In this video, created by Stanford Athletics, seniors talk about what makes the Farm special to them as athletes and scholars.
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Twelve U.S. journalists and innovators have been awarded John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships for the 2013-14 academic year. They were chosen from among 100 applicants.
“This group of U.S. Knight Fellows is easily the most diversified ever, with fellows coming from daily newspapers, online publications, tech companies and even an academic institution,” said JAMES BETTINGER, director of the Knight Fellowships Program. “This wide range of backgrounds and specialties reflects the variety and depth of expertise and commitment that journalism needs right now.”
The domestic fellows will join eight international fellowswho were selected last month. The program champions innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership in journalism by helping the fellows pursue their ideas to improve the quality of news and information reaching the public. Fellows also participate fully in the intellectual life of the university, through academic classes, lectures, symposiums and individual research.
The 2013-14 fellows will explore proposals that touch on many aspects of journalism: improving accuracy in reporting on Islam, raising the profile of indigenous perspectives on the news, engaging citizens in local food coverage, helping the public better understand data visualization and getting news quickly to communities hit by disaster. They also will be developing tools to help journalists create high-quality animated editorial cartoons, blog live on mobile platforms, gain relevant coding and data skills and better connect with “millennials” and the changing U.S. demographic.
The international fellows were selected from among 216 applicants. They will be researching a range of ideas to improve journalism, from bringing news to Pakistan’s tribal areas and fostering innovation in China and East Africa to training female reporters in Afghanistan and strengthening press freedoms in Myanmar.
To find out more about the 2013-14 fellows and their projects, visit the Knight Fellowships website.
While thousands of Stanford students earn scholarships and have the opportunity to study abroad, for senior MAYA KORNBERG, the awarding of her fellowship to study in Israel this summer was anything but ordinary. “This is an only-at-Stanford kind of morning,” said RABBI SERENA EISENBERG, executive director of Hillel at Stanford. Or as New York Times columnist and author THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN said, “Not many people get a fellowship handed to them by two former secretaries of state.” Not to mention a best-selling author.
At a breakfast gathering at Hillel Thursday morning, Kornberg was awarded the George and Charlotte Shultz Fellowship for Modern Israel Studies from former U.S. Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE. Rice, also a professor of political science and business at Stanford, happened to teach Kornberg in her undergraduate foreign policy seminar winter quarter. Kornberg also received accolades from the namesake of the fellowship, GEORGE SHULTZ, also a former U.S. secretary of state. And Friedman, who established the fellowship in honor of Shultz on the occasion of Shultz’s 90th birthday two years ago, also joined in bestowing the honor.
“This fellowship is an example of what Stanford does best,” Rice said. “Great research universities bring together people from the entire academic spectrum, from 18-year-old freshmen to Nobel laureates, and put them together to instill in all of us a desire to search for the truth.” Despite her many commitments, Rice said she did not hesitate when asked to serve on the Shultz Fellowship review committee: “Anything with George’s name, I pay attention. George is emblematic of a great public servant, and he is also a university person, deeply involved with students. And Tom Friedman, he has helped us see inside this complicated region more clearly than any author or scholar I know.”
Rice, Shultz and Friedman all noted that a visit to Israel is essential for any scholar working to understand the Middle East. Friedman said he established the fellowship in recognition of Shultz’s “tireless efforts to broker Middle East peace,” and that the honor is available to any Stanford student interested in studying Israel or the Arab-Israeli peace process. The Shultzes then added to the fellowship, as did philanthropists LAURA LAUDER and JIM KOSHLAND. (Because of university restrictions on funding research opportunities in Israel while the State Department maintains a travel advisory there, the fellowship fund was established at Hillel at Stanford, which administers the award.)
Last year, the first fellowship was awarded to EMILY WARREN, a joint JD-economics PhD candidate, who used the time to study how Israel’s defense investments in the late 1980s resulted in a tech boom in the early 1990s.
Kornberg, a graduating senior majoring in international relations, intends to use her fellowship to examine Israeli political parties’ campaigns in elections between 1967 and 2013, investigating the platforms and rhetoric on issues relating to the peace process, such as territorial division, the status of Jerusalem and rights of return.
“What I have appreciated most about my Stanford experience is that they just keep throwing these amazing opportunities at you all the time,” said Kornberg, who is the daughter and granddaughter of two Nobel laureates, ROGER KORNBERG and the late ARTHUR KORNBERG. Her proud mother, who was toting a camera Thursday morning, is YAHLI LORCH, associate professor of structural biology.
Maya Kornberg plans to pursue a graduate degree in public policy at Columbia University. But when she returns from Israel, she has a date to meet with Rice, Shultz and Friedman to share what she learned.
When it was time for the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the Palo Alto Weekly to honor outstanding local individuals and organizations with the 2013 Tall Tree Awards, they decided to add another prize to this year’s roster — the Global Impact Award. Stanford President JOHN HENNESSY was selected as its first recipient.
“I am deeply honored to be the first recipient of the Tall Tree Global Impact Award,” Hennessy said at a celebration of the awardees earlier this month. He noted that El Palo Alto, “the tall tree,” is at the center of both the Stanford seal and the City of Palo Alto’s seal.
During his acceptance remarks, Hennessy recognized all of the “incredible people” he’s worked with, particularly faculty and staff, “who are so dedicated to our students.”
“My career and my interests and my family have all been nurtured by this community over the years,” Hennessy continued. “Of course, living in this area I breathed the atmosphere of entrepreneurism that is everywhere and learned about thinking big, swallowing that potion that says you really can change the world and do something remarkable that affects people.
“The symbiotic relationship between the community, the university and the valley has been absolutely crucial to make that happen. One of the reasons we’ve succeeded is not only this inventive atmosphere that exists at the university, but because this is an absolutely delightful place to live. And that’s one of the things that’s really helped us recruit the best and brightest people from around the world.”
Hennessy said that when he and his wife, Andrea, first came to the area in 1977, it was not the world’s technological hub as it is today.
“When I first came, if you wanted to go talk to the movers and shakers in the computer industry, you had to get on a plane and fly to Boston or fly to New York. Now, they all fly here to visit us,” he said.
He reminded the attendees that there remains work to be done in order to ensure that the greater Palo Alto area continues to hold on to its core values: excellence in education; maintaining a vibrant arts community; building a state-of-the-art hospital; and being role models in environmental sustainability.
“I look forward to working with all of you to make sure that our community remains a leader not only in innovation, but also in the quality of life we offer the people who live here,” Hennessy concluded.
Since 1980, the Tall Tree Awards have recognized individuals and organizations that have made “bold and significant contributions to the heart of Palo Alto, while extending influence beyond our local community.”
In addition to the Global Impact Award (which will be awarded periodically, not annually), the 2013 recipients of the annual Tall Tree Awards are:
Outstanding Business: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Outstanding Nonprofit Organization: Breast Cancer Connections
Outstanding Citizen: RAY BACCHETTI, a former vice president for planning and management at Stanford
Outstanding Professional: BECKY BEACOM, health educator for Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Former U.S. Sen. JEFF BINGAMAN, a Stanford Law School alumnus, has joined the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance as a distinguished fellow to develop policies to assist states and local communities in promoting increased use of clean energy.
Currently, 29 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted policies to promote increased generation of electricity from renewable energy sources in the form of Renewable Portfolio Standards. Seven other states have adopted voluntary goals for generation of electricity from renewable sources. Bingaman’s efforts will focus on actions that could be taken to extend and update those policies. His fellowship is made possible by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Bingaman, who spent 30 years in the Senate, championed the Clean Energy Standards Act of 2012, which would have required greater use of low-carbon energy sources. During his tenure, he served as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He also served on the Senate Finance Committee and its Subcommittee on Healthcare and on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; in those committees he was involved in the development of the Affordable Care Act.
Bingaman earned his undergraduate degree in government from Harvard in 1965. He then entered the Stanford Law School, where he met, and later married, fellow law student Anne Kovacovich. After one year as New Mexico assistant attorney general and eight years in private law practice, Bingman was elected attorney general of New Mexico in 1978. In 1982, he won election to the U.S. Senate. He was re-elected to a fifth term in 2006. Bingaman’s seniority, along with his chairmanship of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, allowed him to pursue issues important to New Mexico families and communities.
Read the full story on the Stanford Law School website.
The name WILLIE SHAW has held a special place in collegiate and professional football for decades. Now the former Stanford defensive coordinator will have his name permanently affixed to those who hold his former Stanford title. Last week, Stanford Athletics announced that its defensive coordinator position has been endowed, thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous donor.
“I was emotional when I heard that this endowed directorship was named in my father’s honor,” said current Cardinal Football Head Coach DAVID SHAW.” My dad coached here two separate times, and the thing to me that stands out more than anything is how he impacted the lives of the men he coached here. My entire life, I have heard from the guys he coached here in the ’70s and ’90s how the original Coach Shaw made such a profound impact upon their lives. My dad’s name being associated with the Stanford defensive coordinator to me is associating the position with toughness, intelligence, innovation and the spirit of mentoring young scholar-athletes.”
One of those coaches that Willie Shaw groomed is DEREK MASON, who is in his fourth year coaching at Stanford and his third coordinating the defense. In 1995 Mason had an internship with the St. Louis Rams, where the elder Shaw was that team’s defensive coordinator. Mason will be the first Willie Shaw Director of Defense.
“The honor of being the Willie Shaw Director of Defense has special meaning to me because of how he has believed in and empowered me through a relationship of nearly two decades,” said Mason. “Coach Shaw has profoundly helped foster my growth and understanding in what it takes to lead young men with lessons that extend to, and far beyond, the field of play.”
Willie Shaw did two coaching stints on the Farm – from 1974 to 1976 and from 1989 to 1991. His career also included 15 years in the NFL as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
“It is hard to find the words to express how much I appreciate the Stanford experience which has changed my life and my family’s life for nearly 40 years now,” said the elder Shaw. “To be connected with Stanford Football into perpetuity like this is unbelievable. All of my associations and my family’s associations with Stanford have made us complete and blessed.”
Read the full story on the Athletics website.
Every year, several science agencies work together to select a group of graduate students from around the world to convene for several days of meetings in Lindau, Germany, with all the living Nobel Laureates in their field. The discipline changes from year to year, and this year’s meetings, held from June 30 to July 5, will focus on chemistry, with 35 Nobel laureates and 625 students in attendance.
Among the students chosen to attend the 63rd Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates this summer will be three Stanford chemistry graduate students: DAPHNE CHE, STEPHEN FRIED and DIANE WU. Stanford Nobel laureates STEVEN CHU (physics, 1997) and BRIAN KOBILKA (chemistry, 2012) also are scheduled to attend.
Che is a fourth-year graduate student in physical chemistry who works in Assistant Professor BIANXIAO CUI’s group, investigating the mechanism of axonal transport in neurons using fluorescence microscopy. Axonal transport is a fundamental and complex process linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease. A deeper understanding of the axonal transport mechanism could lead to the prevention and cure of neurodegenerative diseases.
Fried is a chemistry PhD candidate in the biophysical lab of Professor STEVEN BOXER. His research aims to understand what physically goes on inside an enzyme and figure out how it catalyzes chemical reactions at such mind-boggling speed. This could lead to a better understanding of what makes life possible at a molecular level, and inform how one might go about designing novel enzymes that carry out new biological functions. The latter will likely have significant consequences for medicine and the environment in the future.
Wu is a third-year PhD student studying new materials for solar cells with Assistant Professor JENNIFER DIONNE and Associate Professor ALBERTO SALLEO, both of the Materials Science and Engineering Department. Photovoltaic cells can only collect light that is above a certain minimum threshold energy; any light below that threshold passes through the cell and is “wasted.” Wu is currently working on constructing a back electrode that will absorb this so-called below-band gap light, upconvert it to useful energy and then scatter this light back into the active layer of a solar cell. She also is interested in the synthesis of novel upconverters for photovoltaic applications.
Excerpted from the Athletics website.
Academics and athletics are cornerstones of the Stanford experience. But equally important to some scholar-athletes is a resource sometimes overlooked: Stanford Hospital. It’s what helped sell ALYSSA WISDOM and may have saved her life.
A senior from Coral Springs, Fla., Wisdom suffered from hypertension and a heart condition growing up and was easily fatigued. She saw dozens of doctors, but wasn’t properly diagnosed until she arrived at Stanford in 2010 to compete on the track and field team.
An accomplished sprinter, Wisdom came to the Farm seeking track success and answers to her health problems and found both.
As a freshman in 2010, Wisdom finished fourth in the 100 and seventh in the 200 in the Big Meet. But it would be the last time she sprinted for the Cardinal. Doctors diagnosed her with a rare condition called congenital hypertrophic cardiac myopathy, and said the strenuous training could lead to a stroke or heart attack.
“It was hard because freshman year you are going through so many changes,” she said. “To get everything thrown at me at once … it was a lot to deal with. I actually didn’t know where to start. My life had just fallen apart.”
So Wisdom did what she has always done: leaned on her mother, Yvet, a registered nurse, and older brother, George, for guidance and support.
As a senior in high school, Wisdom threw the shot put at the district meet—just to score points for her team—and wound up leading her team to victory with a winning toss of 32-3½. She had no plans to throw in college until doctors told her to stop sprinting.
“What I lack in size, I make up for in strength because I am very, very strong,” she laughed. “I may not have the size of other shot putters, but I’ve got the muscles.”
With encouragement and instruction from the Cardinal coaching staff, Wisdom improved quickly and won the shot put at the Big Meet in 2011 with an outdoor season-best throw of 48-3½. She also placed fourth in the hammer throw.
Last year, she recorded the fifth-best indoor showing in school history by putting the shot 50-8¾ in the MPSF Championships. During the outdoor season, Wisdom placed third in the Pac-12 Championships at 51-6½.
Continuing to refine her technique, she produced a personal-best 55-8¼ at the 2013 MPSF Indoors and qualified for her first NCAA Championships.
“Obviously, she is very gifted strength-wise, very explosive and very quick,” said MICHELLE EISENREICH, associate head coach and throws coach at Stanford. “I think the other thing that’s impressive is just her ability to focus in and make technical adjustments and changes. She’s really become a good student of the event.”
That’s not surprising considering Wisdom earned Pac-12 All-Academic second-team honors last year and was named to the USTFCCA All-Academic team. Wisdom is majoring in psychology and minoring in Italian.
“My concentration is mind, culture and society, which is multi-culturalism,” she said. “I’m doing lab research on how being from different backgrounds can be a positive thing.”
Wisdom, who will return to Stanford next year to complete a co-terminal degree in psychology and has one year of eligibility remaining, is making the most of her experience. She started working in a homeless shelter in Florida during grade school and returns every summer. Through Stanford, Wisdom has volunteered in Italy and India, the latter a two-month service for female abandonment through the Haas Center for Public Service.
“I love this institution,” said Wisdom. “I’ve gotten to explore all of my interests, and the resources at this school are unsurpassed. That’s the reason I’ve been able to go abroad and expand my research past the confines of my country’s borders. I’m pretty sure when I leave Stanford, I’m going to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.”
It’s hard to imagine any scholar-athlete who appreciates Stanford more than Wisdom. She has given back as much as she has taken, proving resilient every step of the way.
“Sometimes you take an ideal path to get to your ultimate goal, and sometimes it’s very hard to see that things will work out in the end,” said Wisdom. “But they do.”
Read the full story by MARK SOLTAU on the Stanford Athletics website.
Physics Professor STEVEN KAHN has been named director of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project. He will assume the post July 1 and will retain his affiliation with SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford.
LSST is billed on its website as the “widest, fastest, deepest eye of the new digital age.” The project is currently in the final stages of its design and development. The telescope will be located in Chile.
By digitally imaging the sky for a decade, the LSST will drive advances in big-data science and computing and create opportunities for transformative education in science, technology and mathematics.
“Steve brings a unique blend of relevant management and scientific experience to this position. He will inherit a strong team and will lead LSST into the construction phase,” said WILLIAM SMITH, president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), who made the announcement last week.
DAVID MACFARLANE, director of SLAC Particle Physics and Astrophysics, and chair of the LSST Corporation board of directors, said, “Steve Kahn brings an outstanding breadth of scientific credentials in assuming the LSST director role, along with tremendous project leadership and management experience.” He added that Kahn is uniquely positioned with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy to take on the directorship as the project makes the all-important transition to construction.
Read the full announcement from AURA.
USUA AMANAM is one of only a dozen or so undergraduates majoring in Energy Resources Engineering, a department in the School of Earth Sciences that examines energy production and conservation.
The Stanford senior whose interception with two minutes left in the 2013 Rose Bowl Game sealed Stanford’s 20-14 victory over Wisconsin earned hardware as the Defensive Player of the game. But he not only knows how to read a quarterback’s eyes, he knows how to infer the makeup of the subsurface by drilling an exploration well.
Amanam, whose first name is pronounced OOS wah, has a passion for football, and he dreams of playing in the NFL. “I’d love to make millions of dollars running around with a football in my hands,” he laughed.
But he’s been one of the smallest players on every one of his teams since the fourth grade, and at 5’10′ and 176 pounds, he’s a realist.
“There’s a low probability that an NFL career is going to happen for most college football players,” he said. “That’s the reason I chose Stanford. If the football route doesn’t work out, I’ll have a Stanford degree to fall back on.”
Amanam’s sheepskin from ERE will leave him well positioned for a job in the oil and gas industry, which doesn’t typically draw much interest from undergraduates, particularly ones with their eyes on a career in professional football. How is it that it calls to Amanam?
“My family is originally from Nigeria,” explained Amanam, who said his interest in oil was piqued by a 2007 article in National Geographic called “Curse of the Black Gold.”
“Oil was found in Nigeria in the late 1950s and the 1960s,” Amanam said, “and it was a way for a developing country like Nigeria to become truly relevant in the world today. The National Geographic writer basically detailed what Nigeria has gone through in terms of the oil industry and how it has caused more trouble and more strife than the good it was supposed to. Reading that article and understanding how much a properly working petroleum industry could really jump-start a country economically and socially is what attracted me to ERE.”
RICHARD NEVLE, director of undergraduate programs for the School of Earth Sciences, has known Amanam since both were at Bellarmine Prep in San Jose – Nevle as a science teacher and Amanam as an honors student.
“Usua was a rock star as a high school football player, a superstar,” Nevle said. “He has legs that are steel springs and he’s a very gifted sprinter.”
Stanford’s head football coach, David Shaw, was the team’s offensive coordinator when the Cardinal recruited Amanam.
“We get lots of mail and email about high school players, but we got a lot about Usua in particular,” Shaw said. “That he was bright and engaging as a student and that he was a dynamic football player as well. Everyone said he was the kind of kid who should go to Stanford.”
ROLAND HORNE, professor of energy resources engineering, says that after a sharp drop in oil prices in the mid-1980s and the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989, undergraduate interest in petroleum engineering evaporated. Over one 10-year stretch, Stanford did not award a single bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering.
In 2006, the School of Earth Sciences changed the name of its Department of Petroleum Engineering to Energy Resources Engineering, reflecting its expansion into research and embracing additional forms of energy, such as geothermal and renewables; a changing energy landscape; and society’s changing energy needs and environmental concerns.
“It sounds cliché,” Amanam said, “but what really interested me about ERE is I’ve always wanted to do something that carried a lot of weight and meant something, to do something that could change the world. My sophomore year, I took a class called Energy 101 from my current adviser, energy resources engineering Professor TONY KOVSCEK. It sparked my interest in understanding how the oil and gas industry affects everything we do in our life, socially, economically and culturally. It’s the linchpin to the world we live in today.”
Amanam’s passion for his academic calling is not lost on others. “I go to a lot of events to which I bring students as emissaries,” Nevle said. “Usua is very effective at communicating what the ERE major has to offer students in a personal and compelling way. He has a charisma about him, a stage presence. When he speaks, people want to listen.”
You can hear Amanam in his own words in a video produced in a partnership between the School of Earth Sciences and Athletics.
Read BRUCE ANDERSON‘s full profile of Amanam on the School of Earth Sciences website.