Why I Volunteer: Merinda Watkins-Martin '91

Merinda Watkins-Martin '91 is the chair of the School of Social Sciences accessibility task force, a volunteer for RAVA and a Gateway business mentor.

In what roles have you volunteered for Rice?

I chair a task force for the School of Social Sciences. The task force looks at issues of accessibilty and inclusion. We identify issues that students face that prevent them from having the full Rice experience. We then look for existing resources to address those issues and make recommendations for possible solutions for others.

I also volunteer for the Rice Alumni Volunteers for Admission, through which I have conducted interviews and staffed a college fair, and I serve as a business mentor for several students through Gateway.

Finally, my husband and I provide meals to first-generation and low-income students one Saturday per month.

Why do you volunteer for Rice?

Rice is an amazing university. I am grateful for my opportunity to attend Rice, and I am eager to give back to the university. I also truly enjoy working with the students.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Rice?

I enjoy working with the students. The opportunity to share my skills and experiences is great. The idea that my knowledge may help a student select a major or navigate the business world is amazing.

What's a fun Rice fact about you?

I was a member of the track team for one day.

What would you say to your fellow alumni/parents/friends to encourage them to volunteer for Rice?

I would encourage each of them to find a way to give back. Donations are great, but also find ways to interact with current students. Sometimes, a student's path seems a little less overwhelming when they talk to someone who has been there, too. There are numerous opportunities to mentor current students.

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