Rice professor chose community college route too

Apr 3, 2014

Rice Professor at STEM Symposium

The road to a Rice University research career would seem challenging to any student but, not so, says Dr. Jonathan “Joff” Silberg of Rice, who outlined his own journey from community college during the STEM Symposium at West Loop.

“I had no science experience, and my career path was unclear,” says Silberg of his high school days before attending El Camino College in California. “So I took [chemistry], biology and math, since classes there were smaller there than at a university.”

Silberg says community college prepared him well for his transfer to the University of California Irvine, where he earned his BS and began his research experience. He got another research job there while working on his Ph.D.

“I was paid to study at UC Irvine and later at Caltech,” he says, recommending the research route to students, who can work at a university while attending a community college. For example HCC students Erisa Hysi and Cecilia Guerra have worked in Rice research labs. Silberg advises students to contact labs directly to either volunteer, work for grant-supported money, or enroll for credit upon transferring to a research university. Rice is actively recruiting HCC students, he says, and no prior research experience is required. The 10-week Rice summer program pays $4,500 per student, and on-campus housing is available. The deadline to apply for the next opening is early February, 2015.

To find out more about Silberg’s Rice program, contact him at joff@rice.edu. To learn about research lab opportunities around the country, visit http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.cfm