Undergraduate Awards

Rice Engineering Awards & Scholarships

The George R. Brown School of Engineering offers a variety of awards and scholarships based on academic status, major, and interests. Learn more about these awards and scholarships.

Distinction in Research and Creative Works in CAAM

The Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics will recognize graduating seniors for outstanding creative contributions with the award of Distinction in Research and Creative Works in CAAM.

By establishing this distinction, the department hopes to kindle in students an ambition to make a significant contribution beyond routine classroom assignments.

This distinction shall be awarded for significant contributions in research, design and creative projects. The basis for the award may be one outstanding work or a consistent series of meaningful contributions made over the duration of an undergraduate career.

According to a George R. Brown School of Engineering policy, no more than 30% of CAAM majors in a graduating class may receive this distinction.

How to Apply

Only CAAM majors are eligible for Distinction in Research and Creative Works Award in CAAM.

Students will be considered for this distinction in the spring semester before they graduate. December graduates should submit their portfolios in the Spring following their graduation.

To be considered, a student must:

  • Declare your intention to apply for this distinction by sending a brief email to caam_dept@rice.edu with the subject: "Distinction in Research and Creative Works in CAAM" by the end of the second week of the spring semester;
  • Electronically submit a portfolio to caam_dept@rice.edu with the subject: "Distinction in Research and Creative Works in CAAM" by the end of the 10th week of the spring semester; and
  • Submit a hard-copy of the portfolio, by the end of the 10th week of the Spring semester, to:
    Department of Computational & Applied Mathematics
    c/o Distinction in Research and Creative Works
    Rice University 6100 Main St. - MS 134
    Houston, TX 77005-1892

Only students who apply according to these guidelines will be eligible. Successful applicants must graduate with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30.

Upon review of the portfolios, the department's undergraduate committee will recommend awards to the department chair, who will issue final approval.

Portfolio Requirements

Your portfolio should comprise:

  • One page abstract. This well-written introduction should concisely summarize the longer works that make up the main substance of the portfolio. This abstract must contain a clear statement of the role that fellow student collaborators, faculty advisers, and other mentors played in the works included in the portfolio.
  • Copies of papers/final reports/etc. from research and design projects. These must have been completed during the student’s undergraduate years at Rice, though the projects may have been conducted off campus, e.g., with collaborators in the Texas Medical Center, through an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates), or through an industrial internship. Cogent written reports are strongly favored over collections of slides from project presentations or posters. Candidates may include links to videos or computer codes.
  • One or more letters of recommendation from faculty or other advisers (at Rice or elsewhere) addressing the student’s contribution to the project. The advocate should send this letter directly to caam_dept@rice.edu.

Applicants should carefully consider the composition of their portfolio. It is quite possible, for example, that two members of a design team will both apply, but only one will be awarded. Although the design project might be the main element in the portfolio, supporting material from other projects can make a difference.

Material included in this portfolio may not be submitted for distinction in any other major.

Standards

Successful candidates must explain how their undergraduate research contributions rise “above and beyond the norm” accomplished by many of our majors.

The following, while not exhaustive, are hallmarks of exceptional research:

  • Publish an article in the research literature.
  • Present work at a regional or national conference.
  • Publish an article in a Rice research journal or as a CAAM Department technical report sponsored by a faculty adviser.
  • Win an award at the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium.
  • Make a significant contribution to the needs of design team’s client, who should write a letter of endorsement.
  • Demonstrate a high degree of dedication, leadership and creative contribution to a research team or mathematically-oriented outreach project over the course of several years.

CAAM-Chevron Prize

The annual CAAM-Chevron Prize for Computational and Applied Mathematics Majors and Minors is awarded for particularly outstanding performances in a class, notable contributions in undergraduate research, or excellence in outreach activity. This prize was established in 2009. Recipients are nominated.

Recipients

  • 2019: Joseph Emilio Munar, James Alan Fuente 
  • 2018: Ian Frankel, Victor Gonzalez, Anna Cowan, Jing Gu
  • 2017: Jonathan Celaya, Alexander Gardner, Wendy Knight
  • 2016: Isabelle Ainsley Cochran, Nathan Leo Bucki, Margaret Njeri Gacheru, Shan Zhong
  • 2015: James J. Allred, Emily A. Meigs, Christopher R. Harshaw, James Lee
  • 2014: Xuaner Zhang, Thomas Weidman, Fortino Garcia, Katherine Van Leeuwen)
  • 2013: Michael Ross Franco, Justin Scott Dong, Timothy Young-Hwan Moon, Sara Elizabeth Schwettmann
  • 2012: Scott Nauert, Andrew Tilley, Guang Yang, Katherine McConachie
  • 2011: Sailesh Prabhu, Elizabeth Van Italie, Hao Li, Joey Huchette, Lathan Henderson
  • 2010: Michael Eastwood, Arjune Bose, Amber Kunkel, Zachary Rubenstein
  • 2009: Jeff Bridge, Cynthia Sung, Jordon Cavazos, Yue Hu, Yuekai Sun, Ryan George

Michael Ross Franco Award

The Michael Ross Franco Award is given to Rice undergraduates who are exemplary computational and applied math students. This award was created by Michael Franco’s family in honor of Michael and to celebrate students who share Michael’s passion for CAAM.

Michael Ross Franco graduated from McMurtry College at Rice University in 2014 with a double major in computational applied math and math. At the start of his senior year, Michael was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which necessitated intense chemotherapy for eight months. However, despite this treatment, Michael’s passion for his CAAM work drove him to complete his course work and graduate on-time alongside his classmates. Michael's senior design project, under Rice Professor Tim Warburton and UT MD Anderson Assistant Professor Dr. David Fuentes, assisted in the development of a prototype therapy-modeling tool for MRI-guided laser ablations to treat brain tumors.

After graduation and during the remainder of his cancer treatment, Michael worked at BP’s Center for High-Performance Computing, where he helped improve BP's parallel methods for acoustic wave propagation. In Fall 2016, Michael joined the Applied Mathematics Ph.D. program in the UC Berkeley Department of Mathematics. At Berkeley, he is focusing on developing high-order methods for the numerical solutions of PDEs. Michael is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Michael and his family hope that this award inspires its recipients to tenaciously pursue their passions and continue to excel in their CAAM studies.

Recipients

  • 2019: Eappen Sebastian Nelluveilil 
  • 2018: Varun Suriyanarayana