Meet Rice’s Graduate Ambassador Phelecia Scotland

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

Rice University

Meet Phelecia Scotland. Scotland is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering at Rice University. Scotland is from Dominica 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.

Scotland chose Rice as a graduate school because of the research opportunities and the school’s location in Houston. Her research focuses on synthesizing, characterizing, and finding applications for two-dimensional nanomaterials.

When she is not conducting research, she is serving in various leadership roles within the Rice community. She is a part of the Materials Science and NanoEngineering Graduate Student Association (MSNE GSA) on campus and provides high school students with tours of science labs and pieces of equipment.

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

Tip #1: Graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint. This will take 5 to 6 years of your life, thus, the PI and research group you select will play a major role in shaping your experience.

Tip #2: Choose the environment/school where you can see yourself being the happiest.

Tip #3: Reach out to the current graduate students who work with the PI that you are interested in to get a better idea of the expectations and group culture.

Scotland also provides a few tips to current students to help enrich their graduate school experience.

Tip #1: Well-being is a very essential component in graduate school, and you do not want to neglect your mental health for one second!

Tip #2: Give yourself grace to grow through your journey. 

Tip #3: Houston is very diverse, and you should take the opportunity to experience different cultures.

Outside of academics, Scotland enjoys the Japanese Garden in Hermann Park and The Hangout on Rice’s campus to take a nap or relax during a busy day. 

A fun fact about Scotland is she grew up on an island but did not know how to swim.

Graduate ambassadors can be contacted via email at Phelecia Scotland can be contacted directly by email at