Tia Gray (Pathways Program Leader)

WEBSITE(S)| Tia's LinkedIn | Tia's Twitter

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Undergraduate Institution: Rice University

Advisor: Dr. Pulickel Ajayan

Department: Materials Science & Nanoengineering


Tia Gray is a 3rd-year Materials Science & Nanoengineering (MSNE) PhD student within the Ajayan Lab. Although originally from GA, she has spent the past six years in Houston. As an undergraduate student (also at Rice!), she served as Student Director of the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership and completed her B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2021. Her current research work focuses on the growth, processing, and characterization of diamond material for electronic device applications. Professionally, she aims to use this knowledge to solve challenges related to energy, computing, and health within the semiconductor industry. She loves working with young minds and is passionate about creating opportunities for students to explore their scientific interests. She is also committed to creating pathways for other women and underrepresented minorities, generally unseen groups in research and tech leadership. She is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, currently serves as President of the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA), and is a fellow of the Rice NSF National Research Traineeship Bioelectronics Program. In her spare time, Tia enjoys pilates, dancing, playing the ukulele, thrifting, and consuming way too much tea.

Affinity & student group affiliations: BGSA, MSNE GSA

Fun fact:

I was a Rice cheerleader as an undergrad. 

Favorite thing about Rice:

The strong and supportive network of students, faculty, and alumni.

Favorite thing about Houston:

The variety of food options!

Why did you decide to go to grad school?

I decided to go to grad school because I really enjoyed participating in undergraduate research and wanted to continue working within the area that I had grown to love! I also wanted to gain more expertise and training with the skills and concepts that fell beyond the scope of my undergraduate study.