Feb. 13, 2007
Running will soon take on a whole new meaning for junior track and field athlete Laura Kelley, a Kansan who is one of the Owls' top cross country and distance runners. Kelley, who was 23rd at the Conference USA cross country meet last October, is already internal vice president of the Student Association, and her next goal is the top - student government president, a position she will start campaigning for soon.
"I would like to leave a legacy at Rice and help show others that there is a whole world of opportunity available," says Kelley.
One of the most active students on campus, Kelley has made the most of her first two years at Rice. Among her duties as VP are the New Student Reps program, which organizes social events and projects for first-years, and a host of committee assignments. Kelley serves on the environmental, student life, sports and health, and academics committees, and has worked with the PowderPuff football program and is heavily involved in recycling efforts.
As part of her work as a student advocate, Kelley has helped push a resolution in favor of establishing minority studies majors and minors to the Faculty Senate. She serves on the Committee on Rice Undergraduate Programs, and helps solicit input from multiple audiences to assist in making curricular recommendations.
Other current projects for the busy graduate of Leawood, Kan., Blue Valley High School, include serving on the President's Lecture Series Committee and working on the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the college system.
Off campus, Kelley has helped coordinate Rice student volunteers at the Texas Children's Hospital as part of the CIC Envision Grant. The program started at Brown College with a small group of students getting involved, and with adjustments to the program that now allow for shared duties, there are more Rice students than ever available to lend a helping hand. Kelley says her favorite part of the program to date has been her work in assisting with the neo-natal center, adding small touches that make the experience more endurable for patients and families.
Thanks to the efforts of Kelley and her fellow volunteers, space has been set aside in the hematology and oncology section of TCH for a large mural that will help make the area more homey and welcoming. The mural will be worked on by Rice students and patients at the hospital.
Kelley works with principal investigator Dr. Rob Waterland at the Children's Nutritional Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, studying epigenetics in pediatric nutrition, which Kelley explains is how nutrition affects the differential expression of identical genomes.
Whatever happens in the next election, Laura Kelley is destined to become one of Tomorrow's Leaders.