Malena Rice

Happy in Rome :)

Hi there! My name is Malena, and I'm an alumna (class of 2017) who double majored in Astrophysics and Physics. In the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department, I conducted research with Gaspard Duchene and the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey team (GPIES; see to model debris disks, which are used to study the structure and formation of planetary systems. My main research interests are in the field of exoplanets, especially in exoplanet atmospheres and planetary system formation. After graduation, I will be completing my PhD at Yale University as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

I've also participated in a couple of other research projects as an undergraduate – during summer 2015, I worked at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to study the abundance of water in the atmospheres of Titan and Saturn, and, before that, I worked at LBL to study cosmic rays and particle physics with the Mu2e project. During summer 2016, I was an International Dean's Summer Student Scholarship recipient at the University College London (UCL), where I worked on target analysis for the Twinkle space mission ( which is planned for launch in 2019 to study exoplanet atmospheres.

I founded the Undergraduate Astronomy Society (UAS; see for more information), and I have organized numerous programs and events through this group. I love to help students to get involved, and I am always willing to make time to provide advice and guidance for anyone who needs it.

While at Berkeley, I was also a member of the Society of Women in the Physical Sciences (SWPS), a Global Science Opera student collaborator, a Berkeley Physics Undergraduate Research Scholar, a Regents' and Chancellor's Scholar, a Study Abroad Student Ambassador, an academic tutor, and a flute teacher. I have been an active member of the Society of Physics Students (SPS), the Space Exploration Society - Berkeley (SESB), Berkeley Ballroom, and the UC Rally Committee, as well. In Fall 2016, I served as a UGSI for the upper-division optical and infrared astronomy lab, Astro 120.

Outside of classes and research, I love to play the flute, and I have performed in highly competitive groups throughout high school and college. I also enjoy learning new languages, reading, traveling, and exploring.

Feel free to check out my website,, if you'd like to learn a bit more about me! Direct links to my email and LinkedIn can be found on my website, or, if you don't feel like clicking the link, my email is I love to meet new people, so please feel free to ask me anything or just to introduce yourself!