Menu

McMurtry College

← Back

About
O-Week

← Back

Calendar
Arts Calendar

← Back

McTeam
McMinistry
Court
Committees
Associates
Divisional Advisors
Peer Academic Advisors
Academic Fellows
RHAs
Strive Liaisons
SMR

← Back

Room Reservations
Financial Inclusivity
MIS
Documents
Expense Forms
Work Orders
Initiative Requests

Associates

Peter and Cheryl Loewen

Career/Profession: Associate Professor of Musicology, Shepherd School of Music; Cheryl Assistant Director of the Moore Memorial Public Library in Texas City

Bio: Peter Loewen is Associate Professor of musicology at Rice University where he specializes in Medieval and Renaissance music. His research interests concern vernacular song, religious drama, intellectual history, music and preaching, and the Franciscans. Peter Loewen was born in Uganda to naturalized Canadian citizens who, in their youth, had emigrated from Ukraine after WWII. Cheryl Loewen was born in Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada. She has a Bachelors degree in Commerce from the University of Manitoba and a Master degree in Library Science from UNT. Peter and Cheryl have 4 children ages 15-23.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: At the moment, Game of Thrones.

Hobbies: Beer Brewing

Fun Fact: Peter may be a citizen of Uganda.

Michelle Passo

Career/Profession: Center for Career Development (Rice University)

Bio: This is my 10th year in the CCD! Through the years, I've worked in different roles from managing the Owl Edge Externship Program to helping employers recruit Rice talent, to working with students as they create their resumes and practice their interviewing skills. My husband and I are huge college hoops fans. Our daughter loves having dinner with the 'Rice kids' at Associates Night(s)! We have a rambunctious dog named Cubbie (after the Chicago Cubs, of course).

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Edward Scissorhands and Moulin Rouge

Hobbies: Basketball spectating (college and NBA), running, yoga

Fun Fact: I used to work in the Commissioner's Office at the National Basketball Association (NBA) in New York City

Emily Houlik-Ritchey

Career/Profession: English Department, Rice U.

Bio: I teach and research the literature of the Middle Ages written in medieval English and Spanish, studying the interaction of these cultural traditions with the wider medieval Mediterranean world. I am originally from Colorado, and my family (including a husband and two spunky kids) travel back there regularly to hike, ski, and see family.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Foyle's War; Jane Austen film adaptations; Rogue One

Hobbies: Raising my kids; Reading for fun; Hiking

Fun Fact: Periodically (as they migrate through Houston) I foster monarch butterfly caterpillars through their metamorphosis into butterflies.

Dereth Phillips

Career/Profession: Rice University, Lecturer

Bio: I have worked as a lecturer in the Rice BioSciences (Biochemistry & Cell Biology) department since 2000 and have been a member of the McMurtry family since 2010. My day job is advising Natural Sciences students interested in finding and succeeding in undergraduate research opportunities on campus and elsewhere in Houston. I am a terrible but devoted ukulele/banjolele hobbyist.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Freaks and Geeks

Hobbies: Cooking, ukulele, playing other odd instruments, singing

Fun Fact: Rice has a lot of cool nature. Take a look at the lizards around McMurtry. The brown ones with diamonds are invasive Cuban anoles. The green (sometimes plain brown) ones are native.

Zoë Wool

Career/Profession: Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, CSWGS, and Medical Humanities

Bio: I’m a native New Yorker and erstwhile Torontonian still getting used to Houston’s car culture and the fact that people put blankets on their lawns when there is a frost warning. My resarch and teaching are at the intersections of medical anthropology, disability studies, queer theory, and STS, and most of my ethnographic resarch is with injured US soldiers and veterans of the post-9/11 wars.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: I don’t like to pick favorites (but maybe Startrek TNG)

Hobbies: Making meals, making mischief.

Fun Fact: I usually ride my bike to work and have been known to yell at my students who ride theirs without a helemet.

Kurt and Stephanie Kasper

Career/Profession: The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston

Bio: Kurt Kasper earned a doctorate in bioengineering from Rice University and a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering (magna cum laude) from Case Western Reserve University. He served on the faculty of the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University for six years prior to transitioning to the Department of Orthodontics at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston in July 2014. Kurt’s research applies fundamentals of engineering, materials science, and the biosciences toward the development and evaluation of biomaterial-based technologies to meet clinical needs. Outside of the laboratory, he enjoys engagement in outreach activities through service with the You Be the Chemist Challenge program of the Chemical Educational Foundation, as well as service to the greater Houston community in various capacities, including past service as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Rice Alumni.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Waiting for Guffman

Hobbies: Parks, museums, and cycling with my family

Fun Fact: I applied to Rice for undergraduate studies but was not accepted!

Ozge Gurcanli, Simon Fischer-Baum, Masal Baby-Murt

Career/Profession: OG & SFB: Department of Psychology, Masal: Unicorn Land

Bio: We both work in Department of Psychology and we teach Psychology and Cognitive Science courses. We lived in McM as RAs for 4 years, students named our child Baby-Murt, and we are so proud of all McM students.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: OG: Marvellous Miss Maisel, SFB: Russian Doll, Masal: Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Hobbies: OG: Photography, SFB: Cooking, Masal: Acting, scooting, and drawing

Fun Fact: OG loves tea! A lot. Also sewing. We all love art work with tactile materials.

Chan Pham

Career/Profession: Rice University, Research Administrator

Bio: Married, mother of 3 children (Truce & Mai graduated from Rice) I love food and travel.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: I love all movies except scary ones.

Hobbies: Reading, watching Netfix and Xfinity

Fun Fact: I love to try new dishes and restaurants.

Nicole Van Den Heuvel

Career/Profession: Executive Director -Center for Career Development

Bio: '81 Rice alumna - Love being back at Rice and helping our students find their career paths and gain confidence in their career development process.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Parent Trap

Hobbies: Horseback riding, travel, museums

Fun Fact: From Aruba. Lived in 8 different countries. Went to 13 schools in 12 years.

Mark Krouskop

Career/Profession: Rice University, Hamman Hall, Lecturer Theater Design

Bio: My name is Mark Krouskop. I am a theater design lecturer in VADA. Come by Hamman Hall and I’d be happy to give you more details.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Real Genius

Hobbies: Playing volleyball, video games, collecting 1980-present toys, making fine furniture.

Fun Fact: I have 3 ferrets and a Great Dane.

Iska Wire

Career/Profession: Rice University, Talent Management and Development

Bio: I grew up in Houston and attended Trinity University. I've been in fundraising for 17 years and currently do talent management for Development and Alumni Relations. I am divorced and have two children - Elsie (12) and Wyatt (11) who are both in Scottish arts (highland dancing and bag piping) at their school plus a Siamese cat named Wooley.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: An Ideal Husband

Hobbies: Scrapbooking, Photography, Girl Scouts, Rodeo and country and western dancing

Fun Fact: I was a Gold Award Girl Scout and as a kid, sold over 2000 boxes of cookies each year.

Theo Mallinson

Career/Profession: Oil and gas industry as an engineer

Bio: Graduated from Rice in 1995, have worked in oil and gas since then. Several stints overseas, but back in Houston now for two kids to go through school. Live near campus with family and currently three chickens.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: The Neverending Story

Hobbies: Soccer, swimming, gardening, video games.

Fun Fact: I enjoy low environmental impact home 'systems' and am currently trying to perfect a kind of urban mini farm at our house.

Alese Pickering

Career/Profession: Rice Magazine (part of Public Affairs at Rice)

Bio: I am a graphic-designing, food-loving, cat-mothering, native Houstonian.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Murial's Wedding

Hobbies: Cooking, photography, reading magazines, collecting art

Fun Fact: I love driving long distance. Road trips are the best.

Laura S. Kabiri

Career/Profession: Lecturer - Department of Kinesiology

Bio: Hello from the Department of Kinesiology at Rice! I primarily teach human anatomy and physiology courses while my research focuses on pediatric health and wellness. I am also a licensed physical therapist, wife, and mom of 3 (but one of them has four paws and a tail).

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Frasier

Hobbies: Eating

Fun Fact: I completed undergrad as a music major (piano and choir) before going on PT school and have volunteered with the Houston Food Bank, Houston Rodeo, and Faithful Paws Animal Therapy Group.

Elmer Whitehead

Career/Profession: Rice University - Senior Mechanical Engineer/Project Manager

Bio: I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area. I graduate from High School in Oakland, CA. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in Mechanical Engineering. I graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I have been working at Rice since 2013. I have a beautiful wife and four children.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Any kung fu movie that shows 'real' martial arts. I also like watching basketball.

Hobbies: Kung Fu - Northern Praying Mantis

Fun Fact: I love travelling. I have been to Ethiopia, England, Italy, France, Australia

E. Kate Abad

Career/Profession: Student Center Director, Rice

Bio: E. Kate Abad has worked at Rice University for ten years, where she currently serves as the Student Center Director with oversight for the Student Run Businesses, Facilities and Events, and Student Activities. Kate has a passion for developing student and professional leaders through coaching, leadership development and advising. As a hobby she loves anything related to journaling and is always willing to help aspiring journal writers get started!

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Game of Thrones

Hobbies: Journaling - bullet, art, classic

Fun Fact: I grew up in Japan and on Guam

Norma Torres Mendoza & Placido Andres Gomez

Career/Profession: Norma (MBA Candidate at Rice Business School) Placido (Senior Associate at Safal Partners)

Bio: Norma and Placido have been married for three years and live in Houston, TX. Both of them are Rice undergrads (they met at Urban Immersion) in 2013. They both then attended Harvard for their Masters. Placido has a background in politics and education and Norma has focused on the intersection of business and the public sector.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Black Mirror

Hobbies: Tennis, cooking, traveling, and reading at different coffeeshops

Fun Fact: Plaz is a great tennis player (state champion from New Mexico) and Norma appeared in the Barney and Friends show (you know, the purple dinosaur)

Keri Bas

Career/Profession: I teach sewing & textile arts, often with a non-profit working in schools & shelters.

Bio: After years in professional marketing and web design, I now split my time between sewing/quilting and working with private tech/web support clients. I share my house with my parents and two cats. I serve on the board of a local arts non-profit and lead several groups of creatives. I'm an interfaith minister, ordained in New York in 2005 - ask me about it sometime.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Good Omens, The Princess Bride, Ladyhawke, Iron Man, The Lion in Winter, Harvey, Moana / Babylon 5, Star Trek, Midsomer Murders, Bob's Burgers, Brooklyn 99, Vera

Hobbies: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons; making & drinking fine teas; arguing about Marvel & Harry Potter & scifi movies over coffee late into the night; reading; writing; painting; drawing; traveling when the budget allows

Fun Fact: I was on a TV game show in the early 00s when I lived in New York; people still text me when they catch the re-runs.

Lauren Stadler

Career/Profession: Assistant Professor, CEVE

Bio: I am an environmental engineer and my research and teaching focus on biological water treatment processes and the microbes in our water systems. I am a mom to one toddler and two sweet but poorly behaved doggies.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Friday Night Lights

Hobbies: Biking, soccer, eating ice cream

Fun Fact: I kill most plants that I try and grow.

Elizabeth Festa

Career/Profession: Rice Program for Writing and Communication

Bio: I teach research writing and communication across all disciplines and levels of study. My research focuses on supporting graduate writers. I have two children (including one Murt!) and have one very demanding Siamese cat, Percival. I hail from the Virginia side of Washington, D.C., but Houston is by far my most favorite place. It's an incredibly warm city...in temperature and temperament.

Favorite Movie/TV Show: All international crime dramas--Hinterland, Shetland, The Break, Innocent, The Mechanism, Undercover, Wallander, etc.

Hobbies: Dining out (Tex-Mex!), museums, reading, walking at the Arboretum, and arthouse cinema

Fun Fact: Before going to graduate school, I was a military officer