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Can-Do Person: Civil Engineering Senior Molly Rice Leads by Example

March 15, 2012

Senior Molly Rice brings two strong modes of action to all her undertakings -- lead and succeed.  That can-do spirit fits in well at Rose-Hulman, where she has been involved in everything from women's soccer to student government. 

"Here, I'm a name, not a number,"  says the unassuming Civil Engineering  student.

             Molly Rice
   Molly Rice

Rice has emerged as an influential student leader on campus, earning the Student Government Association's Student Leader of the Quarter Award, the Indiana Section ASCE Award, the ASCE Alumni Award and, most recently, the Honor Key Award for outstanding student involvement.   In fact, it is believed that she earned the most Honor Key points ever achieved by a Rose-Hulman student for her campus involvement. But her success probably comes more from her commitment to what Civil engineering has to offer the world.

"Civil engineering isn't so much about recognition--it is about service.  Civil engineers make the difference," she says.

Molly's work on campus has reinforced the link between engineering and service.   Last holiday season saw Rice organizing members of the Delta Delta Delta in assembling bicycles and tricycles for the campus' annual Bikes For Tykes holiday community service project.   And the success of this and other projects has given her plenty of opportunity to consider what makes good leadership tick.

"Leadership is about influencing a group to achieve common goals," says Rice, "which involves being a good listener, working well with others, taking control, being well-rounded, and setting a good example."

Rice served as president of the Cecil T. Lobo student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), leading the ASCE chapter -- ranked among the country's best   --  in fundraising, community service, education, and social activities. With Rose-Hulman's Explore Engineering program, Rice led the ASCE-sponsored Popsicle Bridge Building Contest for Wabash Valley middle- and high-school students. 

"Leadership is all about getting people's input," she explains.  "As a leader, you take those thoughts and put them together to create something that makes people want to follow.  It's about adapting, not being selfish, but selfless."

Rice noted the contributions of civil engineering professors James Hanson and James McKinney in developing her leadership skills.  Hanson has taught her that leadership is not the same as management.  As a professional mentor to the ASCE chapter, McKinney has revealed the value of hard work and dedication to leadership.

"Management is about accomplishing activities and mastering routines while providing order and consistency," Rice says. 

Over her college career, Molly Rice has been a member of the Student Government Association's Judicial Council, Blue Key National Honor Society, Habitat for Humanity,   the Lacrosse Club, the Delta Delta Delta sorority, and she has done it all while being an exemplary classroom scholar and earning the consulting engineering certificate. 

Upon graduation, Rice will join Moffatt & Nichol Engineering as a structural engineer, and plans to eventually earn a master's degree.  She looks forward to the challenges.

"I want to use my leadership abilities to adapt to any obstacles that come my way," she says.


Student Profile

Molly Rice
Marion, Indiana
Senior Civil Engineering Major
Consulting Engineering Certificate

Rose-Hulman Activities:

  • President, Cecil T. Lobo Chapter, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2011
  • Women's Varsity Soccer, 4 years
  • Vice President of Administration, Delta Delta Delta Women's Fraternity
  • Treasurer, Concrete Canoe Team
  • Student Government Association Judicial Council
  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Chi Alpha Sigma
  • Pi Mu Epsilon
  • Blue Key National Honor Society
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Lacrosse Club


  • Rose-Hulman Dean's List - Every Quarter
  • ASCE Alumni Award
  • Honor Key Award
  • Student Leader of the Quarter, 2011
  • Indiana Section ASCE Award
  • Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference Honoree
  • Cecil T. Lobo Scholarship
  • Indiana Society of Professional Engineers Scholarship
  • Asphalt Pavement Association of Indiana Scholarship