Ashanti Sallee (Pathways 2.0 Leader)

WEBSITE(S)| Ashanti's LinkedIn

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Undergraduate Institution: Hampton University

Advisor: Dr. Enrique V. Barrera

Department: Materials Science & Nanoengineering


Hi everyone! My name is Ashanti Sallee and I am from Chesapeake, VA. Prior to attending Rice University, I earned my B.S. in Chemistry at Hampton University, located in Hampton, VA. Currently, I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Materials Science and Nanoengineering Department here at Rice. Under the leadership of Dr. Enrique Barrera, I work with self-healing materials for aerospace applications. I am also an NSF Fellow. In addition to being a graduate student, I am a professional dancer, and I enjoy other extracurricular activities as well, including reading, working out, and watching reality television. I joined the GPS Pathways Program as a mentor because I know how important developing your own community is in graduate school. I have also experienced firsthand how that can be even more challenging as an underrepresented minority. Therefore, I was very excited to become a part of a program that helps ease the transition to graduate school by providing students with a community of peers that look like them, while introducing them to the resources and activities that Rice has to offer.

Affinity & student group affiliations: BGSA, MSNE GSA, NSF Fellowship Writing Coach Program

Fun fact:

I drive a stick shift! 

Favorite thing about Rice:

My favorite thing about Rice is the BGSA. Being a part of this organization has helped me form many amazing relationships that have enhanced my graduate school experience.

Favorite thing about Houston:

My favorite things about Houston are the great food and the dance community!

Why did you decide to go to grad school?

At Hampton University, I had a mentor named Dr. Ghebreyessus who encouraged me to do REUs every summer. From doing these internships, I found that I enjoyed doing research and I wanted to continue my educational journey beyond my undergraduate degree.