Kristjan Stone Ph.D. '08 is a Los Angeles regional volunteer, a member of the Association of Rice Alumni board and a member of the Initiative for Students Commission.
In what roles have you volunteered for Rice?
As a student, I volunteered as the social chair and president of the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Association, then moved on to being more involved with the overall Graduate Student Association as the external VP, parliamentarian and president. Since graduating in 2010, I have been involved with the Los Angeles area Rice alumni group as an event organizer/contact. For the last year, I have been involved as a member of Rice’s Initiative for Students Commission. I also had the honor of being the emcee for the night of President Leebron’s visit/discussion in the LA area, and I am looking forward to volunteering on the ARA board for the next three years.
Why do you volunteer for Rice?
While at Rice, I realized that it presented the perfect opportunity to change my environment for the better. I have applied that realization to my life after Rice and its associated volunteer opportunities. I enjoy holding events that bring people together, especially when I get the chance to meet passionate, smart and fascinating Rice Alumni.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Rice?
I enjoy the people I get to work with when planning the events, along with the feeling of creating a sense of community. It’s also a good chance to dust off my Rice clothing. I also enjoy seeing the faces of alumni when they ask what college I was in, and I point out I was a graduate student.
What's a fun Rice fact about you?
I met my amazing fiancée at a Rice alumni event in Los Angeles over four years ago, where I attempted to impress her by mentioning a Rice alumni friend of mine who is currently training astronauts at Johnson Space Center … and who turned out to be one of her old roommates. Rice certainly is a small microcosm, even separated by space and time.
I think I am also one of the few graduate students to own and regularly wear a Rice class ring. Wearing the ring has led to some great Rice connections in unexpected locations by Rice alumni of all age ranges.
What would you say to your fellow alumni/parents/friends to encourage them to volunteer for Rice?
Volunteering for Rice has been an amazing experience and it has been the basis for my current social group upon returning to Los Angeles. I would recommend anyone to attend not just one event, but try to make it a recurring experience. It’s been great to see the same faces, and it has led to some lasting friendships and even some fantastic networking opportunities.
I would also encourage you to take matters into your own hands and hold your own event. The staff in the alumni office are amazingly helpful, encouraging and supportive. Alumni events do not need to be large extravagant ordeals. It really doesn’t take that long to set something up, and the results can be fantastic.