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Six Stanford affiliates named 2023 Hertz Fellows

The fellowship supports outstanding doctoral students in applied science, engineering, and mathematics.

Four Stanford students and two alumni are among the 15 recipients of 2023 Hertz Fellowships.

The Hertz Fellowship provides five years of graduate school funding for doctoral students in applied science, engineering, and mathematics. It is awarded by The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, a nonprofit organization empowering promising innovators in science and technology.

Following are the 2023 Hertz Fellows affiliated with Stanford.

Jeffrey Brown (Image credit: Courtesy The Hertz Foundation)

Jeffrey Brown graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and master’s degrees in computer science and in electrical engineering. He is currently a doctoral student in electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brown is interested in developing novel computational and biological tools for seeing and controlling biological systems, as well as creating new computational methods to find the hidden principles in the data.

Freja Ekman (Image credit: Courtesy The Hertz Foundation)

Freja Ekman is an MD and PhD student in genetics at Stanford School of Medicine, as well as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Ekman is interested in engineering novel gene therapies to target rare genetic diseases and using computational genomics to better characterize them. She is working with Professor Matthew Porteus to develop CRISPR/Cas9-based gene therapies to target hematopoietic diseases and create new cancer immunotherapies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in translational biomedical research from the University of Cambridge where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar.

Isabel Orlanes Gallegos (Image credit: Courtesy The Hertz Foundation)

Isabel Orlanes Gallegos is a coterminal Stanford student who will receive joint BS and MS degrees in computer science, as well as a minor in education, from Stanford this spring. In the fall, she will begin her doctoral studies in computer science at Stanford School of Engineering as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Gallegos works as a research assistant in the Stanford Regulation, Evaluation and Governance Lab (RegLab), where she studies the encoding of race and ethnicity in health care data. She has been awarded two patents and received national computing awards for her work.

Anna Soper (Image credit: Courtesy The Hertz Foundation)

Anna Soper is a first-year Stanford doctoral student studying applied physics. She is an experimental physicist designing unconventional optical cavities for the development of scalable cold atom-based quantum systems with strong atom-light interactions. She currently works with Professor Jonathan Simon to design a system of microcavity arrays that will enable the pursuit of new regimes for quantum networking, active quantum error correction, and quantum simulation. In 2022, Soper received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Harvey Mudd College, where she was president of Harvey Mudd’s Women in Physics group.

Benjamin Spector (Image credit: Courtesy The Hertz Foundation)

Benjamin Spector is a Stanford doctoral student studying computer science whose work straddles systems and machine learning. He is creating new methods and architectures for robust and transparent artificial intelligence while enabling adoption by a growing scientific and engineering community. Spector received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics and a master’s degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Beatriz Yankelevich (Image credit: Courtesy The Hertz Foundation)

Beatriz Yankelevich received a bachelor’s in engineering physics with a concentration in quantum science and engineering from Stanford in 2021. She is currently a doctoral student in the Engineering Quantum Systems Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She researches waveguide quantum electrodynamics with the goal of developing a modular quantum computing architecture and hopes to pursue a career in academia, researching quantum computing. At Stanford, Yankelevich founded the Stanford Program for Inspiring the Next Generation of Women in Physics, a free, virtual summer program for high school-age women from underrepresented backgrounds interested in physics.

Over the last 60 years, the foundation has supported the studies and research of more than 1,200 Hertz Fellows. Among them are two Nobel laureates; recipients of 10 Breakthrough Prizes and three MacArthur Foundation “genius awards.” Other fellows have gone on to become winners of the Turing Award, the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Technology, the National Medal of Science, and the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award.

In addition, 51 Hertz Fellows are members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and 36 are fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hertz Fellows hold over 3,000 patents, have founded more than 375 companies, and have created hundreds of thousands of science and technology jobs.