Grace Morgan had a lot on her plate. On top of dealing with the demands of the computer science curriculum, the sophomore was playing on the womenâ€™s volleyball team, where she had been named a Conference USA Player of the Week.
Rice students often find themselves juggling a full load of academics and activities, but Morganâ€™s experience earlier this semester taught her that she wanted a different academic focus. She liked computer science, but wasnâ€™t passionate about it. So, she switched her major to statistics.
â€śI had taken several of the courses required for the major while I was pursuing computer science,â€ť she explained. â€śSo, it made sense to take the full leap, especially since I like math and I really enjoyed the coursework Iâ€™d done.â€ť
Morgan is thinking about a career in data science and is looking forward to taking classes in that concentration as she progresses through the statistics curriculum. Already, she said, changing majors has made a difference: she feels happier and less stressed. But she still has the challenge of balancing academics with athletics. As a middle blocker on the volleyball team, sheâ€™s in practice and workouts â€” not to mention playing in matches â€” more than 20 hours a week. Sheâ€™s the only engineer on the team. Morgan said that the sport has been useful in helping her master time management.
â€śVolleyball really gives you a work ethic,â€ť she said. â€śIt gives you this competitive mindset, where you want to do you best. Thatâ€™s part of why it took me three semesters to change my major; I kept pushing myself to do better. But the sport has helped me take that passion for getting better and channel it into my academics.â€ť
She said that volleyball has also helped her develop leadership skills and a crucial ability to work with people toward a common goal.
Morgan came to Rice from Louisiana, from a high school she said â€śwas in the middle of nowhere.â€ť (Sheâ€™s from Crowley, about 50 miles east of Lake Charles). She knew she wanted a school where she could continue to play volleyball, and where the academics would be top-notch.
â€śRice really was the best of both worlds, with Division I athletics and top-tier academics,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™m challenged here in a way I wasnâ€™t in high school â€” both on the volleyball court and in the classroom.â€ť
Holly Beretto, Rice Engineering Communications