Houston high schoolers investigate artificial intelligence, urban farming and the humanities

This spring's Civic Humanist Program offered a total of 8 events featuring topics about the Medical Humanities and Cultural Heritage. These events included three campus field trips and five off-campus lectures for local Houston high school students.

Our two Civic Humanist fellows this year did an outstanding job. Hannah Biggs, PhD in the English Department at Rice, was Medical Humanities fellow. She offered deeply informed lectures on recognizing and building connections between urban farming, sustainability, and the humanities, as well as fostering best practices in major metropolitan centers like Houston. Biggs also took field trip students on tours of Rice’s community gardens and art exhibits.


*Dr. Biggs in action! Presenting to Yes Prep High School!

Erin Prophet, PhD in the Department of Religion at Rice, was our Cultural Heritage fellow. Prophet’s interactive lectures were both imagination-expanding and super-practical journeys into the nature of artificial intelligence at the crossroads of the humanities and medical practices. With a master's degree in public health (epidemiology), Prophet generously offered her tips and insights into this highly debated topic. 


*One of many fantastic slides from Erin Prophet's interactive lecture on artificial intelligence and the medical humanities


Both lectures were full of useful and eye-opening information for students! After their lectures, Prophet and Biggs took students on a tour of Rice campus, showing them relevant sites, such as public art and local gardens on campus, including Jaume Plensa’s ‘Mirror’ sculpture and the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany skyspace. Click here to view information about the skyspace.  

Each field trip concluded with a creative writing prompt assigned by Biggs and Prophet respectively, which students started while having lunch near the beautiful courtyard in front of the old Rice Art Gallery linked to Sewel Hall. Overall, students seemed to really enjoy their field trip experience, learning about many facets of artificial intelligence, medicine, and urban farming.

The 2018 Medical Humanities series led by Erin Prophet held the following spring events: Strake Jesuit College Preparatory College High School visited on March 26th; Furr High School took its first field trip to Rice on April 25th. Additionally, Prophet gave a wonderful lecture at North Houston Early College High School on February 8th and one at Yates High School on March 9th.

The 2018 Cultural Heritage series led by Hannah Biggs held the following spring events: Sharpstown High School visited Rice for a field trip and lecture on March 8th. Biggs gave extralectures at: DeBakey High School for Health Professionals on October 11th; North Houston Early College High School on October 18th; and Reagan High School on November 3rd.

More field trips and lectures are in store for the 2018-2019 school year. Stay tuned for additional news on the Medical Humanities and Cultural Heritage events with the HRC's Civic Humanist Program!