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The moment that Joshua Rios ’20 walks into the greenhouse, he is happy. The glass-ensconced classroom at the top of the John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Center–North is climbing with lush foliage. “Seeing all the green lets me know the plants are healthy,” Rios says. The Biology major is studying essential oil production in peppermint plants under the guidance of Professor of Biology Bill Quinn.

“I’m really interested in the genetic aspect of a plant,” Rios says. “I want to be a geneticist or developmental biologist, which is something I never saw people become growing up in San Antonio.” Rios says that it’s Quinn who’s pushed him to think more broadly about career options, as well as his own capabilities.

“Sometimes I’ll come across words or methods I don’t understand, and Professor Quinn will guide me enough to figure it out. Then, boom! I’ve learned it on my own,” Rios says. “That helps me be more independent and prepared for how life will be after I graduate.”

Outside of the greenhouse, Rios explores his other passion of photography as the co-founder of MUSE, a student organization he started with his best friend Jacob Gonzalez ’20. “Our main goal is to have more of a unified space for people to create,” Rios says. “Anyone from any major can join, and any idea is welcome.” 

Rios says he doesn’t have to choose between exploring art or science at St. Edward’s, and he combines his passions when he can, taking photos of his progress in the research lab. “Both are an important part of my life,” he says.


In the Natural Science Center’s greenhouse, Rios combines his passons for science and art by photographing the progress of his research.


During a break between his morning classes, Rios stops by Meadows Coffeehouse on campus for a chat with friends.


“I love science as much as photography, and not many people get the opportunity to do both,” says Rios, as he reflects on his day. 


Rios co-founded MUSE, a student organization that gives artists a place to collaborate and present their work to other students.

Learn more about the Biology major. 

By Erica Quiroz MLA ’18
Photography by Whitney Devin ’10
Videography by Morgan Printy MLA ’17