Meet the Coordinators

Gabby Falcon

Hello new Martelians and welcome to the best university and college EVER!! Of course that first sentence is a little biased but can you blame me? If you think you love Rice now, imagine living here and falling in love with it all over again. Congrats on getting into the #1 university in Texas and being placed in Martel College.

My name is Gabrielle (my friends call me Gabby so feel free to do the same:)) and I am so happy and excited to be your O-Week Coordinator! I hail from the beautiful city of Fort Worth, Texas but have lived all over the South due to my dad’s job relocating us (5 times, in fact). I come from an interracial family so my biracial background is important to me. I have two hilarious brothers (one of which goes to school 15 minutes away at University of Houston!), two dogs that I love immensely and the most supportive parents in the world. I am a Junior double majoring in Political Science and Policy Studies with plans to get a PhD. in Political Science after graduating – though I am open to whatever adventure life throws at me next. I am heavily involved in Martel’s government. My freshman year, I was elected the youngest Chief Justice in Martel’s history and now serve as an O-Week Coordinator and Junior Treasurer. When I am not running around Martel you can find me being a KOC (Keeper of Coffee – basically a barista) at Rice Coffeehouse and working on homework. I am also involved in Nocturnal, which is an acapella group on campus, so you may hear me singing to myself while I am doing work in the Martel quad. This summer I will be working at Coffeehouse, working in the Provost’s office, and doing research with the Political Science department about women of color in state legislatures (interesting stuff, I know).

Moving often, I used to pride myself on being able to make friends easily, but the transition from high school to college terrified me. I have something super important to tell you, though: you are not only going to survive, but you can also thrive. I have some pieces of advice that hopefully will settle all of those butterflies in your stomach and give you some tips for a smooth transition.

First, know that everyone else has the same fears as you. Every person matriculating this August is new too – you will all be trying to make friends, figure out who you are and attempt to move mountains all at the same time. Be gentle with yourself and know you are definitely not alone.

Second, come in with an open mind. In college you will meet people that are different from yourself in every way – take advantage of that. Learn about countries, cultures, and thoughts that are not your own. Sign up for clubs and activities that are out of your comfort zone and explore horizons you didn’t know existed. Rice and Martel are filled with diverse people and talents; remember, you may find your passion by being a little fearless.

Third, stay in touch with your family. You may experience homesickness and know that just as much as you miss them, they miss you. Even after you grow comfortable in your new home, they want to hear about all of these awesome experiences that make up your Rice life so give them a call. I still call my parents once a week to keep them up to date.

Be fearless, be open and be ready for the ride of your life.
Welcome home my friends,



Laney Baker

Hey guys!

Welcome to Martel!! Congratulations on being sorted into the best college ever and congratulations on getting into Rice! Gabby, Sarah, and I can’t wait to welcome you home in August. We are so excited to meet each and every one of you!

My name is Laney, which rhymes with “rainy,” not “nanny.” While I’m originally from Laurel, Maryland, I now live north of Dallas with my parents, little sister, and two cats, Samurai and Ninja. I’m a junior majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering and minoring in Sociology, but didn’t always know that this was the path for me. It sounds cheesy, but in college I’ve been blessed to stumble into studying something I’m incredibly passionate about! This summer I’m lucky enough to be doing research on campus focusing on improved water purification and am having more fun than I knew possible. After graduation, I plan to do a year of international service before going to grad school to get my Ph.D. Besides water, I’m passionate about tacos, dance, and vanilla cake.

At Rice, I’m actually more involved around campus than at Martel. I’m a choreographer for Rice Dance Theatre (I also dance in the shows), am involved in Jewish life on campus, and most importantly am the Advocacy Coordinator for a program called STRIVE (Students Transforming Rice into a Violence-Free Environment). On a typical day, you can see me eating lunch in the Commons, swinging in the Martel quad, or studying at night in Fondy. If one thing is for sure, I have enjoyed my time so far at Martel and Rice and can’t wait to share this place I love with you!

I have a few pieces of advice to share before I sign off. First, take in the little moments! There are lots of big and important changes taking place in your life right now, but some of the best memories seem small at the time. Try to remember your first night at Rice, how happy you are chilling with your friends at a Sundeck Fundeck, and the late-night talks where people you just met become your best friends.

Second, don’t be afraid of change. The plans you had before coming to college might not be the ones you have after your first year. It’s normal to change your mind! Five out of the six girls I lived with last year changed their major or career path during their first two years. Your friends will likely change, whether at Rice or at home. Your course schedule might have to change. Be open minded as you face these modifications! Change is often for the better.

Finally, find a place at Rice you can call home. It might be Martel, a religious organization, or a club you love. Starting over some place new is hard, especially if you have lived in the same place for a while or don’t know anyone else going to Rice. Both were true for me! Finding a place you feel safe will make this transition a little easier. College is a huge, exciting transition! Don’t forget to share your joys and struggles on this journey with the people you love. I promise they want to hear about it!

Have an amazing summer! Start counting down the days until DiscO-Week! Martel can’t wait to add you to the family.



Sarah Berton

Hey y’all!

My name is Sarah, and I am so excited to welcome you to the Martel family! Congratulations on getting into Rice, and consider yourself so lucky to be in the best college on campus!! I, along with my Co-Coordinators, have been working hard for the past eight months to make sure you receive the welcome you deserve, and I cannot wait to meet each and every one of you!

I am a junior double-majoring in Political Science and Sociology, and I seriously love what I study. You may often find me discussing politics or social issues over lunch or around Martel when I probably should be doing homework. This summer I’m actually lucky enough to be doing sociology research at the Houston Education Research Consortium here on Rice’s campus. However, like many of you, I still am not sure what I want to do for a career, so don’t stress – you aren’t the only one and you have plenty of time to figure it out! Before coming to Rice, I spent my entire life in San Antonio, Texas. Although Houston has become my second home, I am still loyal to my wonderful hometown – and more specifically, the best basketball team in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs. As a native San Antonian, I’m also a sucker for Tex-Mex and could literally live on only chips and salsa if I had to! My love for the Spurs and Tex Mex is second only to my love for my two dogs, Blue and Bear, as well as my parents and two brothers (one of which is my twin)!

At Rice, you can usually find me around Martel, doing homework in the quad on a nice day, representing the junior class in Parliament, or eating lunch with friends. When I’m not at Martel, I might be at my job as a student caller for the Rice Telefund, leading a small group with Chi Alpha Christian Ministry, or at Coffeehouse trying to talk myself out of getting another coffee. If you ever see me at Martel or around campus, please say hi! I am always down to chat and truly hope to befriend each of you. For now, I have a few pieces of advice as you prepare to start your time at Rice.

1. Try everything! In other words, don’t count yourself out for opportunities that may seem scary or out of reach. Even now, I have doubts about my abilities, but I actually got the research position I am doing this summer by applying for a job for which I was not entirely qualified. Instead of backing away from these things, I encourage you to demonstrate interest, show passion, and I promise there will be a lot of learning, growth, and maybe even a few opportunities that will open up for you!

2. Don’t be afraid to talk to new people. Even after two years at Rice, I still find myself forming new friendships by reaching out and having conversations with my classmates, fellow Martelians, or people I’m standing in line behind at Coffeehouse. Everyone at Rice is seriously so friendly – just say hi!

3. Be honest about who you are! This may sound cheesy, but everyone at Rice – and especially at Martel – is so excited to learn who you are and what you love. One of our greatest missions for DiscO-Week is to celebrate each New Student in whatever makes them happy at Rice, so branch out, do what you love, and know that your Martel community will always be cheering you on.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I cannot wait to see y’all in August for DiscO-Week!