A Message for Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in my research, and in joining the MAHI lab.I appreciate that you have taken the time to review my web pages (http://mems.rice.edu/~mahi/), and perhaps you have even reviewed some of the publications describing our research.


I receive an overwhelming amount of email from prospective students.As a result, I am unable to respond to each message personally.I encourage you to review the information below before deciding if Rice University and our research in the MAHI lab are right for you.In general, I am more likely to reply to a student who has taken the time to understand what is involved in my research, and even more so if they can explain why their background and interests make them well-suited to be a contributing member of my research group.


Prospective Postdoctoral Research Fellows


Postdoctoral candidates in my laboratory are hired for specific positions. There are no postdoctoral positions available in my laboratory unless there is a current posting on the MEMS departmental website. Postings on other sites may be outdated and should not be responded to unless there is also a posting on the MEMS departmental website.


Prospective Graduate Students


Admission to the MEMS department at Rice University is based on merit, and applications are reviewed by the departmentís Graduate Admissions Committee.Decisions regarding openings for new graduate assistants, acceptance, and funding are made in the late fall for spring admission and in the late spring for fall admission.The graduate committee decides the requirements for admission.Fellowships are sometimes awarded to admitted students by the Department or the School of Engineering. This implies that prospective students must be admitted to be considered for such fellowships.Prospective students should also apply for outside fellowships to support their graduate studies.Direct solicitations to faculty members for admission are not accommodated. All students interested in applying to the MEMS department should contact the Graduate Coordinator at:


Attn: Graduate Coordinator

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science - MS 321

Rice University

P.O. Box 1892

Houston, Texas 77251-1892



Alternatively, information can be found on the departmentís website.


Before contacting me by email, please read the following:


  • I am unable to advise every qualified student due to limited resources (space, time, attention, etc).The easiest path to join my research group is to come highly recommended by another faculty member in the field at another institution.Many factors play a role in determining who is best suited for joining the MAHI lab (GPA, GRE to some extent, letters of recommendation, research experience, publications, and communication skills to name a few).
  • I am happy to meet with students who have applied and will likely be admitted to the program. You should submit a complete application before trying to arrange a visit or phone appointment with me. (If I know for sure that I will not be able to take you on as a student, I will decline to meet with you, thereby saving us both time and energy.)
  • I generally do not respond to email solicitations from prospective graduate students.If you are interested in my research and feel you are a good fit, apply to the department.
  • In general I provide financial support or assistance for graduate students pursuing degrees through my lab.The only way to know whether I have funding for you is to apply to the graduate program. Please note that it is especially rare for M.S.-only students to receive funding commitments at the time of acceptance into the program.
  • I am not responsible for determining if you will be admitted to the department. This is handled by the Graduate Admissions Committee.If you are interested in working with me, you should apply to the MEMS Department, and specify your desired research area as Robotics/System Dynamics/Control.Please note on your application whether you have applied for outside fellowships.

Prospective Undergraduate Researchers


Undergraduate students in the School of Engineering have many opportunities to participate in research projects on campus, and are encouraged to do so. They work with faculty, graduate students, and other undergraduates during the academic year as well as summers, sometimes for course credit, but often for pay. Students participate in research in a variety of ways, including developing and carrying out laboratory experiments, designing hardware and software, analyzing models of physical processes or systems, writing about their research for publication, and making presentations about their results. Sometimes a student is a coauthor with a faculty member or researcher on a paper published in journals or presented at major conferences in the field, and the student may actually present the paper at the conference.


The most important traits of undergraduate researchers are: sincere interest in learning, good work ethic, responsibility, communications skills, enthusiasm, and some technical skill. Useful technical skills include building/machining/electronics, programming in C/C++, using Matlab for simulation and plotting, and statistical analysis. Good grades are essential; research should augment, not replace, excellent academic work. Students should be committed to meeting goals and obtaining research results.

I typically advise several undergraduate researchers each year, usually from MECH, ELEC, or COMP departments. Sometimes these students are assigned to a graduate student mentor who will provide day-to-day guidance. Unfortunately, I get many more requests for positions than I and my graduate students are able to effectively advise -- so please don't consider it a "rejection" if we are unable to offer you a position. Students also often ask for recommendations of other possible undergraduate research advisors: please see the MEMS department website.I do not know who has positions available, so you'll need to contact them directly to find out.