Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

CCL Student Ambassadors

The ambassadors are a group of eight students who have served in various leadership roles within CCL programs during their time here at Rice. Ambassadors serve as the student face to our center and are available to answer your questions or point you toward the CCL staff member who can. They are eager to tell you more about their experiences and the opportunities available to you through the center!

Carolyn Daly


Focus area: Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience

Major: Social Policy Analysis & History, Certificate in Civic Leadership, CLIC, Certificate in Spanish      

Class of 202     E-Mail: ced4@rice.edu 

Hi everyone! My name is Carolyn, and I’m a junior from Rochester, New York studying Social Policy Analysis and History. I love learning about social justice causes and how we can best make an impact on them both inside and outside of the classroom. The programs I’ve participated in through the CCL have been one of the most meaningful parts of my Rice career. I’ve learned how important asset based community engagement is and how important it is to learn from people with different backgrounds or opinions, and I’ve been able to apply knowledge from experiential learning at the CCL to papers and projects in the classroom. For example, my freshman year I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip focusing on Bilingual Education in the Rio Grande Valley and learned a lot about the colonias (neighborhoods along the border that are often under-resourced). The next semester, in my policy analysis class, we wrote a report focusing on community centers in the colonias and the importance of listening to community members there. Connecting what I’m passionate about to what I’m studying has been really valuable, and that’s a great resource the CCL offers (no matter what your major is!).

Outside of the CCL, I’m also involved with my college government, Civic Duty Rice, and I play club soccer. In my free time, I’m probably exploring Houston, baking, hiking, or hanging out with my friends. I love meeting new people, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat!

Past CCL Involvement: Alternative Spring Break Site Leader & Participant, Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience, Houston Centered Policy Challenge, CCL Student Worker, Houston Action Research Team

Ariana Engles


Focus area: Outreach & Communications

Major: Religion & Kinesiology

Class of 2020     E-Mail: ace10@rice.edu

Hi everyone! My name is Ariana Engles. I'm a senior at Lovett college and I'm originally from Austin, Texas. I study Religion and Kinesiology, and after Rice I hope to pursue a Masters of Public Health and a Doctor of Dental Science degree. Getting involved with the CCL early in my freshman year was one of the best and most impactful decisions I've made at Rice. The CCL's structure for civic engagement has helped me give back and get involved in thoughtful and ethical ways. Through the CCL, I've learned about how to motivate change within a community from LEAD 120, learned how to manage a crisis, and so much more. Some of the social justice issues that interest me most include immigration reform, homelessness, human trafficking, and indigenous peoples' rights, access to healthcare, and education. Outside of my involvement with the CCL, student government and college involvement have been big parts of my Rice experience. Last year, I served as Rice's undergraduate student body president. When I'm not busy with school or extracurriculars, you can find me exploring Houston's independently owned coffee shops, obsessing over dogs, or at a concert.

Past CCL Involvement: LRME, LEAD 120, LEAD 330, LEAD 335

Orlando Cervantes


Focus area: Alternative Spring Break

Major: Biochemistry and Cell Biology    

Class of 2020     E-Mail: onc1@rice.edu 

Hey y'all! I'm a senior at Will Rice and I hail from Mesquite, TX, a suburb east of Dallas. Aside from my Ambassador duties, I am an undergraduate researcher at the National School of Tropical Medicine and an active member of the Marching Owl Band. My current plan post-Rice is to earn my Ph.D. and find ways to incorporate civic engagement into my future research. I encourage you to make the most of the programming and aid the CCL offers as it will surely enrich your experience at Rice and life in general!

Past CCL involvement: 

Johannah Palomo


Focus area: Fellowships

Major: Sociology and the Study of Women, Geneder, and Sexuality, minoring in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities 

Class of 2020     E-Mail: jep11@rice.edu  

Hi! I’m Johannah, a senior majoring in Sociology and SWGS. I was born and raised in San Antonio but I’m quite happy to have found a home in Houston with all the amazing food and unique mix of cultures and experiences. I just finished up an independent research project on barriers abortion access in the Greater Houston area; now I’m working on my honors thesis comparing mental health predictors in Mormon men and women. After Rice, I hope to pursue a doctorate in Sociology to be able to continue doing meaningful research on gender and health. The CCL has connected me to mentors who genuinely care about seeing me succeed and has been a key player in helping me figure out my next steps. Applying for fellowships is a particularly involved process that requires you to think about what you want from your future in detail, and having hands-on mentorship has been key to surviving that process. I’m excited to help connect others to the resources and opportunities that can help them get closer to realizing their goals. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about fellowships, undergraduate research, or civic leadership opportunities!

Past CCL Involvement: 

Rebecca Francis


Focus area: Alternative Spring Break & Learn Level programming

Major: Political Science & Computational and Applied Mathematics 

Class of 2020     E-Mail: rjf6@rice.edu 

Hi, y’all! My name is Rebecca Francis and I am a senior studying computational and applied math and political science. I am deeply passionate about politics and plan to work in political data and technology after graduating next May. I first engaged with the CCL in the fall of my sophomore year as a member of a Houston Action Research Team conducting research for the Memorial Park Conservancy. Later that school year, I participated in an Alternative Spring Break on reproductive justice. Guided and inspired by two wonderful site-leaders, I decided to apply to lead an ASB my junior year on voting rights. The ASB program provides a diverse set of opportunities for Rice students of all majors, interests, backgrounds, and levels of engagement in social justice to dive deep in an issue impacting our communities. I look forward to another amazing year being involved with this program and the CCL’s many others, and I hope you find a way to plug in and join us!

Past CCL involvement: HART research team, ASB participant, ASB Site Leader

Annum Sadana


Focus area: Loewenstern

Major: Social Policy Anaysis, minoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology

     Class of 2020     E-Mail: as156@rice.edu 

Hi everyone! I’m a native Houstonian, self-declared foodie and dance lover. On campus, I founded and lead Partners in Health Engage, am a part of the Refugee Support Services Working Group, and can always be found sipping an iced latte at Coffeehouse. As an aspiring future physician-advocate, my time at Rice has been shaped developing a sociocultural (and at times political) view of medicine and health. I am most interested in the ways that medicine and health intersect with human rights, gender, and immigration and much of my experience is tied to investigating these connections. I’ve gone abroad twice with the CCL — to Uganda and Lesvos, Greece — both trips were incredibly formative. I spent the past summer expanding upon these on-the-ground experiences working in DC with Physicians for Human Rights: using medical voices to advocate for medical professionals in Syria, migrants at the US Border, for Rohingya displaced to Bangladesh and many more populations. CCL experiences and staff have been an integral part of helping me understand how I want to synthesize my personal passions, my career and my ideals and in pushing me to work towards them. I feel incredibly lucky to have serendipitously become involved in this office, and always happy to answer questions and/or grab coffee!

Past CCL involvement: 

Katherine Simmers 


Focus area: Certificate & Capstone in Civic Leadership

Major: Political Science & Social Policy Analysis     

Class of 2020     E-Mail: kms12@rice.edu 

My name is Katherine Simmers, and I am the Certificate Ambassador for the CCL! I'm a senior at Baker College studying Political Science and Social Policy Analysis. I'm currently the only student on campus that's finished the certificate (but one of many certificate alumni), so I am your best resource for learning about the full certificate trajectory, the Capstone experience, and making the most out of CCL programs throughout your Rice tenure. You'll usually find me staked out in Coffeehouse procrastinating on a paper and blowing through my tetra, or running around Baker looking for something other than schoolwork to do (previously I've been a Baker RHA, Academic Mentor, VP, and other roles). Outside of school, I'm fiercely Louisianian, so if you want to talk about swamps, cooking with butter, or Mardi Gras, I'm your girl. Please feel free to find me online or catch me at any CCL events to chat about my experiences, your potential path through the CCL, and more!

Past CCL involvement: Urban Immersion Participant, Alternative Break, LRME, LEAD 102

Sana Mohamed


Focus area: Learn Level Programs

Major: Kinesiology, minoring in Global Health Technologies

      Class of 2021      E-Mail: sam22@rice.edu 

Hey! I’m Sana, a junior from McMurtry majoring in Kinesiology (Health Sciences) and minoring in Global Health Technologies. After being involved in a few of the LEARN level programs here at the CCL, I have gained invaluable education in civic leadership that has shaped the trajectory of my experiences here at Rice and introduced me to new perspectives. As a LEARN level ambassador, I am passionate about empowering you to realize your perspectives and experiences are valuable here at the CCL, regardless of your academic interests or experience in civic leadership. Through the CCL, I've learned about water justice from New Mexican nonprofits, helped organize food distribution at public health fairs, and tutored elementary students at Houston community organizations. These experiences have restructured my thinking on what positive community engagement is. Aside from being a CCL Ambassador, I am one of the coordinators of the Rice America Reads program and a co-chair of the Philanthropy Committee at McMurtry. Most of the time, you’ll probably find me binge-watching shows, eating out (especially in Houston’s amazing food scene!), and lounging around Coffeehouse. Please, feel free to reach out to me!

Past CCL involvement: