Knight-Hennessy Scholars program announces new cohort
The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program has announced the selection of a diverse third cohort, whose members represent 26 countries. They will pursue a wide range of graduate degrees in 39 programs at Stanford.
The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program has announced its newest cohort, which includes four students who earned undergraduate degrees and six who completed or are currently working toward graduate degrees at Stanford. One student has earned both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at Stanford.
Those students will join the program’s most diverse cohort yet. The 2020 Scholars come from 26 countries and represent 50 institutions, 16 of which are international. Fifty-one percent are women, 18 percent are the first in their families to attend a four-year college and 8 percent are serving in the United States military.
They will pursue graduate degrees at all seven of Stanford’s schools, with 26 percent working toward degrees in Humanities and Sciences; 22 percent in Engineering; 17 percent in Business; 16 percent in Medicine; 13 percent in Law; 3 percent in Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences; and 3 percent in Education. Knight-Hennessy Scholars receive funding for graduate study at Stanford.
“Their intellectual ability, diversity of backgrounds and experiences, and commitment to a better world give me much-needed hope in this challenging time, as the world faces its first true pandemic in 100 years,” said John Hennessy, Stanford president emeritus and the Shriram Family Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.
The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, whose hub is Denning House, cultivates a diverse, multidisciplinary community of emerging leaders from around the world and guides them to collaborate, innovate and communicate as they prepare to address the complex challenges facing society.
See the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program press release.
Following are the scholars affiliated with Stanford.
Theodora Bruun of Helsinki, Finland, is currently pursuing an MD at Stanford School of Medicine. In the fall, she will begin pursuing a PhD in biochemistry at the School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of Toronto with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and human biology and a minor in Italian, and earned a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Oxford. Bruun aspires to work in the fields of protein engineering and immunology to create vaccines against viruses contributing to the global health burden, including influenza and HIV. She was formerly a competitive gymnast and varsity rugby player and has worked for national and local organizations aimed at improving access to education and health literacy. Her research has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals. Bruun is the recipient of a Clarendon Fund scholarship and the University of Toronto’s John H. Moss Scholarship.
Robert Chun of Oak Brook, Illinois, will pursue a joint degree program with a JD at Stanford Law School and a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He graduated from Stanford University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Chun aspires to build organizations that advance economic opportunity and civic renewal in the United States. Previously, he worked on strategy and finance at X, formerly known as Google X, where he helped grow Alphabet’s portfolio of early-stage moonshots. He started his career at the Bridgespan Group as a strategy consultant for nonprofits, impact investors and philanthropists. At Stanford, Chun served as the chair of Stanford in Government and on the Presidential Search Committee that selected Marc Tessier-Lavigne as Stanford’s 11th president. In 2016, he received the J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for outstanding service to the university.
Jordan Conger of Bend, Oregon, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. In the fall, he will pursue a master’s degree in environment and resources at the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. He graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics. Conger aspires to help shape energy and climate solutions and to eventually return to public service. He worked in politics and government for nine years in a variety of roles ranging from campaign manager to chief of staff. During this time, he developed legislation to launch central Oregon’s first four-year university, enhance whistleblower protections for government workers and allow women to purchase birth control without a doctor’s prescription, making Oregon the first state in the country to remove this barrier to access.
Madeline “Maya” DiRado Andrews from Santa Rosa, California, graduated from Stanford in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in management science and engineering. In the fall, she will pursue a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. DiRado Andrews aspires to increase the availability and impact of financing for clean energy and technologies to accelerate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. She worked at King Philanthropies, supporting the expansion of the grant-making portfolio addressing international extreme poverty and the creation of the organization’s climate strategy. She also worked as a business analyst at McKinsey and Co. DiRado Andrews is a two-time Olympic gold medalist as a swimmer for Team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. She was also a two-time NCAA champion competing for the Cardinal. She serves on the board of directors for USA Swimming, the sport’s national governing body.
Ali Malik from Islamabad, Pakistan, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Stanford in 2019. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in computer science at the School of Engineering where he will also pursue a PhD in computer science in the fall. Malik aspires to improve the accessibility and quality of education using novel computational techniques such as deep learning. He wants to improve the theoretical understanding underlying modern machine learning algorithms to improve their reliability and effectiveness in the real world. Malik served as an assistant and lecturer during his undergraduate studies. He is also a co-creator of BlueBook, a platform for administering computerized examinations that has been used by more than 15,000 students at Stanford.
Neil Rens from San Diego, California, is currently pursuing an MD at the School of Medicine. In the fall, he will pursue a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in health economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Rens aspires to advance health equity through policy reforms and delivery system innovation. At Johns Hopkins, he focused on patient-facing devices that democratize medicine and was part of a team that was a finalist for the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. He spent time fixing medical equipment in Rwanda with Engineering World Health and co-founded a medical hackathon called MedHacks. Rens was also named a Fulbright Scholar.
Ariadne “Olivia” Rosenthal from New York, New York, is currently pursuing a JD at Stanford Law School. In the fall, she will pursue a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Rosenthal aspires to work with cities to improve access to reproductive care and housing. She has worked as a consultant at the New York Attorney General’s office on contraception access and at Women on Web, a nonprofit providing abortion access globally. She wrote a research report on the eviction crisis in Richmond, Virginia, and then worked with the city on a task force. Rosenthal is a fellow at Stanford’s Legal Design Lab, where she has helped rewrite eviction summons in Ohio to reduce the default rate. She is working with the lab and the National League of Cities to bring together city leaders to address the eviction crisis.
Andrej Safundzic of Bad Reichenhall, Germany, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in computer science at the School of Engineering. In the fall, he will pursue a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He graduated from the Technical University of Munich with bachelor’s degrees in computer science and business. Safundzic aspires to use technology for the public good. He founded Tech4Germany, Germany’s technology task force under Federal Chief of Staff Helge Braun and established two startups in East Africa. Safundzic received the 40 Under 40 award from Capital as the youngest person on the list. In 2019, he was named #1 Entrepreneur to Watch in the Policy & Social category by Business Punk.
Camila Strassle from Pasadena, California, graduated from Stanford in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in human biology and a minor in philosophy. In the fall, she will pursue a JD at Stanford Law School. Strassle aspires to contribute to the fields of bioethics, health law and policy and to explore the ethics of emerging technologies. At Stanford, she was a public interest law fellow, mental health peer counselor and co-founder of a patient-run research advisory committee. She was a bioethics research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, has presented at the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference, and has published articles in William & Mary Law Review, Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research and Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. At Stanford, she also won the Lyle and Olive Cook Prize for her research at the Center for Ethics in Society.
Maya Varma from Cupertino, California, is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in electrical engineering. In the fall, she will pursue a PhD in computer science at the School of Engineering. Varma aspires to develop artificial intelligence techniques to address global healthcare challenges. As a researcher at the Wall Lab, she devised machine learning methodologies for improving the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. At the Stanford Center for AI in Medicine and Imaging, she created a deep learning system for identifying abnormalities in X-rays. Varma’s research has led to multiple first-author publications and one patent. She has received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the Coca-Cola Scholarship, the Terman Award for Scholastic Achievement and the Dr. Bart Kamen FIRST Scholarship. She won first place at the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, and has presented her research at the White House to President Obama.
Darion Wallace from Inglewood, California, earned a master’s degree in international education policy analysis from Stanford in 2018 and a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and African American studies from the University of California, Berkeley. In the fall, he will pursue a PhD in race, inequality and language in education at Stanford Graduate School of Education. Wallace aspires to investigate how the organizational features of primary and secondary schools serve as a socializing agent to shape and inform black students’ racial and political identities. He worked as a research and policy associate at the Learning Policy Institute, where he supported the Educator Preparation Laboratory by centering equity, deeper learning and the whole child framework. He lectured at San Francisco State University within the Africana Studies department. Wallace is a recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship.