College Associates are faculty, university, and community members affiliated with a specific residential college at Rice. Associates serve as a resource for Lovett students, offering mentorship, academic and career advice, and some even play on Lovett’s intramural sports teams! (Fun fact: Lovett is the only residential college to have a former U.S. president serve as an associate, and we have the only Nobel Prize-winning associate too!) Lovett’s Associates program is coordinated by three elected student Associates coordinators. They organize events to facilitate interaction between Lovett students and Associates including semesterly Associates nights, Finals study breaks, and Senior Wine & Cheese tasting.

If you are interested in becoming a Lovett Associate, please email our college coordinator Sharon O’Leary for the application! For more information on Rice’s campus-wide associates program, please visit this link.


Lisa Biswal

Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

I am currently an associate professor in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. I hold a BS degree in chemical engineering from California Institute of Technology and a PhD degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University. My research involves studying complex fluid systems. This includes studying very small magnetic particles, fluids confined to very small channels, and biosensors.

John Casbarian & Natalye Appel

Professor, Architecture; Architect, Natalye Appel + Associate Architects

Founding Principal and Design Director of Natalye Appel + Associates Architects and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Natalye Appel is an internationally recognized architect of civic, institutional, commercial, art and residential projects with over 35 years of leadership. A graduate of Rice University and The University of Pennsylvania, Appel is a LEED Accredited Professional, passionate about the environment and architecture that enhances the site, and has led multiple LEED Certified projects for her firm and various collaborators. NA+AA has won numerous design awards and is known for its client - focused, collaborative process and sustainable, innovative, cost effective solutions. In 2012, NA+AA was named AIA Houston Firm of the Year in recognition of these continued contributions. Appel compliments her architectural practice with an ongoing commitment to the community, including teaching, lecturing, juries and mentorship, and service to a variety of professional and community organizations, including Hermann Park Conservancy, Recipe for Success, Preservation Houston, The Texas Lyceum, The Association of Rice Alumni, Rice Design Alliance and AIA Houston. Currently active with the International Women’s Forum, AIAH Women in Architecture and DiverseWorks, Natalye also recently earned her sea legs during the Tall Ships Challenge Gulf Coast 2018 on Elissa, the official 1877 Tall Ship of Texas, sailing out of Galveston’s historic Pier 21 to Pensacola and New Orleans.

Reginald Desroches

Rice University Provost

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in the New York City borough Queens, DesRoches credits his love of science and math and his interest in “tinkering with things” with leading him to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. As a student earning his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, he witnessed firsthand the structural damage wrought by the historic 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco. His primary research interests are in design of resilient infrastructure systems under extreme loads and the application of smart and auto-adaptive materials. His research is highly interdisciplinary and spans micro- to macro-scale. He has published approximately 300 articles and has served as thesis advisor to 30 doctoral and 17 MS thesis students.

Julie Fette

Professor, French Studies

Julie Fette is an associate professor of French Studies at Rice University. Her main research interests are gender and ethnicity. She is the author of Exclusions: Practicing Prejudice in French Law and Medicine, 1920-1945. She has published articles about diverse subjects such as xenophobia, memory, theatre, and professional women in Contemporary French Civilization, French Politics, Culture & Society, PMLA, and the Journal of Women’s History. She teaches courses on French society and culture. She is currently writing a book on representations of gender in contemporary French children’s literature.

George & Darlene Hirasaki

Professor Emeritus, Engineering

George Hirasaki is the A. J. Hartsook Professor Emeritus Research Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. Professor Hirasaki joined the Rice faculty after a 26 year career with Shell Development and Shell Oil Company. His research in fluid transport through porous media ranged from the microscopic scale intermolecular forces governing wettability to the megascopic scale numerical reservoir simulators for field-wide modeling. A reoccurring theme throughout this research is the dominance of interfaces in the determination of fluid transport processes. Fluids flow through rock and soil in pore spaces that are on the order of microns. The relative transport of phases and components are governed by the degree of wetting of the solid by the fluid phases and the sorption of species on the fluid and solid surfaces in addition to the usual transport coefficients such as viscosity and diffusivity. Professor Hirasaki's research program is sponsored by an industrial consortium, USDOE, and industrial contracts. Darlene Hirasaki sits on the board of the The Society of Rice University Women (SRUW) and a community volunteer. They are both adventurous world travelers who particularly love mountains.

Dave Johnson

Professor, Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering, Lovett Alum

David B. Johnson is a Professor of Computer Science and of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University and was previously a member of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University for eight years. He received the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science in 1990 from Rice University. Professor Johnson founded and is leading the Monarch (MObile Networking ARCHitectures) research group at Rice (previously at Carnegie Mellon) and has worked substantially on the problems of Mobile IP and different types of multihop wireless networking such as mobile ad hoc networking, sensor networking, and mesh networking. He was very active in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the principal protocol standards development body for the Internet. He was one of the main designers of the IETF Mobile IP protocol standard for IPv4 and is the primary designer of Mobile IP for IPv6, and his group's Dynamic Source Routing protocol (DSR) for wireless ad hoc networks has been published by the IETF as an Experimental protocol for the Internet. From 2005 through 2009, Professor Johnson served as the elected Chair of ACM SIGMOBILE, the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Mobility of Systems, Users, Data, and Computing; and was previously Treasurer of SIGMOBILE from 1997 through 2005; he also served two years as a member of the ACM SIG Governing Board Executive Committee (SGB EC). He is a member of the steering committee for the ACM MobiCom and MobiSys conferences; was General Chair for IEEE MASS 2012, COMSNETS 2011, MSN 2007, VANET 2006, and MobiCom 2003; and Technical Program Chair for VANET 2005, MobiHoc 2002, and MobiCom 1997. He has been a member of the Technical Program Committee for over 40 international conferences and workshops, and has been an editor for six different journals. Professor Johnson received the NSF CAREER Award in 1995 and the ACM SIGMOBILE Distinguished Service Award in 2001.

Christina Keefe

Professor in the Practice, Theatre

Christina Keefe is the Director of the Rice Theatre Program. She has been a professional actor for over 20 years, working both in New York and regionally at such theaters as The West Side Arts, The Wilma Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Lyric Stage and The Warehouse Theatre. She has taught acting, voice, movement, and directed for Duke University, Lehigh University, University of Houston, Muhlenberg College and DeSales University. Christina has also served as Artistic Associate at both the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and The Warehouse Theatre. She received her BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and her MFA from the University of South Carolina. She has completed the Shakespeare Intensive with Shakespeare & Co. and has a certificate from the British American Drama Academy. Christina also has her own private voice practice working with Houston professionals and teaches Ashtanga and Hatha yoga. She is a member of Actors’ Equity, Screen Actors Guild and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association.

Stephen & Peggy Klineberg

Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Founding Director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research; Attorney at Law

Dr. Stephen Klineberg has been shaping local thought on the ongoing trends in the Houston metropolitan region for almost forty years. As the director of the annual “Kinder Houston Area Survey” (1982-2019), he has tracked the economic outlooks, demographic patterns, experiences, and beliefs of area residents during a period of remarkable change. Under contract with Simon & Schuster, his book, Prophetic City: Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America, will be released early in 2020. Dr. Klineberg is the recipient of twelve major teaching awards and a much sought-after speaker in the Houston community and beyond. He is a graduate of Haverford College, with an MA from the University of Paris, and a PhD from Harvard. He and his wife Margaret “Peggy" have called Houston home since the early 1970s; they have two children and five grandchildren. Peggy is an attorney who’s legal practice includes business, government, industry specialties.

Naoko Ozaki

Professor, Center for Language and Intercultural Communication

I'm originally from Tokyo, Japan, but I have spent most of my life in other countries (mostly in the U.S.). I enjoy learning from people of diverse backgrounds. Teaching Japanese at Rice University and talking to Rice students are both extremely rewarding to me.

Loren Raun

Professor in the Practice, Statistics

Loren went to graduate school at Rice and has been connected ever since. She is faculty in the statistics department, the chief environmental science officer for the city of Houston, chief of the bureau of community and children's environmental health, chair of the Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee, and chair of Houston Wilderness. Her research is in human health and pollution. Outdoors, the environment, community activism, eating out, cats, dogs, chickens, bees, sheep and books are her passion. She is happy to donate Audi, her Great Pyrenees, to any event. Just ask!


Crystal Davis

Accountant, Rice University, Lovett Alum (Spouse Bev Blackwood : Lovett Alum)

I’m happy to talk to anyone considering accounting as a career. (There seems to have been an uptick in this just lately because of the new M Acc program at JGSB!) I’m very enthusiastic about paper crafts, and I think I have every related craft supply imaginable. My spouse is an experienced homebrewer and beer judge.

Ellen Everett

Senior Associate Registrar, Registrar’s Office

I have been working in higher education for almost 45 years. I started as a student assistant in the Registrar's Office at a local community college and then began working full-time after my freshman year. I didn’t complete my bachelor’s degree and return to college until later in life. I attended an accelerated program in which I completed 62 hours in less than two years while working full time with twin daughters still in high school. After that, I decided to keep on and received my masters as well. I actually retired from the community college after 32 years and then began my second career here at Rice. In addition to my position at Rice, I currently teach part-time at the community college and I always tell my students that I am the poster child for “It’s Never Too Late!”

John Fierst

Assistant Director, Office of Academic Advising

Hello Lovetteers! My name is John Fierst, and I'm an Assistant Director of Academic Advising here at Rice. I'm originally from rural Indiana, went to Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) for my degree in biology, and attended Texas A&M University for my master's degree in higher education. I have been at Rice since May 2017, and I love getting to work with Rice students everyday. I really enjoy talking about travel, food, personal finance, Houston, and of course academic planning! Since I work on campus, I'm usually easy to get a hold of, and you are welcome to chat with me anytime. I hope to see you around the Lovett commons or in the Office of Academic Advising soon!

Joshua Furman

Director, Houston Jewish History Archive at Rice University

I teach modern Jewish history at Rice, with courses on immigration, race, food, and Texas Jewish history. I’m the director of the Houston Jewish History Archive, a repository of South Texas Jewish historical records in the Woodson Research Center in Fondren Library. I’m originally from San Antonio, and now I live in Houston with my spouse and our two kids. I’m a second-generation Lovett affiliate, as my father attended Rice and lived in Lovett in the 1970s. Would love to get lunch or coffee with any of you!

Alsinder "Al" Hicks

Chef, Entreprenuer

I would like Lovett students to know that I care about them and that they can come and talk to me about anything. I want them to succeed at Rice University and in every area of their lives. I have been some places, done some things, dealt with many people and situations and I am alive to tell about most of it openly and honestly. You can't download experience. Life is all about relationships. I want to see people be and do better in life.

Jerusha Kasch

Emergency Manager, Crisis Management

Jerusha Kasch is Director of Institutional Crisis Management. I have completed 10+ years of higher education and multiple trade schools, and have been employed in Higher Education for years, so I generally have a good understanding of institutions of learning. I have 5 kids between the ages of 22-31. I get the “college years” thing. I have 20 years of work experience and all levels of the work force from boots on the ground to executive leadership. I teach leadership and management as part of my job. I have a pretty decent set of life management experience especially in crisis situations, so there is plenty of life skills, critical management information for me to down load into willing minds.

Jacki Schaefer

Career & Alumni Specialist, Photographer, Lovett Alum (Spouse Andrew Schaefer : Lovett Alum)

Hi! My name is Jacki Schaefer, and I am serving as the School of Architecture’s Career and Alumni Specialist. I talk to our students about their long-term career dreams as well as how to get summer internships and job offers. My husband and I were both at Lovett (I was an archi and he was an econ major) and we have two kids who are often with us. I started my photography company, Water Oak Studio, while taking time away from the architecture industry. I taught at RSA for several years, but have transitioned to my current role as it encapsulates what I believe to be the best part of teaching: creating relationships and making connections for our students. I love making things, and spend most of my (limited) tv time knitting… And I’m happy to teach you how to knit, as well! I taught myself over winter break once year when I was very cold and missing Lovett. Beyond that, and most importantly, I want you to know that I am always available to talk or get coffee!

Alexander Wyatt & Matthew Tharp

Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs, Jones Graduate School of Business

Alex is Director of ( ) empowering college students to embrace innovative career paths for their future. He is also owner of Leona’s Bakeshop ( ) Alex and Matt are happy to help with cooking and baking, or resume reviews, cover letters, and career connections.


Andrew Albers

Architect, OJB Landscape Architecture

I received my MArch from Rice in 1999, and have been in Houston since then. Prior to grad school at Rice, I studied at Georgia Tech in Atlanta (spending my senior year abroad in Paris) and grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. I currently practice at OJB Landscape Architecture or projects around the country. My partner, NuNu Chang, and I own an Architecture practice as well. I am involved with the Rice Design Alliance / Cite magazine, and concerned about our city, urban planning, architecture, design, and the landscape. I am interested in trying to answer the question of how we bring the best design to our lives.

Dana Caldera

Artist, Educator, Lovett Alum

I graduated as a MechE in '09 and worked for Shell for 4 years. Then, I taught art at YES Prep before earning my MFA in studio art and becoming a self-employed artist. I was always doing art on the side. I love to talk about women in business and my experience changing careers and to anyone considering engineering, arts, or education. Patrick (my husband) has worked for BP since graduation, including an overseas posting, and also likes to talk shop with future engineers.

Leonard Chan

Management Analyst, Houston Fire Department, Lovett Alum

Leonard N. Chan (Lovett 2007) graduated magnum cum laude with a B.A. in political science, history, and religious studies. He later obtained his Masters of Public Administration from the University of Houston in 2009. He previously interned under Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn. Chan served on staff for the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission during the 82nd Legislature, reviewing Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and Coastal Coordination Council. As the accreditation and compliance coordinator of Cedar Park Fire Department, he facilitated efforts for its successful accreditation efforts in 2014 before joining the Houston Fire Department in July 2018. He currently serves as the chair of the Texas Center for Public Safety Excellence Consortium. Group affiliations include the American Red Cross, St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Lyndon B. Johnson Future Forum, Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, American Society of Public Administrators, University of Houston Masters of Public Administrators Alumni, Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Scholarship Committee, and the Texas Tribune. Chan has primarily volunteered for Rice University as part of the Annual Fund Centennial Committee in 2012 and the Young Alumni of the Association of Rice Alumni-Austin from 2012 to 2017 while providing support to other alumni-based groups. He is the recipient of the 2017 Builders Award.

Michol Ecklund

General Counsel, Callon Petroleum, Lovett Alum (Spouse Mike Ecklund: Lovett Alum)

After nearly 20 years practicing corporate and international law at a law firm and in house, Michol is now General Counsel at Callon Petroleum Company (NYSE: CPE). She is passionate about speaking with women about opportunities in the corporate world and to all students who are interested in legal and/or energy careers. Michol and her husband Mike (Brown '94) are proud parents to identical twin daughters who are freshman at St. Agnes Academy and enjoy living 2 blocks from campus. Michol is honored to serve as the President of the Association of Rice Alumni for the 2018-19 academic year.

John & Annette Eldridge

Environmental Lawyer, Haynes and Boone LLP, Lovett Alum

John Eldridge is a Lovett college Alum. He has 30 years of experience in environmental litigation, transactions and regulatory practice, with an emphasis on Superfund, property contamination issues and environmental indemnities. Annette is an attorney by training and a community volunteer in her daily life. She and John have two son’s who graduated from Rice.

Kate Hallaway

Civil Engineer, BGE, Lovett Alum

Kate has over a decade of experience as an engineering professional managing and designing complex urban civil infrastructure and construction projects in the greater Houston area and around the state of Texas. This has included coordinating with a variety of federal, state and local government agencies along with several public and private utility companies. Throughout her career, Kate has served on a variety of corporate committees promoting professional development, continuing education and standards of practice. Outside of work, Kate has volunteered in multiple organizations for her alma mater Rice University and organizations that promote distance running for fitness and health.

Bryan Hassin

CEO, Smart OES, Lovett Alum (spouse Katie Barrett: Lovett Alum)

Bryan Guido Hassin (Lovett ‘01) is an energy technology entrepreneur and global startup leader. He is Cofounder and CEO of Smart OES, a rapidly growing IOT startup that uses artificial intelligence and behavioral science to optimize the energy use of large buildings and electrical grids. Passionate about aligning economic value with social value, he is also a Founding Director of, which deploys solar energy resources to schools and clinics throughout East Africa. Previously he has led IOT businesses around the world, including Poken, R7 Solutions, and Antmachine Technologies.

Bryan received his MBA with Honors and Leadership Distinction from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. He has a Master’s in Computer Science and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rice, where he played football for the Owls and later served as Entrepreneur In Residence. Bryan’s greatest achievement by far has been marrying Katie Barrett (Lovett ‘04), with whom he co-chaired Rice’s Centennial Homecoming & Reunion.

Bassam Latif

Investment Banker, Moelis & Company, Lovett Alum

Graduated Rice in 1999 with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Economics. Got into investment banking immediately and have been in that field ever since. After graduation from Rice, lived in Houston 1999-2002, NY 2002-2014, Asia 2014-2016, and back in Houston since 2016. My wife Sandy is a public-health specialist and consults for various international agencies (hence the Asia stint). She did her undergrad at UT, but we met on the 2nd floor of Lovett.

Renee Laverdiere

Consultant, The Boston Consulting Group

I am originally from Maine, but came to Houston to attend Rice for my doctorate degree. I have now lived in Houston for 10+ years. I love to help students think about their careers post-Rice, especially consulting.

Kate Gunn Pagel

Lead Project Manager of Corporate and Concierge Programs, Baylor College of Medicine, Lovett Alum

Kate is a 2005 graduate of Rice with a BA in history. She received her masters degree in public administration from Sam Houston State University. She is the lead project manager for corporate and concierge programs at Baylor College of Medicine. Kate is happy to connect students to other alums that may have similar career paths or always willing to give career or just life advice. Always up for coffee or going to a Rice basketball game. Please never hesitate to reach out!

Rachel Portnoy

Social Worker, Adult Protective Services

Rachel Portnoy is a Licensed Master Social Worker, having received her BSW and MSW from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001 and 2003 respectively. Ms. Portnoy has been the Community Liaison for Adult Protective Services (APS) since 2005. In this position Rachel works with the community to build awareness of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation through education and collaborations with other community organizations. Prior to her work with APS, Rachel was a case manager with Harris County Guardianship Program, acting as the legal guardian for developmentally disabled adults and the elderly who are incapacitated. Ms. Portnoy joined the UHD BSW faculty as an adjunct professor in 2014. Ms. Portnoy has also lectured at Texas Southern University and Texas A&M University-Central Texas in their accredited BSW programs. Rachel Portnoy is an experienced public speaker, a member of many councils and non-profit boards, and volunteers with various local organizations in an effort to affect positive change in the community.

Jimmy Wu

Senior Research Director & Biomedical Engineer, Baylor College of Medicine, Lovett Alum

I graduated from Rice with a Chemical Engineering BS with focus in Bioengineering. I went to work at NASA Johnson Space Center designing and supporting medical hardware to keep astronauts health in space. Now, I work at Baylor College of Medicine conducting and managing research and development supporting human health and performance in space flight. I would be happy to mentor any Lovetters interested in space, medicine, and generally about life after graduating from Rice.

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