McMurtry College

Magisters Head Resident Fellows 2nd Floor RAs 3rd Floor RAs College Coordinator

Margaret Beier and Chris Stickney

We are Margaret Beier and Chris Stickney, the Magisters of McMurtry College, and we are thrilled to welcome you to the community!

College Magisters are faculty members who live on campus with their families. We live right next to the college, across from the commons. We are here to foster the intellectual, cultural, and social life at the college and to support you during your years at McMurtry. We are excited to meet you and to nurture the kind, open, and stimulating culture at McMurtry. To do this, we will host events in our home, share meals with you in the commons, and help you navigate your life at the college. We hope that McMurtry will soon feel like your home away from home.

Margaret is an associate professor in the Psychology Department. Her specialty is applied psychology, and she studies performance in educational and work settings. She has been at Rice for 12 years, and she loves mentoring the incredibly talented students she has met here. Chris is a high school math teacher at the High School for the Visual and Performing Arts (HSPVA) in Houston. He loves all sports and has been a high school basketball coach for the last 15 years. We are both from Minneapolis, Minnesota and love the color purple (Purple Rain and the Minnesota Vikings). We met in high school and were married in Minnesota but moved to Atlanta, Georgia shortly afterward for graduate school. We have two girls: Lucy, 14, and Liza, 12, who were born in Atlanta. Our kids love watching movies, reading books, creating art, and swimming. We also have two boys: our German Shepherds, Oscar and Felix, who you will see walking Margaret around campus. We are all eager to welcome you to the college!

As new students, you are an important part of McMurtry. We will all work together to energize our community. Keep in mind, McMurtry is your college – the BEST residential college at Rice. We encourage you to have fun, ask questions, be safe, be active, and be creative. We will do our best to support your vision for McMurtry. We look forward to meeting everyone of you!

Brian Gibson and Alana Lemay-Gibson

Hello Murts! We would like to tell you a little about ourselves so that you will know who keeps walking their heavy-breathing bulldog all around the building.

Alana is from Providence, RI, and Brian is from the rural town of Rehoboth, MA. Both of us have been in Texas for a long time so our accents have been diluted. Alana received her BA in Anthropology from UT Austin and her MED in Educational Anthropology from the University of Houston. Brian received his BA in Kinesiology, and his MA and PhD in Exercise Physiology from UT Austin. We were married in Austin, TX in December of 1995.

Brian accepted a faculty position in the Department of Kinesiology at Rice in 1996, where he currently serves as Professor in the Practice teaching Human Physiology and Exercise Physiology courses. In 2004, he also assumed a new role in Academic Advising, and with a few changes over the years, he currently serves as the Associate Dean of Undergraduates. In this role, he has responsibilities for the Office of Academic Advising, the Center for Career Development and the Center for Teaching Excellence.

After Alana finished her education, she transitioned to working in software development and technology management. Currently, she works as a Project Manager for OpenStax at Rice University. OpenStax is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Even though OpenStax textbooks are free, they are very high quality, peer-reviewed, and customizable. For more information, please visit

We both have lots of personal interests. We absolutely love, and dote on our dog “Bogie Theodore Gibson”, and we enjoy travel, exercise, and spending time with family and friends. We also have separate personal interests. Alana enjoys books, music, cooking, and art. Brian enjoys playing and coaching sports, lifting weights, wildlife, and photography. We have been living with students in the residential colleges since we arrived in Houston in 1996, but we were “promoted” to McMurtry in 2014. As you can tell, we like college life. In fact, we’re not sure we can remember what it is like to NOT be in college. We consider ourselves non-judgmental adults who are here to share our lives with Murts to whatever extent they wish.

Simon Fischer-Baum and Ozge Gurcanli

Welcome to McMurtry! We are the 2nd floor RAs – Simon, Özge and Masal and we are thrilled to have you here. A bit about us. Simon and Özge are both faculty members in the Psychology Department. But don’t ask us to analyze you, because neither of us have any idea how to do that. Instead, we both do research on language, with Özge focusing on how children learn it and Simon focusing on how it is lost in damaged brains. We are also both a part of Rice’s interdisciplinary Cognitive Science major, and Simon is helping to build Rice’s Neuroscience program.

We met in grad school at Johns Hopkins and came to Houston a couple of years ago after a short layover in Urbana­Champaign, Illinois. We are also the proud parents of the first native born Murt, Masal (it means fairy tale in Turkish) who was born in February 2015. She loves living in the college, with 400 or so older siblings and all the attention that comes with that.

Özge was born and raised in Balıkesir, Turkey, (which is on the Aegean coast near the site of Ancient Troy) and spent a decade in Istanbul (according to her the greatest city in the world). She has lived in the US for a decade now and finally feels at home, though she is still puzzled by some American obsessions, like root beer and baseball. She loves Houston because it is such a diverse city that she never feels like the “other”. Part of that means that there is a huge Turkish community that provides good food and good friendship especially when she gets little homesick.

Simon is from rural Maine, which has been described as “so far north, it is like the south, again”. He moved to New York City (according to him, the greatest city in the world) for college and beyond. But he loves living in Houston, because it is such a disorganized multi­cultural mess, and there is always something new to explore.

Entering our third year in the college, we feel like we hitting our stride. You will see us around a lot – at meals in the commons, getting restaurant recommendations in the quad, talking about movies or politics in Burt’s Teahouse – because we found that is the best way to get to know you all. We have loved living in the college so far and can’t wait to see the impact that the next group of students will have on what it means to be a Murt.

Brad Blunt and Marla Sanders

The 3rd floor RA apartment is home to Brad & Marla, plus three kids and a shaggy mutt - all of whom are excited for all of you to be part of an exciting year at McMurtry.

Born in Ohio, raised in Illinois, and educated in Iowa, Brad never expected to leave the Midwest, until a voice teacher invited him to venture down to Texas for a while. That was in 1996. He’s been here pretty much ever since, and since 2012 he has been an Assistant Director of Academic Advising at Rice.

Marla, on the other hand, was born in Houston and stayed put. Why leave a good thing, right? She works beyond the hedges (that’s Rice-Speak for “off-campus”) as a sales representative for The Detering Company. If a house in Houston is fancy with something custom-­built out of wood, her company probably did the work.

Brad’s passion is music. He has a master’s degree in voice and sang for several seasons at Houston Grand Opera, which allowed him to be a pirate, a slave, a gypsy, a marauding assassin and a Parisian flower vendor in just one year. Marla is the real chanteuse of the duo, and she also loves design and making things with her hands (and a lot of hot glue). Together, we enjoy reading, local bars with live music, hiking, and ice cream. We REALLY like ice cream.

Brad’s children, Jonah and Sophie, spend most of the school year near San Antonio, but you will see them most weekends. Jonah is entering 7th grade and is into video games, reading, and playing percussion. Fifth-­grader Sophie is the family animal lover and artist, and she is following in her father’s footsteps by always trying to be the biggest ham in the room. She has a lot of competition for that title from Marla’s daughter Ainsley, who is also in 5th grade and has an encyclopedic knowledge of Harry Potter and Minecraft. Smokey the shaggy mutt is very friendly and loves to play. He also is the guest of honor for the best study break of the year. Don’t be shy about knocking on our door if you want to talk, indulge in some frozen treats, or just need a puppy fix.

Jackie Carrizales

My name is Jackie Carrizales and I am the McMurtry College Coordinator. My office is on the ground floor right outside the door to the commons. I love visiting withstudents and hearing about what is going on with their lives, so please stop by anytime to hang out or just to say Hi!

There are some very comfortable couches and chairs and I don’t even mind if you take a nap. Plus, I have candy! I have been the coordinator here since the week before O-Week in 2015 but I have been an associate at McMurtry since it opened in the Summer of 2009. I was so excited to be able to be a part of a college from the beginning and see the start of all of the traditions that make each college unique. I can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to spend every day here now and I get paid for it!

I have worked for Rice since 2009. Before coming to McMurtry, I worked for 6 years in the Office of Admission. I am married to Marc and we have three sons, Max (22), Luke (21) and Leo (18). We also have two dogs, Mikey and Azura. I am a huge Astros & Rockets fan and will happily talk sports with you at any time.

Things you can do in my office: