Family Friendly Postdoc Experience

Dror1040517“Houston is amazingly family-friendly,” says Dror Fried, a postdoctoral fellow researching Applied Theory in Artificial Intelligence and Formal Methods in the Computer Science Department. “I moved here with my wife, three children, and a cat and we’ve been here over two years now.”

Fried chose Rice University for the chance to work with Moshe Vardi, Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering and Director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology, but he fell in love with Houston. “Well, the first thing is, it’s cheap to live here. We’re renting a three-bedroom house for just over $1000 per month. It’s a good house in a good neighborhood, especially compared to our friends who are squeezed into a couple of rooms on the East or West Coast,” he says.

Quality of life is important to Fried and it is obvious that he’s a family guy because the next thing he talks about is his children’s school. “Our kids go local schools; Houston is great for neighborhood schools as well as private schools that offer special programs to preserve our culture. But this is also a great place for our kids to meet children in other cultures.”

Of course, children need more than simply a solid school system. Spaces and places for kids to spend their free time is where Houston really shines. “We’ve got Hermann Park, the Children’s Museum, the Zoo, and many more activities and parks that are all very kid friendly. The Children’s Museum is awesome, one of the best! Kids never get bored there. The Zoo is also fabulous. These are all activities that are close to Rice, just right around the corner.”

Family members like these children often join their parents at grad student and postdoc social gatherings.

Family members, like these children, often join their parents for grad student and postdoc social gatherings.

Fried says because Houston is a very big city, it offers lots of opportunities for spouses to find a job. “That is very important when you are moving here with your family,” he admits. “Rice offered me the best opportunity to focus in my area of study, but really, it has been a great opportunity for my entire family.”

Many professional students and postdocs find a welcome environment for their families at Rice.  From strolling around the shaded sidewalks to learning to ride bicycles on the stadium parking lot, families have been a part of Rice and part of the neighborhood for decades.

For more information on the largest academic department at Rice University, visit the Computer Science Department web site: http://cs.rice.edu.