Undergraduate profile: Dedicated to robotics
Freshman Thomas Herring arrived at Rice with a slew of engineering accomplishments, notably helping his robotics team, FIRST Robotics Competition team 610, Coyotes, compete in the World Championship in St. Louis in 2013. He followed that up by going to China to help facilitate the growth of a new robotics program in 2015.
“That was an amazing opportunity to see how culture shapes the way students work,” he said. “And China’s robotics program is relatively new, so it was exciting to see what was happening.”
The Canadian is planning to major in electrical and computer engineering, building on the robotics foundation he’s already laid for himself. He was excited about leaving his native Toronto to come to school in the States.
“I was really passionate about finding a place where I could do research as an undergraduate, and Rice is great for that,” he said of his decision. “And the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership looked like a great program for me. But, I also liked that there were so many opportunities outside the classroom; it felt like I could be part of the campus, not just study all the time.”
In particular, Herring pointed out that he loved the idea of doing outdoor excursions with the Gibbs Recreation Center’s ROPE program, and he liked that so many engineering students belonged to clubs and organizations.
“It’s a bit of a risk, leaving Canada to come to college,” he said. “My mom went to Harvard for business school, but I know the Canadian academic system, this is just different. But it’s also more holistic, and I felt it would be an enriching environment.”
Herring may be a freshman but he already knows he wants to go to graduate school and work on robotic engineering systems. For now, he’s ready to take on his undergraduate education at full speed.
He was an advocate for LGBTQ students in his high school, offering support for them, and helping to lead programs to educate the student body about LGBQT issues. He knew that Rice is welcoming for LGBTQ students, which was another factor in his coming here.
“I’m excited about the experiences I’ll have,” he said. “With everything I’ve done and the things I like to do, it just seemed like Rice was the perfect place for me.”