Welcome to the official page for RUGS.

Check here for information about what’s happening in the world of the undergrads within Rice’s Earth, Environmental, & Planetary Sciences department.


Our Mission:

  • Enrich the experience of undergraduate Earth Science students at Rice University
  • Provide a structured organization to engage with and support those in the community
  • Strengthen the undergraduate Earth Science community
  • Give undergraduates a stronger voice in the Earth Sciences department
  • Help undergaduates find different opportunities by encouraging engagement with graduate students, faculty, and alumni.
  • Provide programming to help with post-graduation plans

Meet the 2020-2021 RUGS officers!

Christina Stoner

Christina Stoner


I’m a senior at Martel College majoring in Earth Science with a specialization in Geochemistry. I am originally from Dallas, TX and moved to Houston around 10 years ago. Growing up, I tagged along on many of my dad’s field trips since he went back to school to get a master‘s degree in geology, so I found my love for the geosciences at a young age. If you would like to get in contact, please reach out at cas24@rice.edu!

Sarah Preston

Sarah Preston

Vice President

Hi! I‘m Sarah, a sophomore at Jones studying Earth Science with an EBIO minor. I’m from Nashville, Tennessee, and I‘m your vice president! I’ve been climbing for almost half of my life, so studying rocks was the natural choice! I’m currently studying how COVID-19 has impacted water quality in Texas. If you have any questions about or ideas for RUGS, feel free to reach me at slp7@rice.edu!

Madison Morris

Madison Morris


Howdy! I‘m Madison, a senior at Sid majoring in Geochemisty. I work in Dr. Siebach’s lab writing my honors thesis on the Martian Stimson sandstones. I’m passionate about all things space, gardening, and sustainability. Feel free to reach out to me at mmm27@rice.edu!

Martina Faciane

Martina Faciane

Socials Manager

HI! Nice to meet you. I am this year’s Socials Manager for RUGS. I have been interested in the natural world for as long as I can remember, and my time in the EEPS department has only strengthened this passion. My Earth Science interests include oceanography, nutrient cycling, and sustainability! Outside of my major I also enjoy making music, playing tennis, and spending time in the outdoors.
Contact me at mcf5@rice.edu if you have any questions about me or suggestions.

Anthony D’Souza

Anthony D’Souza

Web Manager

Hello! I‘m Anthony, a senior at Jones majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Earth Science. I’ve greatly enjoyed my experiences in the department and currently work in Dr. Torres’ lab studying river biogeochemistry. I hope to work in environmental law to achieve greater natural resource conservation and environmental justice. If you have any questions or suggestions about our website please contact me at apd9@rice.edu!

Externally Sponsored RUGS Field Trip

The Big Island, Hawai’i

Spring 2020

ESCI 321: Earth Systems and Cycles

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Fall 2019

ESCI 323: Earth Chemistry and Materials

Southern California

Fall 2019

ESCI 344: Earth Systems and Cycles

New Mexico

Spring 2019

Undergraduate Research Spotlight

Madison Morris

Geochemisty Junior from Sid Rich

Madison works under Dr. Kirsten Siebach in the Rice Earth Science Department. She will be analyzing the Stimson sandstones on Mars for changes in the chemical composition between unaltered and altered drill sites. Her samples were drilled by the Mars rover! ⁣

The Stimson sandstone formation is a lithified basaltic aeolian sandstone with a composition similar to the average Mars crust, that is unconformably draped above the mound-forming units in Gale Crater. ⁣

Research indicates that Gale Crater was once a large lake, and the sediments there chronicle Mars’ environmental history. The more we learn about the Mars rock record, the closer we can get to answering questions about potential life beyond planet Earth!

All You Need to Know About Field Camp!

All B.S. Earth Science (ESCI) undergrad majors must complete a field camp as a graduation requirement.

Note: This requirement is optional for EEPS majors (matriculating fall 2020 and beyond)


[The following paths for fulfilling field camp requirements have been developed in light of COVID-19]

1) Rescheduling field camp (ESCI 390) to a later time that is mutually convenient if feasible, given cost, timing, and your availability.

2) Setting up a self-designed field experience or similar activity, equivalent to ESCI 391, that can be carried out at your convenience, e.g., over this summer, during the semester, or spread out over time. If interested in doing this, please schedule a meeting with Dr. Juli Morgan (morganj@rice.edu) to discuss.

3) A final option would be to fulfill these credits by taking another upper level ESCI course during your senior year. If you are interested in doing this, please consider courses that provide exposure to more field, methodological, or experiential activities, depending on course availability and your individual academic schedules. Please consult with Dr. Juli Morgan before signing up for substitution courses.

For any further information or questions please do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Juli Morgan (morganj@rice.edu).

A Few Field Camp Options

South Dakota School of Mines

University of South Florida

  • This is a hydrogeolgy field camp which may be interesting to someone pursuing a related field.

Frontiers Abroad

  • This course is not associated with a university, and provides options for an abroad field camp experience.

Florida State Univserity

  • A geology camp in the Rocky Mountains that focuses on using GIS and graphics software to complete projects.

Clemson State University

  • A hydrogeology field camp based in South Carolina.

Colorado State University

  • A field camp with CSU’s Soil Institute. This camp focuses on soil ecology and biogeochemisty in the Rocky Mountains.


How Do I Find Funding For Field Camp?

Apply for the The Devlin-Schnable Memorial Award though the EEPS department. The application can be found here. Please send application to Lee Wilson at shiree@rice.edu with your field camp information and you will receive further information concerning funding.

Credit Hours?

To receive department credit for field camp, the program must be a specfic number of credit hours. Camps will range from 2-6 credit hours, however, to get transfer credit the camp must be 3 or more hours.

How long will field camp take?

Field camps will range from a fast-track 10 day course to an international one month course. Please look at multiple camps to find something that works best for your schedule.

BS in Earth Science

The BS major offers three tracks:

  • Environmental Earth Sciences
  • Geosciences
  • Planetary Sciences

Students can also work with a faculty member to design a specialty track. All of the programs of study include experiences with analytical equipment, computer systems and fieldwork. EEPS majors may also complete a Senior Honors Thesis. Learn more about specific course requirements here.


Undergraduate advisors:

Environmental Earth Sciences: Sylvia Dee (sylvia.dee@rice.edu), Jeff Nittrouer (nittrouer@rice.edu)

Geosciences: Juli Morgan (morganj@rice.edu), Jeff Nittrouer (nittrouer@rice.edu)

Planetary Sciences: Juli Morgan (morganj@rice.edu)

BA in Earth Science

The BA major provides greater flexibility of course choices with students able to select electives in fields outside Earth Science in place of a specialized track.

Learn more about specific course requirements here.


Undergraduate advisors:

Juli Morgan (morganj@rice.edu)

BS/BA in Environmental Science

The Environmental Science major allows for interdisciplinary study focused on the science of human impacts on the environment. The BS allows for advanced field or research experience while the BA allows for greater flexibility in course choices. Both options require a concentration in one of the following:

  • Earth Science
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Learn more about specific course requirements here.


Undergraduate advisors:

Earth Science concentration: Caroline Masiello (masiello@rice.edu), Juli Morgan (morganj@rice.edu)

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology concentration: Evan Siemann (siemann@rice.edu)