Feb. 28, 2007
For Dara Ufot, an idle moment is a wasted opportunity, and this is one senior who is not looking to waste one moment of her time at Rice.
A senior who has been a captain of the Rice cheerleaders for the past two years, Ufot would be recognizable to Owl fans from her perch at the top of the squad's lift routines. But to the vast majority of Rice students and faculty, she is a just as recognizable as a passionate advocate of the school who is in constant motion.
"I am my Mother's daughter, I can not sit down," she explained. "This is my 10th year of cheering and I absolutely have loved every minute of it. I thought for a moment about not doing it this last year, but I realized that I would not be able to just sit in the stands and watch."
One game days, she sells spirit and support for Rice athletes, but the rest of the time, Ufot is selling the school to prospective students and striving to improve the campus experience for those already enrolled.
She coordinated Orientation Week this past summer at Lovett College and also chaired the Minority Interest Committee, hosts of the annual Vision Weekend that targets the recruitment of minority students. "I came to Vision Weekend and that was the reason I came to Rice. I wanted to make sure that more people had the experiences that I did," Ufot said.
She serves as a senior interviewer and counsels high school seniors who might not feel they are qualified to attend Rice.
"I absolutely love Rice and I feel like being an interviewer gives me a chance to sell Rice to prospective students. I am always asked what the target GPA is to get into Rice, and I always hear that `I can never get into Rice', but it's not just about being the smartest kid in your class. There is not a formula, the school looks at everything," she stressed.
Given her reputation as a motivated advocate of the school, it should come as no surprise that Ufot was offered the chance to initiate an internship in the office of University President David Leebron.
"The internship is something new. I work on trying to create opportunities for the President to meet and interact with students. At the same time, I hope to show a need for this job that will allow it to continue so future seniors will have this same opportunity," she added.
That approach is in keeping with all her other activities, looking to improve the Rice experience for the students who will follow her to campus. While she will soon move on to medical school and the pursuit of a career in public health, she will always treasure the moments she's experienced, both in the classroom and while representing the school at athletic events.
She is Dara Ufot, someone who truly is one of Tomorrow's Leaders.