Meet Rice’s Graduate Ambassador Madelyn Castro

Castro shares her interest, experience, and advice to prospective graduate students

Rice University

Meet Madelyn Castro. Castro is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Rice University. Castro is from Minnesota and is a Rice Graduate Ambassador. Ambassadors are students who represent the university and help prospective students gain knowledge of student life as a graduate student at Rice.

Castro chose Rice as a graduate school because of the people and work environment. “Not only did Rice have a great program in Cognitive Neuroscience, but I also was very fortunate to have met my current mentor and lab mates before applying, and I knew I wanted to come here to work alongside them,” said Castro.

Her research focuses on how the use of medication, specifically antidepressants, affects how people learn and remember events in their lives.

When she is not conducting research, she serves in various leadership roles within the Rice community. She is a part of the Rice Women's Club soccer team on campus.

Castro provides a few tips to prospective students who are looking to come to graduate school.

Tip #1: Your journey is your journey. There is no timeline for when you should get accepted into graduate school. 

“Applying is a very stressful process; if you don't get in on the first try, it is okay! Do not let it defeat you, be proud and confident in the skills you can bring to a university; it will all work out,” said Castro.

Tip #2: Ask questions.

“Reach out to graduate students, mentors, and undergraduates. Ask anyone and everyone how they feel about their program and school,” said Castro. “We are always here to help make this journey easier and less stressful for you!”

Castro also advises current students to be open-minded and not to worry about being the “perfect” graduate student.

“It is okay to make mistakes or not to know something,” said Castro. “Graduate programs have such a steep learning curve, and there will always be things to learn, so it is okay only to know some things. You are more than qualified to be here and know much more than you think!”

Outside of academics, Castro enjoys the Houston Museum of Natural Science and playing soccer.

Graduate ambassadors can be contacted via email at Madelyn Castro can be contacted directly by email at