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Growing up in Solid Waste to Becoming a SWANA Member

September 16, 2021

Miranda Rice is a program specialist for the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission (PBRPC). She graduated undergrad from Howard Payne University (HPU) in Brownwood, TX with two degrees: one is Chemistry with a biochemistry concentration and the other is political science through the Honors Academy at HPU. After graduation, Rice applied for the Master of Public Health program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences in Abilene, TX. She received a full scholarship and graduated from TTUHSC with a 4.0 GPA. She was awarded the Outstanding Public Health Student and surprised her family with an award and a speech at graduation. Rice was offered a job with PBRPC before my graduation date, and was very proud of that. She moved to Midland two weeks after graduation and began working with PBRPC on May 17, 2021.

Miranda Rice was also a past recipient of a SWANA scholarship. We talked to Rice to see what the scholarship and the industry means to her. 

  1. What made you want to get into this industry and how did it happen?
    Miranda Rice (MR): Growing up, solid waste was a part of my childhood. Not many kids growing up can say that I don’t think. I grew up looking at gutters, drainage systems, streetlights, potholes…you name it, with my dad. He has had a huge influence on my life, and I am so thankful that he introduced me to all things solid waste. My Dad is one of my all-time favorite people and I would not be where I am today without him! He truly is one of the greatest people I know. He inspired and played a major role in sparking my curiosity for understanding why things work, how things work, and thinking about how to make things work better than they already do. He is the number one reason for my interest in joining this industry.
  2. Tell us about the SWANA Scholarship Program. What was your experience like?

    MR: I am beyond thankful and appreciative for the SWANA Scholarship Program. My experience was awesome. Receiving the scholarship provided assurance and motivation. Knowing there were individuals who were behind me and supporting me, even though they did not know me on a personal level was very encouraging.

  3. What would you say to other students or scholarship applicants who are considering this field?

    MR: I would encourage them to look at the field from all angles. There is something for everyone who has an interest in solid waste. The individuals who are involved with SWANA have such a breadth of knowledge. There are lots of different avenues to pursue within this field. I would encourage individuals that are considering this field to ask questions, do their research, and remain involved! It is important to continue to learn and stay up to date on things even after your time as a scholarship recipient has come to a conclusion.

  4. What are you most looking forward to most when it comes to SWANA and/or SWANA YPs?

    MR: I am looking forward to learning. Growing in my field and learning from other professionals who have a wealth of knowledge. SWANA has an amazing encouraging community filled with individuals who truly care about their fields. Professionals are willing to converse, ask questions, and share information and that is something I am excited to be apart of. I am also excited to meet other SWANA YP’s and grow professional relationships with my peers.

  5. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
    MR: I am extremely proud of how hard I worked in grad school. I graduated with honors and the Outstanding Public Health Student Award. Both are truly great honors. I am also very proud to have received a job offering prior to graduation in a field that focuses on my interests and will help expand my knowledge and skills of those interests. I am so thankful for all of the events in my life that have led me to where I am today! 

Miranda with her father and SWANA Member, Michael Rice

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