Year of Houston

Beginning and ending with epic sporting events played out on a global stage, Houston’s year has been a study in highs and lows. Houstonians overcame one of the worst storms in American history and, resolute and resilient and determined to rebuild, inspired the Astros to World Series glory and emerged themselves as champions. Nodding to 2017, we invited 17 city notables to share personal reflections on the wildly exciting and emotional year.

Editors' Note: This isn’t the first time Houston has been tested by acts of God. In 2017, after we endured Hurricane Harvey and, just a few months later, celebrated the Astros’ winning the World Series, we asked luminaries — including some since passed, like George H.W. Bush and Bob McNair — to comment on the city’s strength, resolve and hopefulness. More than ever, their wise words inspire us.

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Resident Genius

Meet Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum. She’s Rice’s first-ever MacArthur grant winner. But her real claim to fame? Her clever medical inventions might just save your life.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum

On a cool evening at Rice, Rebecca Richards-Kortum is striding across campus from one engagement to another. At 52, with six children including two adopted daughters, Richards-Kortum, a celebrated professor of bioengineering and founder of the Rice 360° Institute for Global Health, is constantly on the move. Tonight, she’s on her way to discuss with Fulbright fellows from around the world the ways that medical researchers can bring innovative, life-saving technology to communities in need. Her presentation will be a version of the TED talk Richards-Kortum has given before, focused on her work in the sub-Saharan nation of Malawi, where widespread infant mortality has been reduced thanks to an affordable breathing device designed by her students.

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An unlikely ambassador of a misunderstood genre, Oceans of Slumber’s Cammie Gilbert is proving her heavy metal.

Julie Soefer

WHEN VOCALIST CAMMIE Gilbert sings, regardless of how vulnerable the lyrics may be, it ultimately sounds like a celebration of strength. Strength, and volume, as in amplitude, for Gilbert happens to be the front woman of the progressive metal band Oceans of Slumber, one of Houston’s most popular, experimental, and critically acclaimed musical exports.

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