graduation 2017: expand your tribe.

Rice 360° celebrated its 2017 class of graduates this past month! The occasion included a recognition ceremony for our incredible students:

Caroline Brigham
Elizabeth Godfrey
Sarah Hooper
Emily Johnson
Anna Klineberg
Catherine Levins
Tahir Malik
Radhika Mohan
Anoosha Motoru
Truce Pham
Nikhil Shamapant
Cassie Wang
Renata Wettermann

Two young 360° alums, Cindy Dinh ’11 and Jordan Schermerhorn ’12, were awarded for their leadership in the field of global health since departing Rice.

At Rice, Cindy, along with two other students, invented the patented DoseRight syringe clips, which help to accurately measure liquid medication. The clips were circulated throughout Swaziland and Central America to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, and their efforts were recognized by President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative. Always an advocate for civic engagement, she has since completed joint degrees in law at UC-Berkeley and an MPH from Harvard.

Jordan worked on BreathAlert, a sleep apnea monitor, while at Rice 360°. In 2012, She was named the winner of Nicholas Kristof’s annual “Win-a-Trip” competition, spending a few weeks with the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist in Malawi. She earned a graduate degree in global health from Duke University, and now works as a technical advisor and Chad country data manager for The Carter Center.

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The highlight of the morning’s events was certainly Dr. Deb Niemeier’s graduation address. In her keynote, she discussed practicing gratitude and recognizing failure as humbling and educational. She talked about finding happiness in simplicity, rather than materialism. And, finally, she encouraged the audience to intentionally seek out others who affirm the values and attitudes we already hold, rather than those who may challenge them.

She said, “You will need to be vigilant to keep your bigger worldview. As you go out in life, you will have to actively seek out those who are different from you, learn to value and get to know them as individuals. Just doing this alone will make you more generous and more thoughtful. As your tribe gets bigger, you’ll get more confident that your way is not the only way – you might even be grateful for the other ways in which you can grow. You’ll want less because what you’ll need and value is community.”

She encouraged our graduates to do three things as they enter the next chapter of their lives:

  1. It’s what you do after failure that will define who you are.
  2. Learn to make do with less.
  3. Expand your tribe.

We want to thank these bright, talented students for the past four years. They have done tremendous work, and have transformed from students into inspiring innovators and leaders. Endless congratulations to the 2017 graduates! We can’t wait to watch our owls fly and see how they change the world.

As Deb said, “Whatever you are doing next, you are launching yourself on the basis of success. In attending Rice and having the privilege of working with Rice 360°, you already have success in your pocket.”


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