Meet Rice’s Graduate Ambassador Nina Cook

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

Nina Cook

Meet Nina Cook. Cook is a fifth year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English at Rice University. Cook is from Texas 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.

Cook chose Rice as a graduate school because of Rice’s reputation of being the “Harvard of the South.” Cook desires to be an English professor and loves reading and writing. Her research focuses on British Literature. Her research examines the techniques novels and paintings use to make an audience feel like a part of an imaginary world. Things like first-person narration and depicting figures in paintings from behind can give readers and viewers an “avatar” within the fictional world to inhabit, opening a space to invite the audience Through the Looking Glass and into Wonderland. I trace the development of these immersive techniques in eighteenth and nineteenth-century visual art and literature in order to more fully understand how art can make us see and understand the world differently.

When she is not conducting research, she serves in various leadership roles within the Rice community. She is a part of the Humanities Graduate Student Association (HGSA), an English representative in their department, and a writing consultant for the Center for Academic and Professional Communication (CAPC) on campus.

Cook advises prospective students to have a hobby outside of their academics to help balance their life.

“You’re allowed to have personal time,” said Cook. “You have to find a hobby to prevent burnout.”

Cook also advises prospective students that interviews are a “two-way” street when it comes to recruitment from Rice’s faculty.

“Remember to interview them too,” said Cook. “It's nice for them to want you, but you have to want to be here too.”

Cook advises current students to experiment with different places, spaces, and times of the day to help determine where and when they are the most productive.

“You might find that you’re more of an early bird than a night owl if you really experiment — or vice versa,” said Cook. “Finding the times of day that you’re most productive will help you craft a schedule that ensures you finish your dissertation in record time!”

Outside of academics, Cook enjoys going to museums, specifically the Menil Collection and Audrey's coffee shop on campus. Cook likes to make homemade pasta and Hopdoddy’s burgers in Rice Village. Cook also likes to interact with the Puzzle Table in Fondren Library.

Graduate ambassadors can be contacted via email at Nina Cook can be contacted directly by email at