Meet Rice’s Graduate Ambassador Sathvik Ajay Iyengar

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

Sathvik Ajay Iyengar

Meet Sathvik Ajay Iyengar. Iyengar is a third year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering at Rice University. Iyengar is from India 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.

Iyengar chose Rice as a graduate school because of its brilliant fit with his goals, research areas, and ideologies. His research focuses on addressing global energy demands for computation. When he is not conducting research, he serves in various leadership roles within the Rice community. 

He is a part of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), a Department Representative and Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) liaison for MSNE, and a member of the Japanese Graduate Student Association. He is also a Fellow Trainee in Rice’s NSF Research Traineeship Program on Bioelectronics and a 2023 Quad Fellow.

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

Tip 1: Apply to as many programs that fit your interest.

“Grad school applications are, unfortunately, by no means a linear or transparent process,” said Iyengar. “They involve waxing and waning funding cycles at the PI level, department level, and beyond.”

Tip 2: Reach out to faculty, students, and even alumni.

“Reach out, but not too much,” said Iyengar. “Some faculty may be receptive to emails early on but do not expect a response, and it is okay not to get one.”

Tip 3: Do research on your future advisor and research environment.

“You need to find a good fit in your PI—their mentorship style, the form of support, expectations, and so much more,” said Iyengar.

Outside of academics, Iyengar enjoys the food options and activities in Houston. He loves Indian food and recommends Maharaja Bhog, Pondicheri, Shiv Sagar, Govinda’s, and Aga’s. He enjoys going to El Gato Coffeehouse and ice skating at the Galleria Mall, and watching movies at the Edwards Regal Cinemas

Iyengar enjoys the Betty and Jacob Friedman Holistic Garden and watching sunsets from Dell Butcher Hall’s fourth-floor patio on campus. Iyengar also collects video games, loves learning new languages, and can play Indian Carnatic music on the violin.

Graduate ambassadors can be contacted via email at Sathvik Ajay Iyengar can be contacted directly by email at