Our Team

Katie Cervenka

Katie CervenkaKatie, 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 AschmannLeah, 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. 

Ashley Booher

Ashley Booher Ashley, Assistant Director, Foundation Relations, joined Rice University in May of 2017. Ashley came to Rice from Texas Tech University where she was an instructor of Anthropology and Archaeology. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Anthropology from Texas Tech in 2010 and 2014, respectively. She is a proud native of Dallas.



Elizabeth Castillo

Elizabeth CastilloElizabeth, Department Coordinator, 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.


Katie Mahoney O'Sullivan

Katie Mahoney O'SullivanKatie, 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.

Marie Olavere

Marie, Development Coordinator for Corporate and Foundation Relations, was raised in Houston and graduated with a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia, where she was introduced to the world of development and advancement as a student. In college, she worked as a guide at Monticello while also volunteering as a representative for the development office. After graduating, she served with AmeriCorps VISTA as the Community Wellness liaison for the development team at the Montrose Center. At Rice, Marie oversees stewardship, including writing acknowledgement letters, preparing endowment and grant reports, and assisting with the production of annual reports for our corporate Presidential Partners. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with close friends and family.

Candice Pauley

Candice PauleyCandice, Assistant Director, Corporate Relations, joined Rice University in December 2017. Candice is new to the world of higher education, but not that of non-profit corporate relations.Candice is a Houston transplant hailing from Southwest Louisiana. After graduate school she volunteered for a summer with Project Concern International (PCI) in Zambia, Africa to help tell the story of PCI through the creation of journalistic and marketing pieces for websites, brochures, and newsletters including work for UNICEF. Before joining OCFR  she was a senior case manager for the Southwest Louisiana AIDS Council for more than four years, assisting indigent HIV/AIDS patients access health care and  social services. While at SLAC, she also took up the mantle as public spokesperson, subject matter expert, and fundraiser. Since moving to Houston, she served as the Manager of Volunteer Programs and Special Events for the non-profit Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition where she took on the roles of grant writer, community and corporate relations specialist, and program manager. Building relationships between public and private entities for mutual interests is her professional passion.Candice holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public relations and mass communication from Northwestern State University and the University of Florida respectively.

Ted Walker

Ted WalkerTed, Associate Director, Foundation Relations, joined the OCFR team in December of 2018. A native Houstonian, Ted spent over six years as a development writer in Development and Alumni Relations, creating proposals, correspondence, student and staff profiles, marketing materials, web stories, reports, and other publications. His previous professional experience includes IT communications at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, customer service communications in the travel industry, and writing for magazines, ecommerce, and blogs. Ted holds a Master in Writing degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a literature degree from Middlebury College in Vermont. In his free time he enjoys podcasting about stationery and spending time with his wife, two kids, and dog.

Jamie Williams

Jamie Williams, Staff Assistant for Corporate and Foundation Relations, was born in New Jersey and raised in East Texas, and she is new to Houston. She graduated with a B.S. degree in Speech Communication from East Texas Baptist University in 2018, and is currently pursuing a M.Ed. in College and University Leadership. During her time in East Texas, Jamie worked in Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, which developed into a passion for higher education. In OCFR, Jamie works with the department coordinators to provide overall administrative support for the team. When she is not working, you can find her exploring the city and visiting local coffee shops with her husband, a native of Houston.