Our Team


Katie Cervenka

Katie, Assistant Vice President, Corporate and Foundation Relations, began her development career in 1985 at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California where she held various positions over 11 years including as director of development overseeing school-based officers, foundation relations, and annual giving. She also worked for four years at the Austin Children’s Museum as director of development and marketing. Katie holds a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Iowa, where she took a lot of science classes and majored in art history. She holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the LBJ School at UT Austin where she studied environmental policy and wrote her thesis on the uses of alternative dispute resolution in state government. She joined Rice University as director of foundation relations in 2000, became executive director of corporate and foundation relations in March 2008, and became assistant vice president in 2016. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Austin, Texas.

Leah Aschmann

Leah, Associate Director, Corporate Relations, joined Rice University in 2011. She was previously part of the constituent strategy team, working with donors and colleagues on all matters regarding stewardship and donor relations, and joined OCFR in late 2014. Prior to coming to Rice, Leah spent time in Washington, DC working in the international policy realm, and six years at the Greater Houston Partnership, where she assisted companies looking to relocate to or expand in the Houston area. She also worked at the non-profit Neighborhood Centers, Inc. implementing grass-roots economic development in lower income neighborhoods across our region. Leah is a Houston native and holds a bachelor of arts in international studies and Spanish from Southwestern University, and a master’s degree in international affairs- Latin American studies from Ohio University. 

Trisha Ball

Trisha Ball, Assistant Director, Foundation Relations, joined OCFR in May 2016 after spending two years as a development research analyst at Rice.  Previously, she was a foundation and government grants writer at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and held positions in communications and foundation relations at Stanford.  Trisha has an A.B. in English and American literature and language from Harvard, a Master of Liberal Arts from Stanford, and a Master of Library Science from the University of North Texas.  Trisha hails from upstate New York.

Elizabeth Castillo

Elizabeth, Department Coordinator of Corporate and Foundation Relations, joined Rice University in May 1998. She held positions within the Department of Resource Development and the Office of Admissions. Prior to coming to Rice, Elizabeth was employed with the City of Houston, Department of Health and Human Services for 8 years. She is a proud native of Lubbock, Texas.


Emily Darling

Emily, Assistant Director, Corporate Relations, joined the OCFR team as a Development Coordinator in June 2014.  Before coming to Rice, Emily worked at the national non-profit Genesys Works, which prepares low-income high school students for corporate internships in STEM fields and success in college.  After two years of account management and working directly with students throughout Houston, she moved into development and fundraising for the organization.  Emily graduated from Washington and Lee University where she majored in Business Administration with special attainments in commerce and minored in Poverty and Human Capablity.

Margaret Guerrero

Margaret, Associate Director, Foundation Relations, joined the OCFR team in 2013. Before coming to Rice, Margaret worked for a public affairs consulting firm in its research division and in fundraising for former Houston Mayor Bill White.  Margaret holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from UT Austin and a master’s in public affairs from the LBJ School at UT Austin, where she focused on education policy and nonprofit management. While in graduate school, Margaret worked as a research fellow for the Meadows Foundation, a large private foundation based in Dallas, Texas.  Margaret was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Dallas.

Katie Mahoney O'Sullivan

Katie Mahoney O’Sullivan, Corporate Data and Research Analyst, joined both the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (OCFR) and the Office of Research (OR) in December 2016.  A geophysicist by training, Katie came to Rice after 10 years in the oil and gas industry—most recently with Schlumberger.  Her experience includes processing seismic data, performing market analysis, and training colleagues in the industry.  Katie holds a B.S. in Physics from Notre Dame, and completed graduate level coursework in Physics at Duke.  In her role, Katie will be working to develop internal data systems and analytical tools to support Rice’s efforts to build effective corporate partnerships.