34,000 strong

Sharena Rice ’15, Ph.D.

Outstanding Young Alumni

Featured photo for Sharena Rice ’15, Ph.D.

From CLU to the Cutting-Edge of Neurotechnology
Sharena Rice, Ph.D., is a scientist helping to shape the trajectory of startups on the leading edge of technology. As an undergraduate in the honors program at Cal Lutheran, Dr. Rice relished the challenging and thought-provoking curriculum she found in courses like organic chemistry, quantitative analysis, and philosophy. As a biochemistry and molecular biology major—with minors in psychology and philosophy—Dr. Rice began to carve out a path towards the intersection of neuroscience, technology, and entrepreneurship.

“My experiences at CLU allowed me to develop the critical thinking skills and resourcefulness needed to move ideas into action—the kind of action that can truly benefit people,” said Dr. Rice.

Since graduating from Cal Lutheran with University and Departmental Honors in 2015, Dr. Rice has drawn on her expertise in these varied fields to advise tech startups and for research and development in neurotechnology.

Applying Neuroscience to Technology’s Greatest Challenges
Dr. Rice holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Michigan, where she grew as a scientist and entrepreneur. She earned the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in 2022. During her studies, Dr. Rice lived in a Buddhist temple for two years, a profound experience that fostered a sense of personal and spiritual growth that guides her approach to life and work. Waking up at 5:30 AM each day, then meditating, holding thoughtful conversations, and living with people of different generations brought about changes within Dr. Rice from intellectual levels of understanding to intuitive levels of understanding about how to integrate the fields of science, technology, and philosophy.

Professionally, Dr. Rice was a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Intvo, when it was producing computer vision solutions in the automotive space. She has lent her expertise as Scientific Advisor to Valence Vibrations, Advising Consultant to Nobody Studios, and Contributing Editor to Neurotech Reports. Her work includes characterizing a newly-discovered brain wave called “splines”, tracing neural circuits, improving safety through autonomous vehicle technology, and strategizing wearable tech that helps people interpret emotions. Her primary focus is scientific research at a medical neurotechnology startup operating in stealth mode. Dr. Rice is driven to build solutions that work well for all kinds of minds.