Christian Francisco, Rice


Rice University running back Christian Francisco, a redshirt sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, has been named a Military Bowl STEM Scholar-Athlete presented by

Francisco, who is from Rogers, Arkansas, holds a 3.96 grade-point average and is on track to earn his undergraduate degree in three years. He has received the conference commissioner’s academic medal and been named to the conference honor in each of his first two years at Rice. Francisco also is a member of the Rice University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and serves as a peer academic advisor for teammates, tutoring them in math, science and computer science.

While attending Rice, he has worked as a logistics engineering intern at J.B. Hunt Transport and his senior capstone project designed and created a bed-level exercise system for post-operative patients at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Christian Francisco is an outstanding example of everything a scholar-athlete should be,” said Dr. Laura Schaefer, chair of Rice’s department of mechanical engineering. “The mechanical engineering curriculum is incredibly demanding, both in the depth and the breadth of courses required, and Christian has excelled in all of his classes, even managing to finish in fewer than four years. His technical knowledge in the classroom is very strong and he is a frequent and helpful part of class discussions. 

“Christian has also shown himself to be a terrific leader for his peers, building teams and advocating for additional educational opportunities for other students. In summary, Christian Francisco is an intelligent, driven, creative student, with a talent for relating to other people on many levels. These are the qualities that will make him a strong and lasting leader throughout his career.”

The Military Bowl and are proud to announce the members of the third annual Military Bowl STEM Scholar-Athlete Program, recognizing some of the brightest minds taking the football field in the ACC and the American Athletic Conference.

“The Military Bowl STEM Scholar-Athlete Program presented by recognizes some of the brightest minds taking the football field each weekend,” Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “Together with, we commend these student-athletes for their ability to succeed on the field and in the classroom while managing a most challenging course load.”

 The Military Bowl STEM Scholar-Athlete Program honors one football player at each university that is a member of the ACC and the American Athletic Conference – the two conferences that are represented in the Military Bowl college football game. These players are studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects and/or aspire to STEM careers.

“STEM education is the cornerstone of innovation, equipping the next generation with critical thinking skills to tackle global challenges,” said Kiley Wren, co-founder and co-chief executive at BlueForge Alliance, owners and operators of “These courses prepare students for purposeful, high-demand career paths while fostering adaptability, collaboration, and technological literacy. At BlueForge Alliance, empowering individuals with a stable foundation of knowledge pairs directly into our mission of ensuring a resilient and adaptable skilled trades workforce ready to meet the demands of revitalizing our nation’s defense. We’re proud to join the Military Bowl in recognizing outstanding student athletes aiming to make an impact off the field while supporting their fellow students’ pursuits.”