The School of Social Sciences to hold Research Relay Featuring New Faculty during STaRT@Rice Opening Reception

Rice President speaks at Research Relay event

On October 6, 2023, the School of Social Sciences will host the second Research Relay of the semester as part of the opening reception for this year’s STaRT@Rice program. The relay will feature novel research by new Rice social sciences faculty.

2023 Research Relay flyer
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Research Relays provide a relaxed setting for faculty to learn about each other’s research, promote informal discussions, and stimulate collaborations. Opening remarks will be provided by Rice University President Reginald DesRoches, School of Social Sciences Dean Rachel Kimbro, STaRT@Rice Director Tony Brown, and School of Social Sciences Associate Dean for Research Pat DeLucia. Four speakers will present their research in a “lightning talk” format, in four minutes or less. Attendees will have the opportunity to converse with the speakers afterward over light bites and refreshments.

“We are excited to feature four of our brilliant new faculty in this relay, and looking forward to welcoming more than 130 students to STaRT@Rice this year,” said Kimbro.

The October Research Relay presenters include: Huatse Gyal, assistant professor of anthropology; Shihan Shen, assistant professor of economics, Matthew Tyler, assistant professor of political science; and Miranda Waggoner, associate professor of sociology and STaRT@Rice 2023 workshop instructor.

The presenters will showcase a wide variety of topics based on their different areas of expertise. Gyal's research focuses on state environmentalism and climate change, with an interdisciplinary approach to land-based indigenous revitalization movements in a global context. With interests that lie broadly in macroeconomics, Shen's research focuses on firm dynamics, innovation, and economic growth. Tyler's research measures the extent, causes, and consequences of political division and partisan polarization in American politics. Focusing on topics related to gender, reproduction, and inequality, Waggoner’s research examines how social structure and culture shape biomedical knowledge production, medical care, and public health practice.

“Our speakers are addressing some of the most pressing societal issues of our time,” said DeLucia. “They will provide a glimpse of their cutting-edge research on these issues.”

STaRT@Rice Director Tony Brown at the 2022 Opening Reception
STaRT@Rice Director Tony Brown at the 2022 Opening Reception

The Research Relay with new social sciences faculty members will set the stage for what promises to be an exciting three days of STaRT@Rice research-oriented workshops.

STaRT@Rice, in its third year, is an innovative program that provides research training and professionalization opportunities. Participants increase expertise via exposure in applied workshops and learn how to ask better questions about the research process. Workshop topics cover a broad range of content, moving from introductory to intermediate to advanced levels. This year, a series of workshops within a health track will also be offered. Another new addition this year, STaRT@Rice, which provides unparalleled professional development opportunities, has opened its doors to academics and working professionals.

“The STaRT@Rice program levels the playing field when it comes to methodological skills and professionalism,” said Brown. “It is the antidote to impostor syndrome, and exemplary of the inclusive excellence that is essential to higher education.”

For questions about Research Relays, contact Pat DeLucia at To learn more about STaRT@Rice, visit: