Meet Rice’s Graduate Ambassador Niklas Gross

Gross shares his interest, experience, and advice to prospective graduate students

Rice University

Meet Niklas Gross. Gross is a fifth- year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University. Gross is from Germany 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.

Gross chose Rice as a graduate school because of his overall fascination with science and the welcoming environment Rice provided to him. His research focuses on nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are extremely small objects that have unique properties because of their small size. They are very colorful, but the color also depends on the specific size and shape of the particle. He studies their optical and mechanical behavior with the aim of applying them in applications.

When he is not conducting research, he serves in various leadership roles within the Rice community. He is a part of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association (CGSA), a bartender at Valhalla, and plays intramural sports on campus.

Gross advises prospective and current students to create a work-life balance that will be beneficial to their well-being and to incorporate extracurricular activities and hobbies into their schedules.

“It is essential to have a healthy work-life balance and to participate in extracurricular activities during grad school,” said Gross. “Having that balance will help prevent burnout and exhaustion.”

After Gross was in high school, he lived in Botswana in the bush for a few months, where he worked on a nature conservation project and got to explore almost every aspect of nature you could possibly imagine! Outside of academics, Gross enjoys exploring nature and going to Brazos Bend State Park.

Graduate ambassadors can be contacted via email at Niklas Gross can be contacted directly by email at