not find on other campuses,” said Facundo Arredondo. This community gives him support as he pursues his master’s in data science. He hopes to use his degree to fast-track his career in a high-tech company—and eventually, launch his own startup. For Arredondo, the EPMP is a practical program that aligns with his industry career goals.

Arredondo has found a great group of Argentinian friends in Houston, and he was impressed by the Rice Fulbright community. “I have friends who won Fulbright scholarships and are studying at different universities. They cannot believe how Fulbrighters have such a strong and beautiful community like ours. The continuous support we have here is something else.”

Juan Hevia: “My career goal is to harness the power of AI to drive socioeconomic development, particularly in Latin America.” Juan Hevia has worked with emerging technologies across a variety of sectors, and he has a vision of using his master’s in data science to improve society. 

For Hevia, the daily interactions with diverse people on campus makes him feel a sense of belonging. “This sense of belonging is amplified by the warm and inviting culture of both Rice and Houston: It mirrors the communal warmth of Argentina, where we value social connections and engaging conversations.” 

Anekha Sokhal: “I am particularly interested in using Computer Vision applications to improve jewelry e-commerce, a sector I worked in before joining Rice,” Anekha Sokhal said. She is completing her master’s in data science and plans to work with an AI-focused startup and apply data science tools to business applications. 

Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, but for Sokhal, Rice is a cohesive community. “Rice feels like a little village,” Sokhal said. “Despite being in a huge country like the U.S., Rice actually feels small and intimate, like a friendly bubble.”

Fulbright scholarships are bringing a vibrant, global community to the professional master’s program. It’s the diverse community that makes the EPMP experience stand out as exceptional. 

For more information about applying to Rice University’s Engineering Professional Master’s Program, please check out the upcoming information sessions

Read about other Rice EPMP Fulbright scholars in the complete article from Emily Person