Many Rice undergraduate students participate in research during the summer. Some students work in labs at Rice or other institutions in the Houston area, while others participate in formal summer programs like the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate (NSF-REU) programs.
If you are already working with a research group, talk to your research advisor about continuing over the summer. This is also a good time to ask if there is summer funding available for undergraduate research in their lab group or if they would be willing to assist you as you apply for summer funding for your research.
While most Natural Sciences undergraduate students receive course credit for research during the academic year, many are able to be paid for their research work during the summer. Many Natural Sciences departments have funds available to support summer undergraduate research, and additional University sources for funding include the Owl-Edge Summer Experience Fund and the OURI Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
If you want to apply to formal summer programs, follow your interests! Select a few programs in which multiple participating faculty are in your interest area. Programs may allow you to express a preference for a particular faculty member, but usually won't guarantee placement with a particular professor. Summer programs require recommendations from faculty, so you will want to plan ahead, apply to a modest number of programs and ask recommenders who can speak to your interests in research, your work ethic, your performance in science courses and/or your intellectual curiosity.