Squirtle Squad


AJ Barnes

aj barnes

Barnes. Aric Barnes. The man, the myth, the (kind, funny, intelligent, linguistically diverse) legend. If this senior is your Ad- visor, you’re in for a treat. No seriously, he’ll probably treat you to anything you want; he’s that nice and wonderful. Aric, or AJ to mostly everyone, is a linguistics and cognitive science double major (as well as a neuroscience minor) and loves above all else, education. You can find him all around Houston tutoring youth, translating for Spanish speakers, volunteering for a million different organizations, or on campus coordinating the Young Owls Leadership Program. He is also a Hispanic aficionado, so lovers of all things Latin don’t hesitate to ask questions to and dance with AJ if the opportunity arises. (He can dance salsa, bachata, reggaéton, chacha… Or to anything by Miley Cyrus.) Congrats though, y’all (y’all is AJ’s most said pronoun), AJ is going to be the best Advisor ever, and you’re in for a hilarious treat come O-Week.

Laura Kessel

laura kessel

Who wears monkey onesies and survives on chicken nuggets as her grown up meal? Who spent a semester in Ireland and became a leprechaun? Who would you guess owns a Lion King height chart? This little one stuck in a 21 year old body is none other than L Kessel… killer Kessel… Laura Kessel. Not only does she kill it on the powderpuff field (taking us to finals two years in a row), but she also kills it in the mechanical engineering department. She basically builds everything and breaks everything apart. At Martel, this senior loves spamming our inboxes with cute and slightly addicting animal gifs. (She was once our secretary.) She throws amazing events as an Associates Committee head, and she sometimes calls herself a Martel Mentor. But for real she’s the bomb dot com and she’ll make you laugh (at her) like no other. Get ready to have the best Advisor ever! Welcome to Rice!


Vincent Gonzales

vincent gonzales

Meet Vincent, Martel’s resident king of swagger and style. Have you ever looked at someone and thought, Geez, what is the key to the heart of such a mysterious, enigmatic man? The answer is simple – work at a boba shop. Renowned throughout Martel and Rice for his obsession with tapioca, coffee, and good food, Vincent can tell you about his personal rankings of the best coffeehouses and boba shops in Houston. (He’s also a Houston native, y’all.) You can also find Vincent at local art museums and galleries, as well as symphony concerts at Jones Hall and Stude Concert Hall. Why? Because Vincent is so dang cultured that he refuses to let the arts stray from his vision. Despite his massive interest in the arts, he lays it low with his unique knowledge about energy economics. You can find him in Coffeehouse reading a book about the history of natural gas markets in the United States, or even reading an article about the rise and fall of nuclear energy in Germany. By the end of O-Week, you will know exactly how Vincent feels about everything from fossil fuels to the particular shade of blue in the latest Rothko canvas at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Just don’t ask him to drive you there to see it this weekend – he’ll be busy tracking down his car keys… again. (Ask him about it, I’m sure he’d love to tell you.


Becca Federman

becca federman

If you are reading this because Becca Federman is your O-Week Advisor, suffice it to say that you lucked out. Becca hails from the northern lands, a proud New Jerseyan, until her parents relocated to New York City and got rid of all of her favorite childhood possessions. She also attended boarding school in Massachusetts (no, it was not like Zoey 101 or Harry Potter). When she is not busy with her Cognitive Science, Spanish, premed courseload, volunteering at Texas Children’s Hospital, serving as an advisory board member at the Center for Language and Intercultural Communication, being a valuable member of the Wiess powderpuff offensive line, and conquering the world, this incredible human being is most often found playing with babies, eating cookie dough (warmed up only), watching Netflix, and simply being awesome. Becca’s generous care for those around her is evident in her summer plans, as she will be traveling with Volunteers Around the World to Peru for a medical outreach trip and subsequently working in the Galapagos with special needs children through a fellowship. Are you ready for greatness? You’d better be! Because with Becca as your Advisor, and more importantly, as your friend, your time at Rice and beyond is guaranteed to be great.