SUT-US Launches a New Student Chapter at Rice University


Rachel Holanda & Araceli Lopez// SUT US// October 17, 2017

Caption: SUT-US’s Rice student chapter inaugural event and attendees. (Photo Credit: Rachel Holanda)
Houston, TX - The Society for Underwater Technology in the US (SUT-US) launched a new student chapter at Rice University in Houston, TX last September. The event marks a triumph by SUT-US Education Committee, chaired by John Allen, as SUT-US expands its wings to a new university campus.

Prior to the event, SUT-US had three student chapters within Texas at the University of Houston, Texas A&M University in College Station, and Texas A&M University in Galveston. SUT-US has been working to increase its number of student chapters in order to better cultivate the next generation of underwater technology leaders. With Rice University as a new addition, SUT-US is able to better cultivate such leadership.  SUT-US president and chair Dr. Zenon Medina-Cetina noted that the Rice's chapter inauguration was "a historic event for SUT" and expressed his excitement for "expanding the future of SUT."
Dr. Fathi Ghorbel, Rice professor from the Department of Mechanical and Bioengineering and Director of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (RiSYS) will serve as the faculty advisor for the new student chapter. Dr. Ghorbel’s research closely aligns within SUT’s areas of expertise, studying nanorobotics and nanomanipulation, robotic rehabilitation, in-pipe robotics sensing and inspections.  He expressed his enthusiasm for SUT’s presence on campus and is eager to develop SUT’s visibility at Rice as well as develop Rice chapter’s unique contribution to SUT.
The Rice chapter has selected the following engineering student leaders, Issam Ben Moallemas for president, Clark Zha for vice president, and Hankun Deng for treasurer. These first leaders will play a critical role in paving the way for chapter current and future operations. In the current semester, they plan to finalize the bylaws, to formalize its university recognition, and to conclude executive board selections. It looks to host SUT-related events on Rice campus soon. 
Rice chapter vice president Clark Zha presents their chapter s plans for its inaugural year
Caption: Rice chapter vice president Clark Zha presents their chapter’s plans for its inaugural year to both fellow SUT branch and headquarter executives as well as fellow student chapter presidents. Photo Credit: Rachel Holanda
Much support was present at the Rice chapter inaugural event as the three neighboring university student chapters’ presidents attended, Ziad Wardeh-Texas A&M in College Station, Marissa Malinoski -Texas A&M in Galveston, and Bernardo Fernandes-University of Houston. SUT-US student chapter presidents provided examples of student activities and ideas for the new chapter to consider and implement.
SUT’s CEO Mr. Steve Hall attended and provided the keynote lecture for this event, offering advice and mapping out SUT’s global scope and operations. Mr. Hall encouraged the new chapter to find their passion within SUT and seek something that SUT may not yet be doing, stating “if you see something SUT doesn’t cover, start it off; we are very keen to support you.”
Rice University had numerous representatives at the inaugural event demonstrating interest in further fostering the relationship with SUT. Rice’s Associate Dean for Energy Dr. Walter Chapman and Subsea Systems Institute’s Sergio Kapusta expressed their enthusiasm for the enriching opportunities that SUT can provide Rice students. Sergio Kapusta remarked that SUT’s growing presence is timely due to emerging needs within the environment, climate, and oil and gas industry. The SUT-US chapter can assist in increasing this awareness and addressing those needs.
Ending the ceremony was the awarding of the annual check to support the established student chapters as well as the new chapter. Rice University’s student chapter received a check of $5,000, and the University of Houston, Texas A&M at College Station, and Texas A&M at Galveston student chapters each received a check of $4,000 for this 2017-2018 academic year.
Fellow SUT-US chapter presidents hand Rice Chapter student executives first SUT sponsorship check
Caption: Fellow SUT-US chapter presidents hand Rice Chapter student executives first SUT sponsorship check of $5,000.
L-R: Clark Zha (Rice vice president), Ziad Wardeh (Texas A&M at College Station president), Marissa Malinoski (Texas A&M at Galveston president), Bernardo Fernandes (University of Houston president), and Issam Ben Moallem (Rice president).

SUT-US is proud of its new and established student chapters and looks to continue its support and promotion of future underwater technology leaders. If you or your university is interested in establishing an SUT-US student chapter, please get in contact with

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