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 2021-2022 RUGS officers!

Sarah Preston

Sarah Preston


Hi! My name is Sarah, and I‘m a junior at Jones College studying Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences with minors in biology and environmental studies. I’m from Brentwood, Tennessee, and I‘m the RUGS president for the 2021-2022 academic year! In my spare time, I enjoy attempting to cook, reading sci-fi, and climbing. I’m specializing in planetary science, and I work with Dr. Kirsten Siebach on researching Martian surface processes and geochemistry. If you have any questions about the major (I’m also a PAA at Jones!) or ideas for RUGS, you can reach me at slp7@rice.edu!

Bikram Singh

Bikram Singh

Vice President

Hey there!! My name‘s Bikram and I’ll be the RUGS vice president this year! I‘m a sophomore from Austin, TX majoring in Earth, environmental and planetary science with the environmental concentration, a decision I made last year from taking classes with the department. I’m also an Army ROTC cadet, and in my free time I’ve been rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender, skateboarding around campus, and re-living old DS games. If you have any questions you can reach me at bps5@rice.edu 🙂

Anja Hartge

Anja Hartge


Hello! I’m Anja and I am a senior majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Business. I am a native Houstonian and enjoy swimming, eating, scuba diving, and learning languages. I look forward to serving as RUGS treasurer this year! Please feel free to contact me at alh10@rice.edu.

Lucian Bennett-Brandt

Lucian Bennett-Brandt

Socials Manager

What‘s up Earth people, I’m Lucian. I am a junior majoring in Environmental Science. My entire personality is pretty much dictated by my obsession with the outdoors, so if you ever wanna chat about mountaineering, mountain biking, fly fishing or ~whatever~ -- there is quite literally nothing I would love more. I look forward to planning some cool events for everyone to go to, and can’t wait to meet some new people!

Grant Parajuli

Grant Parajuli


Hi y‘all, I’m Grant! I‘m a junior EEPS major who started majoring in it last spring. I’m responsible for making our corner of the website look as terrible as it does, so reach out to me at gap6@rice.edu if you want something on here! In my free time I like to play bass, go to concerts, and do research in fish science!

Our Social Events:

February 26 @ 12 PM: RUGS Career Panel (Link to recording HERE)

March 5 @ 5 PM: Movie Night at KWG Tent

March 26 @ 1 PM: Rock painting at Dell Butcher Hall Outdoor Amphitheatre

[Mid-April]: Senior Event (more details to come soon!)

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)

Geosciences: Juli Morgan (morganj@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)