Carrie Obenland Owens, PhD

Scientific Outreach & Nonprofit Panel

Job Title: Associate Director of Outreach & Research, Rice Office of STEM Engagement

Current Employer: Rice University


  • STEM Education Post Doctoral Fellow, Office of STEM Engagement, Department of Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, TX (2016)

  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, TX (2012)

  • M.A.. in Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, TX (2010)

  • B.S. in Chemical Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, TX (2005)


Carrie Obenland Owens holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UT Austin, and worked as an engineer for Air Liquide. She started there as an intern, transitioned into their ALLEX program for two years, and then worked as an Optimization Engineer. Carrie left industry to go to graduate school and earned her Ph.D. and Masters in Chemistry with a focus on Chemical Education from Rice University. During her studies, she was awarded multiple fellowships and scholarships, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. While doing her research, Carrie also became a certified secondary science teacher in the state of Texas. She has numerous publications in journals such as Chemical Education Research and Practice, Journal of Chemical Education and Journal of College Science Teaching, as well as two book chapters. After graduation, Carrie taught Chemistry at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston Independent School District. She then transitioned into a STEM Education Postdoctoral position with the Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM) and the Department of Chemistry at Rice University. Currently, Carrie is the Associate Director for Outreach and Research. She manages the evaluation of all of R-STEM’s programs and leads the Nanotechnology REU with a Focus on Community College Students, an outreach program for graduate students, and various programs for undergrads and high school students.

Most useful skill sets acquired from/for your field:

The three most important skills needed for my job are clear communication, good organization, and excitement for learning/teaching STEM.

What I love most about my job:

I love working with a wide range of people to inspire the next generation to explore STEM.

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