Edgar E. Villegas (Pathways 2.0 Team)

WEBSITE(S)| Edgar's LinkedIn | The French Lab

Pronouns: he/him/his

Undergraduate Institutions: Brown University

Advisor: Dr. Melodie French

Department: Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences



I am a Second Year PhD student in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences. Before Rice, I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Astrophysics from Brown University in 2022. My current research focuses on understanding how rocks deform, crack and change under different pressure and temperature conditions. Understanding how these materials behave under different geologic conditions helps us understand how earthquakes nucleate, propagate and arrest. As an experimentalist I work on engineering solutions to reach geologic conditions and measure relevant parameters. As an undergraduate, I worked on several Astrophysics projects which included asteroid orbit determination, exoplanet detection and dark matter in galactic clusters.

As part of the GPS 2.0 team, I am excited about connecting scholars to various career and professional development opportunities. Expanding scholars' networks and connections are also of great importance. As a first-generation, Mexican-American student I am ready to increase representation in higher education, particularly in the sciences. In the past I have worked on this by tutoring AP Calculus and AP Physics the AVID program for Downey Unified School District, chairing on MEChA de Brown’s E-board, and working on anti-racist teaching in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown.

As a Long Beach native from LA County, I enjoy hiking in the mountains and relaxing on the beach. In Houston, I enjoy listening to new music, practicing on my guitar, cooking, growing chili peppers in my yard, playing pickup soccer games, astrophotography, dancing and playing video games with my siblings.

Affinity and student group affiliations: LatinGrads@Rice, GeoUnion, and Los Angeles Astronomical Society, Sigma Xi

Fun fact: 

I wrote a letter to Neil Degrasse Tyson in high school and he responded, along with a signed autograph.

Favorite thing about Rice: 

The warm atmosphere and vibrant communities on campus.

Favorite thing about Houston:

The diverse and vibrant cultures: One of my favorite things about Houston is its rich and diverse culture. The city is a melting pot of different ethnicities, languages, and traditions.

Why did you decide to go to grad school? 

I decided to go to graduate school because I really enjoyed doing research as an undergrad. In addition, I still wanted to learn new skills and take challenging courses in a new discipline.