Welcoming Nicole Malveaux, GPS Director of Student Life

This newly created role promotes graduate student success by building connections and by encouraging strengths that go beyond academics.

Lovett Hall at Sunset

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) is thrilled to welcome Nicole Malveaux to Rice University!

Malveaux is the Director of Student Life for GPS, a newly created role that promotes graduate student success by building connections and by encouraging strengths that go beyond academics. Together with students, Malveaux will design programs and initiatives to further strengthen Rice’s graduate student community.

“My approach to working with students is collaborative. I think it enables us to get a lot done with our combined experience,” Malveaux said. “I am very big on relationship building and establishing rapport to build trust.”

A native Houstonian, Malveaux was most recently the Associate Director of the Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University, and prior to that taught in the Alief Independent School District. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fisk University and a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt.

“I took several years off to have a few different careers before coming back to school for my graduate program,” she said. “When I started my graduate program, it took some time to connect with other students who were also juggling family life and school, like me.”

Malveaux said one of the things she appreciated about her graduate program was its focus on community and the space to have gatherings that weren’t always focused on academics. She began wondering how this focus on community could be expanded.

“I thought, if we had more organized programming for grad students, what could happen?” she said. “I was able to implement some new activities, one being a networking mixer for faculty and students. It allowed the walls to come down for students and let them see their professors and mentors in a different light, as well as get to know their peers in other programs.”

Seeing the success of her initiatives was exhilarating to Malveaux.

“It’s helpful to have someone step in and take on planning these activities that will have a big payoff for students,” she said.

Nicole also has the background to help staff and faculty across campus mentor students in ways that will enrich the graduate student experience at Rice.

Her passion for working with students is what drew her to a career in student life, and she is looking forward to returning to her hometown of Houston and working with Rice’s diverse graduate student body. Malveaux said she fully realizes how taxing this year has been and mentors students to treat themselves with kindness.

“Be present and take each day as it comes,” she advises. “This is not the time to say, ‘I can handle this on my own.’ Reach out, stay connected and use the resources available to you. And be kind to yourself! A lot of things feel compounded right now.”