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During this period, Rice was also appointed to the boards of Transamerica Corporation (1991) and Hewlett-Packard (1992).At Stanford, in 1992, Rice volunteered to serve on the search committee to replace outgoing president Donald Kennedy.
She was a specialist on the Soviet Union and gave lectures on the subject for the Berkeley-Stanford joint program led by UC Berkeley Professor George Breslauer in the mid-1980s. Bush, Scowcroft returned to the White House as National Security Adviser in 1989, and he asked Rice to become his Soviet expert on the United States National Security Council. Nicholas Burns, President Bush was "captivated" by Rice, and relied heavily on her advice in his dealings with Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.
At a 1985 meeting of arms control experts at Stanford, Rice's performance drew the attention of Brent Scowcroft, who had served as National Security Advisor under Gerald Ford. Because she would have been ineligible for tenure at Stanford if she had been absent for more than two years, she returned there in 1991. Shultz (Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989), who was a fellow at the Hoover Institution.
She would also study Russian at Moscow State University in the summer of 1979, and intern with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. Her dissertation centered on military policy and politics in what was then the communist state of Czechoslovakia.
The award granted a year-long fellowship at Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or University of California, Los Angeles.
Rice was a Democrat until 1982, when she changed her political affiliation to Republican, in part because she disagreed with the foreign policy of Democratic President Jimmy Carter, and because of the influence of her father, who was Republican.