Meet Rice’s Graduate Ambassador Utana Umezaki

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

Rice’s Graduate Ambassador Utana Umezaki

Meet Utana Umezaki. Umezaki is a fourth year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University. Umezaki is from Japan and is a Rice Graduate Student Ambassador. Ambassadors are students who represent the university and help prospective students gain knowledge of student life as a graduate student at Rice.

Umezaki chose Rice as a graduate school after attending Rice’s TOMODACHI-STEM Women’s Leadership and Research Program as an undergraduate. Her research focuses on Alzheimer's disease, specifically protein aggregation and boron-nitride nanomaterials.

When she is not conducting research, she is serving in various leadership roles within the Rice community. She is a part of the Japanese Graduate Student Association  on campus and serve as a mentor to the TOMODACHI-STEM Women’s Leadership and Research Program, which serves Japanese undergraduate students, and the MACHI Program, which serves Taiwanese undergraduate students.

Umezaki advises prospective students to use as many resources available to them to prepare for graduate school.

“Rice is very supportive,” said Umezaki. “As an international student, it was a challenge to find housing my first year, but Rice helped provide the resources.” 

Outside of academics, Umezaki enjoys going to the museums and the Houston Zoo. Umezaki also volunteers at The Betty and Jacob Friedman Holistic Garden on Rice’s campus.

Umezaki says they are looking forward to conducting research with their Quad Cohort this year. Umezaki was named one of the 2023 Quad Fellows where they will be conducting research in the United States, Australia, India, and Japan.

Graduate ambassadors can be contacted via email at Utana Umezaki can be contacted directly by email at