Departmental Awards

The Economics Department awards several prizes to outstanding students majoring in Economics (ECON), Mathematical Economic Analysis (MTEC), and Managerial Economics and Organizational Sciences (MEOS).

We would like to thank the many donors whose generous contributions make these awards possible, and allow us to recognize the accomplishments of our brilliant, dedicated and hard-working undergraduate students.


Honors in Economics

To receive Honors in Economics, students must receive a grade of B+ or higher in the departmental honors course (ECON 498/499), a two-semester program supervised by Professor Flávio Cunha, in which students participate in a research workshop and produce an independent research paper. Recipients of Honors in Economics in 2021:

Cade Ballew
Autumn Engebretson
Vicente Iglesias
Nathan Kaplan
Sree Yeluri


The Malcolm Gillis Awards

The Malcolm Gillis Awards, established in 2015, honor one of the most prominent and respected members of the Rice Economics Department. Malcolm Gillis was the Ervin K. Zingler Chair in Economics, and was not only an outstanding scholar, an accomplished advisor to a multitude of governments, universities and other private entities, and an exemplary teacher, but also served as President of Rice University from 1993 to 2004. The Malcolm Gillis Award in Economics is awarded to the graduating senior in the ECON major with the highest grade point average in the courses required to fulfill their major requirements. The Malcolm Gillis Award in Mathematical Economic Analysis is awarded to the graduating senior in the MTEC major with the highest grade point average in the courses required to fulfill their major requirements.

Recent winners of the Malcolm Gillis Award in Economics:
2021 - Alexander Patterson
2020 - Su Chen Teh & Erin A. Killbride
2019 - Mai Pham
2018 - Mengjia Liu
2017 - Alex Alexander
2016 - Sarah Hodges-Copple
​2015 - Andrew Clark

Recent winners of the Malcolm Gillis Award in Mathematical Economic Analysis:
2021 - Cade Ballew and Vicente Iglesias
2020 - Yixing (Lisa) Ling
2019 - Yan Li
2018 - Seohee Kim
2017 - Zhifeng Wang
2016 - James Yuan
2015 - Thomas Weidman


The Michael D. Maher RISE Awards in Economics

The Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics (RISE) is a multi-year effort devoted to enhancing research and teaching in Economics at Rice. The Michael D. Maher RISE Award in Economics is awarded to the rising senior with the highest grade point average in the courses taken to fulfill the ECON degree requirements. The Michael D. Maher RISE Award in Mathematical Economic Analysis is awarded to the rising senior with the highest grade point average in the courses taken to fulfill the MTEC degree requirements.

Recent winners of the RISE Award in Economics:
2021 - Cara He and Rachel Moore
2020 - Alexander B. Patterson
2019 - Su Chen Teh
2018 - Mai Pham
2017 - Mengjia Liu
2016 - Alex Alexander
​2015 - Thomas Bennett

Recent winners of the RISE Award in Mathematical Economic Analysis:
2021 - Lucas Tyler
2020 - Cade Bellew & Vicente Iglesias
2019 - Kaiqi Bao & Yixing Ling
2018 - Yan Li
2017 - Seohee Kim
2016 - Yize Zhao
2015 - Yuqi Li


The Patricia and Robert H. Parks Jr. Prize for Excellence in Economics

The Patricia and Robert H. Parks Jr. Prize for Excellence in Economics is awarded to a student who has excelled in the ECON or MTEC programs and who is entering the work force upon graduation.

Recent winners of the Parks Prize:
2021 - Nathan Kaplan
2020 - Elizabeth Rasich


The Ronald Soligo Public Policy Essay Prize

The Ronald Soligo Public Policy Essay Prize is named after a long time member of the department who played a key role in its early formative years. Professor Emeritus Soligo was known for his research in economic development and energy economics as well as his unswerving commitment to our graduate program, which he served as Director of Graduate Studies for twenty years. The Soligo Prize is awarded for the best research paper on public policy written by a graduating senior in any Economics class.

Recent winners of the Ronald Soligo Public Policy Essay Prize:
2021 - Autumn Engebretson
2020 - Eshaan Patel & William Grimme
2019 - Jiyang Cai
2018 - Rafael Butiong


The BP Prize for Best Research Paper on Energy Economics

The BP Prize for Best Research Paper on Energy Economics is financed by the British Petroleum Company through the Center for Energy Studies in the Baker Institute for Public Policy. It is awarded for the best research paper written by a graduating senior on any topic related to energy economics written in any Economics class.

Recent winners of the BP Prize:
2021 - Sree Yeluri


Tax Executives Institute Undergraduate Tax Scholar Award

The Tax Executives Institute Undergraduate Tax Scholar Award is sponsored by the Houston chapter of TEI, which is the preeminent global association of in-house tax professionals. The award is given to an undergraduate student who has excelled in course work and/or research focused on issues related to tax policy.

Recent winners of the Tax Executives Institute Undergraduate Tax Scholar Award:
2020 - Samuel Spitz & Autumn Engebretson
2019 - Meghana Gaur
2018 - Victoria Johnson


The Peter Mieszkowski Prize for Honors Program Research

The Peter Mieszkowski Prize for Honors Program Research is named after one of the most prolific scholars to have served in our department. Among his many accomplishments, Professor Emeritus Mieszkowski was the winner of the National Tax Association’s 2009 Daniel M. Holland Medal for lifetime contributions to the theory and practice of public finance. The Mieszkowski Prize is awarded to the best research paper written by a student in our honors program.

Recent winners of the Peter Mieszkowski Prize:
2021 - Cade Ballew and Vicente Iglesias
2020 - Corey Fuller
2019 - Andrew Porisch
2018 - Seung Jae Han and Victoria Johnson
2017 - Hanqing Sun
2016 - Jan Dudek and Mengdi (Maggie) Shi


The Gaston Rimlinger Prize

The Gaston Rimlinger Prize is named after one of the founding members of our department, a renowned scholar and popular teacher who served as department chair for many of the department’s early formative years. It is our most prestigious undergraduate student award and recognizes the best research paper written by a graduating senior in any Economics course.

Recent winners of the Gaston Rimlinger Prize:
2021 - Nathan Kaplan
2020 - Yixing (Lisa) Ling
2019 - Meghana Gaur
2018 - Evan Flack
2017 - Yue Zhang
2016 - Tanya Rajan
2015 - Kelsey Walker


Distinction in Research and Creative Works

To earn Distinction in Research and Creative Works, students must produce a body of work that represents a notable advance of the academic literature in Economics and includes a core component that is original to the student, reflecting the student’s independent thought. The work must be above and beyond that typically required for a paper in a senior-level ECON or MTEC elective, a senior independent research project, or an honors program research project. To be eligible the student must either

  1. Write a paper that represents a notable advance of the academic literature in economics and includes a core component that is original to the student, reflecting the student’s independent thought. The work must be above and beyond that typically required for a paper in a senior-level ECON or MTEC elective or a senior independent research project.

or

  1. Be materially involved in a research project with a faculty member, making contributions that are above and beyond those normally expected from an undergraduate research assistant. These contributions must include a core component that is original to the student, which both reflects the student’s independent thought and notably advances the research, and must be described in detail in a report submitted by the student.

A faculty member must nominate the student by April 1, at which time the student and faculty member must submit the Application for Distinction in Research and Creative Works form. Projects completed by Rice ECON or MTEC majors in part or entirely at other academic institutions will be eligible for consideration, in which case the faculty member supervising the research must nominate the student. Both the paper and the report should comply with the Rice Honor Council’s General Requirements for the Acknowledgment of Sources. The Economics Department Undergraduate Committee will determine which students earn Distinction in Research and Creative Works. For more information contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

ECON Distinction in Research Application
Deadline for Final Submission of Required Materials: April 1

Recent winner of Distinction in Research and Creative Works:
2020 - Yixing (Lisa) Ling