Spring Semester Startup Job & Internship Fair


One notable hub for entrepreneurial activities at Rice University is the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (LILIE). Positioned as the epicenter of experiential learning and co-curricular activities in entrepreneurship and innovation, LILIE's mission is to equip Rice students with both entrepreneurial skills and mindsets. This preparation extends to various industries, including technology startups, government, civic groups, non-profits, small businesses, or large corporations.

On January 24th, the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (LILIE) hosted the Startup Job & Internship Fair event which attracted hundreds of Owls looking to learn and connect with innovative high-growth companies. These startups encompassed a wide spectrum, ranging from companies in the energy transition sector to robotics and AI-powered technologies.

Anya Yan headshot
Author Anya Y. from Martel College attended the Startup Job & Internship Fair and gave us an inside look at the experience.

I attended the Startup Job & Internship Fair because I have always had an interest in the world of startups. Unlike the structured environment of established corporations, startups offer a more dynamic landscape where roles are diverse, and learning opportunities are abundant. The chance to be part of a fast-paced, flat organizational structure, and the prospect of learning from everyone around me greatly appealed to me. I was also drawn to the event because the majority of the startups present were founded by Rice alumni, giving me common ground to connect with the representatives. Recognizing the exceptional talent of Rice students, these startups were enthusiastic about recruiting passionate and dedicated individuals. Furthermore, I have a special fondness for events hosted by LILIE, as I've previously attended their launchpads and workshops during my freshman year.

While contemplating job and internship prospects, my journey as an economics major initially steered me toward finance roles within firms. However, my pursuit of a minor in Energy and Water Sustainability has led me to explore the technical aspects of energy infrastructure. While applying for positions like Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A), I also probed for opportunities to collaborate with the engineers on the team, allowing me to gain a profound understanding of the technical side. 

“Recognizing the exceptional talent of Rice students, these startups were enthusiastic about recruiting passionate and dedicated individuals.”

Liu Idea Lab Background
Student connecting with recruiter

During the event, I had the privilege of engaging with startups operating in the energy sector, a field that has captured my interest since my arrival in Houston. I interacted mainly with three companies - Fervo Energy, Grid United, and Syzygy Plasmonics.

Fervo Energy specializes in geothermal energy, a domain that has been explored for years but hasn't yet achieved commercial viability due to cost constraints. What struck me was the presence of a representative who was a fellow Rice alumna. Rather than simply inquiring about Fervo's hiring needs, I initiated a conversation by asking about her career journey and her decision to work at a startup. This personal touch allowed me to resonate with her reasons for choosing a startup, making Fervo a standout choice.

Grid United's focus is on creating shorter interconnections between electricity grids across the United States. I was particularly impressed by my interaction with an employee who held a neuroscience degree but had discovered a fulfilling career in a utility/energy company. This experience underscored the idea that one's college major doesn't necessarily dictate their career path, which deeply intrigued me.

Fervo Energy
Grid United

“My conversations during the startup fair were enriching, providing me with invaluable insights and learning opportunities that further fueled my enthusiasm.”

In essence, the startup fair provided Rice students with an invaluable opportunity to connect with remarkable companies, each brimming with innovative product ideas and ambitious aspirations.

-Anya Y., Martel College '26


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