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2,421 Stanford alumni and guests connected on campus, and 362 Connectors helped make it happen.

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We hope you learned and shared a lot at Stanford+Connects. 

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The event may be over but your new connections have only just begun. Explore the many ways you can keep learning from, and connecting with, your Stanford community.

Schedule - Saturday, May 21, 2016

12:30 p.m.


Check in, grab coffee and a snack, and engage with your new classmates and interactive exhibits.

1:15 p.m.


1:30 p.m.


Howard E. Wolf, ’80, Vice President for Alumni Affairs and President, Stanford Alumni Association

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Howard has led the Stanford Alumni Association and its staff since 2001. He earned his bachelor's degree in psychology, with distinction, from Stanford in 1980 and his MBA from Harvard in 1985. Before his appointment as Vice President for Alumni Affairs and President, Stanford Alumni Association, he worked as both an entrepreneur and business manager in the publishing and commercial real estate development and management industries. An active alum and volunteer, as well as an avid Stanford athletics fan, he received the Stanford Associates Outstanding Achievement Award in 2000. In addition to his Alumni Association role, Howard is one of eight officers of the University and part of its senior management team, with particular responsibility for advising the University's president and the provost on alumni affairs.


John L. Hennessy, President, Stanford University

Before stepping down after 16 years of remarkable service, the President of Stanford University shares his thoughts on Stanford and answers your questions in a conversation moderated by Howard Wolf.

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President of Stanford University since 2000, John L. Hennessy is the inaugural holder of the Bing Presidential Professorship. He joined the faculty in 1977 and since then has served as chair of computer science, dean of the School of Engineering and provost. A pioneer in computer architecture, his technology revolutionized the computer industry by increasing performance while reducing costs. He has lectured and published widely and co-authored two textbooks on computer architecture design. Dr. Hennessy has received numerous honors, including the 2000 IEEE John von Neumann Medal, a 2004 NEC C&C Prize for lifetime achievement in computer science and engineering, a 2005 Founders Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the 2012 IEEE Medal of Honor, IEEE's highest award.

2:15 p.m.


Dan Klein, ’90, is a lecturer in theater and performance studies and at the Graduate School of Business, and a teacher at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.

Meet your host for the day! Dan will help you rediscover the power of play by taking you through a couple of exercises with the Stanford Improvisers.

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Klein’s teaching taps into improvisation, design thinking and high-performance communication to help adults access their childlike creative reserves. A longtime improv instructor of beginning and advanced improvisation, he has helped create student groups including the Robber Barons (original sketch comedy), the Flying Treehouse (children’s theater) and Stanford Improvisors, an improv troupe that has performed on campus and in the community for 25 years.

Micro Lectures

Bite-sized lectures crafted just for the Bay Area.

Preventing Dementia and Maintaining Cognitive Health

Frank M. Longo is The George and Lucy Becker Professor and chair of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University.

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Professor Longo directs the Alzheimer's Translational Research Center, a program creating new approaches to Alzheimer’s detection, prevention and treatment. He also provides care for patients with dementia and has worked to develop outstanding training programs for medical students and resident physicians with Stanford students rating neurology as the top educational experience in their clinical training. He is the inaugural winner of the Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer's Drug Discovery, the first prize to recognize researchers working in Alzheimer’s disease drug development.

The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge and the Future of California Drought

Daniel Swain, PhD ’16, is currently wrapping up his PhD in Earth system science.

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Daniel’s research focuses on the ways in which global warming is influencing the likelihood of extreme climate events—including the ongoing California drought. A Bay Area native and long-time weather watcher, he received an Atmospheric Science degree from the University of California, Davis in 2011. Daniel is also an active science communicator—authoring the widely-read California Weather Blog and frequently engaging in conversations with local, national, and international news media regarding climate change and extreme weather.

How Culture Influences Emotion

Jeanne Tsai, ’91, is an associate professor of psychology, director of Asian American studies and director of the Culture and Emotion Lab.

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Professor Tsai’s research focuses on how cultural ideas and practices shape feelings, identities, and mental health across the lifespan. At Stanford, she teaches courses on personality, culture and social relationships and culture and emotion. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation. In 2009, Professor Tsai received the Stanford Asian American Community Faculty Award and in 2006, the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

"Gravity," Stanford’s 72-Hour Musical

Experience a performance from Gravity, a new musical written by Joel Chapman, ’14, MA ’15, Weston Gaylord, ’15, Matt Herrero, ’17, Jessia Hoffman, ’15, and Ken Savage ’14, MA ’15 as part of Stanford Art Institute's first 72-Hour Musical Project. This performance also features Hannah Hsieh, ’17, and Max Savage, ’16.

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When modern-day physicist Sophie travels back in time to 1666, she accidentally prevents young Isaac Newton from having his famous falling-apple epiphany, setting history dangerously off course. Infusing hilarious historical sendup with the sexy sounds of 2016, Gravity is a fresh and delightful story of romance, time travel, feminism, and the art of science, featuring our favorite Enlightenment icons Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Margaret Cavendish, King Louis XIV, Edmund Halley, and more! Gravity is being further developed with the support of San Francisco-based Encore Theatre Company and Z Space.

Democratizing Science to Educate Every Kid in the World

Manu Prakash is an assistant professor in bioengineering.

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Professor Prakash leads a curiosity-driven research group focused on technological interventions in extremely resource-poor settings and tackling global public health problems. A physicist and a prolific inventor, his inventions include a 50-cent “print-and-fold” paper microscope, a $5 chemistry lab, a computer that works by moving water droplets in a magnetic field, and Oscan, a 3-D printed smartphone add-on that helps diagnose oral carcinomas responsible for 40% of cancer-related deaths in India. Professor Prakash has been distinguished as a Frederick E. Terman Fellow (2011-2013), a Pew Scholar (2013-2017), a top innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review (2014) and as one of the Brilliant 10 chosen by Popular Science (2014).

3:15 p.m.


Stretch your legs and your mind during this fun, interactive break.

4:00 p.m.


Enjoy a special reprise of some of the most popular micro lectures from the Stanford+Connects tour.

If Ben Franklin Had Facebook

Caroline Winterer is the Director & Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities at the Stanford Humanities Center and a professor of history and, by courtesy, of classics.

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Professor Winterer specializes in the intellectual and cultural history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America. She received fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the Mellon Foundation, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Professor Winterer is currently working on Stanford's collaborative Mapping of the Republic of Letters project, digitally mapping major European and American correspondence networks and libraries of the early modern scholarly world (1500-1800).

Compose Your World

Kai Kight, ’14, is a violinist, composer and 2013 Mayfield Fellow in the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.

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As a musician, Kai has performed his original music for thousands in venues across the world, from the White House to the Great Wall of China. As a speaker, he has created impactful experiences for audiences at conferences, companies, and universities internationally. Some of his clients include The Walt Disney Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks. His mesmerizing and original violin performance beautifully becomes a sonic metaphor for the core of his message: to inspire people to compose unique ideas in a world that celebrates conformity.

Can Virtual Reality Really Save the Planet?

Jeremy Bailenson is the founding director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, a professor of communication and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment.

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Professor Bailenson explores the manner in which people are able to represent themselves in virtual spaces. He also designs and studies virtual reality systems that allow physically remote individuals to meet in virtual space, and explores the manner in which these systems change the nature of verbal and nonverbal interaction. His findings have been published in more than 100 academic papers in the fields of communication, computer science, education, law, political science and psychology.

Discovering Ancient Forests of the Deep: Submersible Adventures in the Pacific

Rob Dunbar is the W.M. Keck Professor of Earth Science and a professor of earth system science.

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Professor Dunbar heads a research group working on past and present changes in the ocean and their impacts on marine communities as well as mankind. His research interests include climate change, marine ecology and biogeochemistry. An expert on glaciers, sea ice, and other polar systems, Professor Dunbar has traveled to the Antarctic and the Arctic many times for research projects as well as the Stanford Alumni Association’s Travel/Study program. Dunbar Chairs the Board of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington D.C., and regularly provides advice and support to our nations policy and decision makers. In 2009, he received the Richard W. Lyman Award for exceptional volunteer service to alumni. Professor Dunbar is the J. Frederick and Elisabeth B. Weintz University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment.

In Pursuit of a Perfect Face

Jill Helms is a professor in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.

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Professor Helms’ laboratory focuses on translating stem cell discoveries into regenerative medicine therapies for patients. Professor Helms serves on a number of scientific advisory boards and journal editorial boards, and reviews manuscripts for a number of leading journals. Her greatest pleasure comes in mentoring students, and making science accessible and fun to individuals of all ages.

5:00 p.m.


5:30 p.m.


Go back to class—literally!—with a one-hour seminar in a campus classroom.

ASTRONOMY: Studying Emerging Pictures of Distant Worlds

Bruce Macintosh is a professor of physics and a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.

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In less than two decades, more than a thousand planets have been discovered orbiting other stars. Professor Macintosh will discuss these first-ever images of extrasolar planets—and the technology that allowed us to discover them like the advanced Gemini Planet Imager.

Professor Macintosh co-led the team that made the first-ever images of an extrasolar planetary system, discovering four giant planets orbiting the young star HR8799. As principal investigator of the Gemini Planet Imager, he uses this advanced adaptive optics planet-finder with the Gemini South telescope in Chile to measure the composition of young Jupiter-like planets orbiting nearby stars, and is working towards future space missions that may discover a true Earth twin. 

CREATIVITY WORKSHOP: Techniques for Sparking Your Creative Genius

Tina Seelig, PhD ’85, is a professor of the practice in management science and engineering and faculty director of Stanford Technology Ventures Program, the entrepreneurship center at the School of Engineering.

Dan Klein, ’90, is a lecturer in theater and performance studies and at the Graduate School of Business, and a teacher at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.

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Limber up your brain, stretch your imagination and pump up your creativity in this interactive workshop co-taught by Professor Seelig and d.school improviser Dan Klein, ’90.

Professor Seelig teaches classes on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in management science and engineering and at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the d.school. She has written 17 popular books, including “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20,” “inGenius” and “Insight Out.” She is the recipient of several national awards including the Gordon Prize from the National Academy of Engineering, recognizing her as a national leader in engineering education.

Klein’s teaching taps into improvisation, design thinking and high-performance communication to help adults access their childlike creative reserves. A longtime improv instructor of beginning and advanced improvisation, he has helped create student groups including the Robber Barons (original sketch comedy), the Flying Treehouse (children’s theater) and Stanford Improvisors, an improv troupe that has performed on campus and in the community for 25 years.

DESIGNING YOUR LIFE: What Do You Want to Be (When You Grow Up)?

Bill Burnett, ’79, MS ’82, is a consulting assistant professor in mechanical engineering and the executive director of the Stanford Design Program.

Dave Evans, ’75, MS ’76, is a lecturer in mechanical engineering and at the Stanford Design Program.

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In this hands-on workshop, you’ll gain tools and ideas for reframing your life’s odyssey. Whether you are happy with your job, preparing for a career pivot or seeking more meaning, applying the principles of design thinking to your career and life will help invent a more interesting and fulfilling future “you.”

As the director of one of the oldest multi-disciplinary degree programs at Stanford, Professor Burnett combines art and engineering in sharing his joy of product design with several thousand students over his years at Stanford. He holds a number of mechanical and design patents as well as several design awards for his work at Apple in the 1990s. In addition to teaching, he serves on the board of VOZ, a socially responsible fashion start-up, and advises several other start-up companies.

Since 2007, Evans’ passion is to help undergrads and grads apply the innovative principles of design thinking to the wicked problem of designing your life at and after Stanford. He has 30+ years of executive leadership and management consulting in high technology innovation. At Apple, Evans led the first mouse team and introduced early laser-printing projects to the masses. He co-founded Electronic Arts as the company’s first VP of Talent and has consulted for dozens of startups and major corporations.

DRUG DISCOVERY: Trials, Tribulations and Future Prospects for the HIV Vaccine

Peter S. Kim, PhD ’85, is the Virginia & D. K. Ludwig Professor of Biochemistry and a member of Stanford ChEM-H (Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health).

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One in 200 people on earth are infected with HIV, which is the leading cause of death worldwide for women ages 15-44. Using the HIV vaccine as an example, Professor Kim shares why drug development is difficult, discussing the urgent challenges and the promise of innovative science.

As president of Merck Research Laboratories (2003-2013), Professor Kim was responsible for Merck’s Research and Discovery efforts. During his tenure, over 20 drugs and vaccines were approved, including the world’s first vaccine against HPV, the causative agent of cervical cancer. Earlier, he was professor of Biology at MIT, member of the Whitehead Institute and investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Professor Kim is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

ELECTION 2016: The Impact of Demography, Psychology and Mass Media

Gary Segura is the Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor of Public Policy at Stanford.

Shanto Iyengar is the Harry and Norman Chandler Professor in Communication, a professor of political science and senior fellow, by courtesy, at the Hoover Institution.

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What should we expect from this year’s elections cycle? Drawing on extensive research about demographic shifts, campaign media, the psychology of voting, and the history of implicit and explicit anti-immigrant and anti-minority rhetoric, Stanford experts weigh in on the current political climate.

Professor Segura’s work focuses on issues of political representation, elections and minority group politics. His most recent book, “Latino America: How America’s Most Dynamic Population is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation,” explores the potential of this growing demographic on elections. Professor Segura co-directs the Stanford Center for American Democracy and, from 2009-2015, was a co-principal investigator of the American National Election Studies. In 2010, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Iyengar’s teaching and research address the role of mass media in democratic societies, the conduct and effects of political campaigns, and the psychology of voting. His current work investigates the polarization of news audiences in the United States and abroad. Additionally, Professor Iyengar directs the Political Communication Laboratory, which works on large-scale content analysis of news and elite rhetoric and experimental studies of political polarization. He has written several books including “Media Politics: A Citizen's Guide” and frequently contributes to WashingtonPost.com and other media outlets.

GLOBAL DEMOCRACY: Is There An Emerging Global Crisis of Democracy?

Larry Diamond, ’73, MA ’78, PhD ’80 is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, professor, by courtesy, of sociology and of political science and the Peter E. Haas Faculty co-director of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford.

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Since 1974, democracy has expanded worldwide. But with the instability of many young democracies and the rise of authoritarian populism, many wonder if a global crisis is impending. Professor Diamond examines democracy's future.

Professor Diamond teaches about comparative democratic development and post-conflict democracy building. In 2007, Professor Diamond was named Teacher of the Year and received the University's Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education. His latest book, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World, explores the sources of global democratic progress and stress and the prospects for future democratic expansion.

MINDSETS: Why Brains and Talent Don’t Equal Success

Carol Dweck is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology and, by courtesy, at the Graduate School of Education.

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Are human basic attributes largely fixed or can they be developed? Professor Dweck demonstrates how what you believe can have profound implications for success in school, business, relationships and parenting.

A leading expert in the field of motivation, Professor Dweck’s research has demonstrated the role of mindsets in students’ achievement and has shown how praise for intelligence can undermine motivation and learning. She has lectured to education, business and sports groups all over the world, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. She has appeared on “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “Nightline” and “20/20.” Her bestselling book “Mindset” has been widely acclaimed and translated into over 20 languages.


NEGOTIATION: Getting (More of) What You Want!

Maggie Neale is the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management at the Graduate School of Business.

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For many of us, negotiation is a mysterious and, sometimes, intimidating process. Professor Neale will reveal empirical truths about common negotiation beliefs and provide a window into more effective strategies in negotiating, helping us get more out of everyday interactions.

Professor Neale’s research focuses primarily on negotiation and effective team performance. She is the faculty director of Negotiation and Influence StrategiesManaging Teams for Innovation and Success, and the Executive Program for Women Leaders at Stanford. Professor Neale has authored many publications, most recently co-authoring, “Getting (More of) What You Want.” She conducts executive seminars and management development programs on negotiation skills, managerial decision making, managing teams and workforce diversity; her clients include public agencies, city governments, health care and trade associations, universities, small businesses and Fortune 500 corporations around the globe.

UNCONSCIOUS BIAS: How Race Alters Our Perceptions


Jennifer Eberhardt is an associate professor of psychology.

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Professor Eberhardt has spent her career exploring racial bias and, in particular, its role in the criminal justice system. Interdisciplinary collaborations and experiments in the field have revealed startling discoveries. Learn more about these findings and her recent work with law enforcement to design interventions and build trust.

Professor Eberhardt investigates the connection between unconscious racial bias and crime. Through interdisciplinary academic and law enforcement collaborations in the laboratory and the field, she has demonstrated results of how racial imagery and judgments shape actions and outcomes in criminal justice. At Stanford since 1998, Professor Eberhardt co-directs SPARQ, a university initiative to use social psychological research to address pressing social problems. In 2014, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Buzz Thompson, ’73, MBA ’75, JD ’76, is the Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law and Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

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A near-perfect storm of population growth, changing environmental standards, and climate change has put the American West’s crucial water management systems at risk. Professors Kennedy and Thompson will explain the historical forces that have brought the entire region to this critical juncture, and explore some promising solutions going forward.

Professor Kennedy has long taught both undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from the 20th-century history of the United States to the comparative development of democracy in Europe and America. His research is notable for its integration of economic and cultural analysis with social and political history. His book “Freedom From Fear” was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club and winner of the Pulitzer and Francis Parkman Prizes. In 1988, Professor Kennedy received the Richard W. Lyman Award for exceptional volunteer service to alumni.

Although he works on a variety of environmental issues, Professor Thompson is a confessed water wonk. Professor Thompson chairs the board of both the Resources Legacy Fund and the American Farmland Trust, is a California trustee for The Nature Conservancy, and serves as a board member of the Sonoran Institute. He also serves as special master for the United States Supreme Court in an interstate dispute involving the Yellowstone River system. In 2008, he received the Richard W. Lyman Award for exceptional volunteer service to alumni.

6:30 p.m.


Keep the connections going! Enjoy drinks and food with new Stanford friends of all ages.

Look Who Connected

First Name Maiden Name Last Name Degree(s) Parent Year(s) City State
David Koo Palo Alto CA
Jennifer Mazzon MBA '99 Menlo Park CA
Michelle Stewart Burwasser MA '85 Crosswicks NJ
Shalin Parmar '97, MA '97 San Jose CA
Trevor White Orinda CA

Special thanks to all the Stanford+Connects Bay Area volunteers without whose help this event would not be possible. See all local connectors.

Student Ambassadors

No Stanford event would be complete without students. That’s why these star scholars—who also happen to be athletes, activists, entrepreneurs, artists and so on—were invited to join you as your student ambassadors for the day.

We have recruited some of Stanford’s best and brightest to join the Stanford+Connects student ambassador team to welcome and assist you at the event. They’re looking forward to connecting with you, so don’t be shy!

Phillip Arredondo

Phillip Arredondo, ’10, MA ’12, JD ’16, is a third-year student at the law school. Originally from upstate New York, he began his career at Stanford as a freshman in Roble and pursued a degree in political science while falling in love with the Bay Area and becoming comfortable with the use of the word hella. As an undergrad, he studied Japanese, fenced for the Cardinal, studied abroad in Oxford and aboard Semester at Sea, and taught a class on Batman (in costume). While co-terming in media studies, he became interested in intellectual property, which eventually led him to law school. After (what is presumably his last) graduation, he will be joining the Tokyo office of the San Francisco firm Morrison & Foerster where he will specialize in cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

Raúl Hasbún Avalos

Raúl Hasbún Avalos, ’16, is a senior majoring in political science. At Stanford, his favorite class has been “Fixing U.S. Politics: Political Reform in Principle and Practice,” taught by Professor Bruce Cain. Raúl is a coordinator for Stanford's Admit Weekend and a Delta Tau Delta fraternity brother. He also works with a leadership resources company doing leadership training and program management for career and technical student organizations nationwide. He was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, and spent his early childhood there before immigrating with his family to the US and settling in Concord, California.

Shruthi Baskaran

Shruthi Baskaran, ’12, MBA ’16, is a second-year MBA student with an interest in entrepreneurship and enterprise software, and also received a bachelor's degree from the electrical engineering department in 2012. Prior to the GSB, she spent a few years at Bain & Co working in tech, healthcare and financial services. While at Stanford, Shruthi has served as senior class president, a student rep on the Board of Trustees, and organized two conferences in the medical robotics space.

Kyle Beckham

Kyle Beckham, PhD ’18, is currently a third-year doctoral student at the Graduate School of Education in the program of Race, Inequality and Language in Education (RILE). He focuses on the policy environment of California’s continuation high schools. More importantly, he studies what it means for these students to be labeled perpetual failures and pushed out of their comprehensive high school environments and into new schooling contexts designed to either warehouse, reform, re-engage, and/or empower them.

Jonathan Berry-Smith

Jonathan Berry-Smith, JD ’18, MA ’18, is a first-year law student in a joint degree program with the Graduate School of Education. After spending his entire childhood in Orange County, California, Jonathan decided to go to UC Berkeley on a track and field scholarship, where he sped through the curriculum and graduated in three years. He was conscripted by his mother, an SLS alumna, to enroll at Stanford for law school, and he spends his free time playing soccer, working out, and teaching incarcerated youth about their rights as a part of the StreetLaw pro bono program. Jonathan looks forward to working on education equity issues over the summer at a nonprofit firm in San Francisco and learning more about education policy next year.

R. Davis Born

R. Davis Born, MS ’17, hails from central Illinois, and is a first-year master’s student in mechanical engineering, although he hangs out in the Aero building quite a lot. He’s been finding his way around the aerospace industry with internships at NASA and SpaceX, and he’s come to the conclusion that space is super cool. At Stanford he’s been trying his hand at product design in the d.school while exploring the Aerospace Engineering labs and occasionally helping with the Stanford Student Space Initiative.


Joel Chapman

Joel Chapman, ’14, MA ’15, is a conductor, bass-baritone, and songwriter known for his cross-genre integration. He has made appearances with the California Bach Society and Volti, a chamber choir specializing in new music. Joel recently performed Terry Riley’s “Sun Rings” with the Kronos Quartet through Cal Performances. Recent theatrical credits include Sweeney Todd (music director, Judge Turpin), Macbeth (sound designer), and Sunday in the Park with George (music director). Joel holds an MA in music, science, and technology and a BA in music. At Stanford, Joel was director of the Stanford Fleet Street Singers and a member of the Stanford Chamber Chorale. 

Janet Coleman-Belin

Janet Coleman-Belin, ’19, is a freshman who hopes to major in mechanical engineering with minors in anthropology and modern languages. Janet plays defense on the Stanford Women’s Club Soccer team, interns for Kids With Dreams, and rocks out on alto saxophone in the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band. Janet’s freshman year has been memorable so far: she’s dissected human arms, painted a mural with middle-school students, and torched crème brûlée. A Chi Omega sorority pledge raised in Santa Monica, CA, Janet writes weekly articles for Stanford’s chapter of the Odyssey and laughs at her own jokes. Next year, Janet will be a class president for the Class of 2019.


Lizmarie Comenencia Ortiz

Lizmarie Comenencia Ortiz, MS ’15, PhD ’19, is a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Stanford University. She grew up in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and developed a special interest in robotics during her participation in the NASA-sponsored Puerto Rico Institute Robotics in high school where she built her first robot. She received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and in biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). In her college years, she was a NASA MUST (Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology) scholar. In this program, she participated in summer internships at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab and the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, working in areas from circuits and antennas to robotics. At the Stanford Micro Structures and Sensors Laboratory, Lizmarie works with microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS sensors). Lizmarie is very passionate about developing smart and efficient sensors for medical devices that can further improve human health.

Maria Deloso

Maria Deloso, ’15, MS ’18, is an Earth systems master’s student focused on sustainable, healthy and equitable food systems. Although she graduated from high school in Pasadena, CA, Maria has lived everywhere from Louisville, KY to London, England. During winter quarter 2013-14, Maria participated in the Stanford in Washington program and worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture on child nutrition programs. She also interned at a school food company where she was part of the culinary development process and served meals to elementary and middle school children. Maria is currently taking a leave of absence to work at Bon Appétit Management Company, an on-site restaurant company located by the Palo Alto Caltrain station.

Katherine Erdman

Katherine Erdman, ’19, is an undecided freshman with a passion for chemistry and computer science. She currently interns at the Center for Social Innovation at the Graduate School of Business. Katherine enjoys serving as an officer on the Social Impact team of the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students. She also works to increase diversity in the technology sphere through she++, a nonprofit founded at Stanford. Katherine also helps run Viennese Ball, the Bay Area's largest social dance event.

Maria Filsinger Interrante

Maria Filsinger Interrante, ’16, is majoring in bioengineering and plans to pursue her MD/PhD after graduating. She dreams of one day becoming a professor. When not in lab doing honors thesis research, Maria loves riding horses at the Red Barn with the Stanford Equestrian Team, volunteering as an EMT, and leading the Stanford Society of Women Engineers. A part-time tutor and ACT Prep Book author, Maria also loves teaching, tutoring, and mentoring younger students. Outside of academics, she's passionate about dancing, photography, and distance running and hopes to complete her first marathon before starting graduate school.

Weston Gaylord

Weston Gaylord ’15, is a writer, director and musician with a BS in symbolic systems (focus in human-computer interaction). He has written original content for Stanford Repertory Theater, Ram’s Head Theatrical Society’s Gaieties (2012 and 2013), the Stanford Fleet Street Singers, and the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival. He spoke at Stanford+Connects in Seattle in 2015. These days, you can find him in Los Angeles making films for virtual reality.

Dhruti Gopaluni

Dhruti (Dhru) Gopaluni, ’17, is a junior majoring in management science & engineering with a concentration in organizations, technology, and policy from Texas. Her hobbies include anything pop culture, reading, learning languages, and bad jokes. On campus, she is a CL staff member in Castano, a Student Alumni Council member, and enjoys tutoring students from the area. One of her favorite memories at Stanford is taking a Spanish lyric poetry class, with three strangers, in a room with a really great view.


Masha Gorkovenko

Masha Gorkovenko, ’19, is a mathematical and computational science major from Southern California. She is interested in the arts, and enjoys playing trumpet in the Stanford Wind Symphony and coordinating jazz-related events for the Stanford Jazz Consortium. In her free time, Masha likes to browse Tumblr, read about her favorite artists, and post on Facebook. Masha’s favorite Stanford experience this year was the band run during NSO.


Eva Grant

Eva Grant, ’19, is a freshman planning to major in theatre and performance studies and minor in creative writing and modern languages. As an artist and poet, Eva believes in the power of art to shape societal values, and takes a special interest in the intersection of language and culture among indigenous people, especially as these relate to their endurance and radical evolution over time. She represented Canada at the Girls20 Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, last fall and is currently developing a follow-up project in her local community, aimed at increasing economic viability and prosperity among marginalized women. Eva continues both her creative practices and advocacy at Stanford through her participation in the Stanford Native American Indian Students’ Organization, facilitation of campus teach-ins, position as a writer for the Odyssey at Stanford, and her involvement in experimental and traditional dance and theater.


Kayland Harrison

Kayland Harrison, ’17, is a junior double majoring in linguistics and electrical engineering. He serves on the Student Alumni Council and works at the LGBT Community Resources Center, where he's learned about leadership and connecting with the community. His fondest memory at Stanford was when he secretly coordinated with friends to bring his best friend’s girlfriend to campus to surprise him for Valentine's Day. Kayland hopes to go into education or tech (or both!) after graduating. In his free time, he likes to compose music, sing, and play piano.

Fatemeh Hashemi

Fatemeh Hashemi, PhD ’16, is a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering. She is passionate about solving the world’s energy problems with advances in materials science and surface sciences. She is also passionate about empowering women of all races and ethnicities. She has experienced living and studying in the Middle East, Europe and the USA, and plans to go to Europe after graduating from Stanford. She loves painting and is an experimentalist, both in the lab and in life.


Rocio Hernandez

Rocio Hernandez, ’18, is a sophomore majoring in urban studies. At Stanford she has found a passion for public service. Her service experience includes participation in Stanford’s Alternative Spring Break, Impact Abroad, and various service learning courses which have enabled her to engage with many communities. Rocio has been a tutor with the East Palo Alto Stanford Academy for two years. In her free time, Rocio enjoys trying new foods and exploring surrounding nature.

Matt Herrero

Matt Herrero, ’17, is a junior majoring in symbolic systems, as well as an actor, singer-songwriter, playwright, and Bay Area native. Matt likes to keep himself “creatively swamped” on and off campus; he is a member of the Stanford Improvisors, a singer in The Stanford Fleet Street Singers, creator and co-host of the Stanford Improv Radio Hour, and has acted in various musicals (recent productions include Toby in Sweeney Todd, Link Larkin in Hairspray, and The Mute in The Fantasticks). Most recently, Matt has had the pleasure of co-writing and acting in the original musical, Gravity, which he’s thrilled to be sharing with you at Stanford+Connects! 

Sarah Hirshorn

Sarah Hirshorn, ’17, is a junior majoring in public policy with a self-designed concentration in social entrepreneurship and is a member of the lightweight rowing team. As a freshman, she founded a team service project called Project S.W.E.E.P. Her favorite classes at Stanford have been through the d.school and Graduate School of Business. Sarah was raised in West Harrison, NY and is the second oldest of six children. She graduated salutatorian from Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, CT.

Jessia Hoffman

Jessia Hoffman, ’15, is a performer, playwright, and improviser from the Bay Area. She graduated from Stanford with a BA in English, minor in Spanish, and interdisciplinary honors in the arts. Jessia has worked as artistic director of the Stanford Improvisors and as an intern for TheatreWorks of Silicon Valley, and now produces events for the Stanford Storytelling Project and Stanford Arts Intensive. She serves as Improv Coach for BATS Improv and the Aragon Improv Team. Recent theatre credits include Lisi in The Man in the Ceiling workshop (TheatreWorks), Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray (Stanford), Dot/Marie in Sunday in the Park with George (Stanford), and writer/director of Sheila, an original play.

Hannah Hsieh

Hannah Hsieh, ’17, is a junior majoring in management science & engineering and minoring in philosophy. A Bay Area local, Hannah loves engaging with the Stanford community through her roles as a junior class president, resident assistant in Otero, and as one of the Stanford Clock Tower winders.  Hannah is also enthusiastic about all things musical, for she is the former Business Manager of Everyday People A Cappella, and she played Penny Pingleton in Stanford’s production of Hairspray in 2015. This summer, she will be heading to the East Coast to work for the Boston Consulting Group in Atlanta.

Hsiao-Tieh Hsu

Hsiao-Tieh Hsu, PhD ’18, is a third-year PhD candidate in chemistry studying soil carbon pathways to evaluate the environmental and climate impacts of the global carbon cycle. She is loves learning new things outside of her research field and making an impact beyond the lab. She is currently a project manager for the Stanford Healthcare Consulting Group (SHCG), where she works with the Stanford Hospital and helps develop high-impact solutions to challenges in healthcare delivery. She also led the StartX-QB3 Labs (a startup accelerator and incubator with heavy Stanford alumni involvement) for almost two years, during which she helped built the lab from scratch and brought it to full capacity. She really enjoyed helping entrepreneurs move their products toward the market. Outside of work, she likes running, rock-climbing, camping, and all kinds of outdoor adventures.


Mei Li Inouye

Mei Li Inouye, PhD ’18, is a PhD candidate in East Asian languages and cultures who studies modern and contemporary Chinese literature, film, and dance. She works with Professors Ban Wang and Haiyan Lee and is interested in tracking literary and cultural exchanges in China on a national, ethnic, and kinesthetic level. Her experiences and interests run the gamut of outdoor leadership and education, rock climbing, modern dance, designing educational travel, and playing the viola and piano. She also has an MFA in Creative Writing, is the author of Walk Without Notice (Palmyra Press, 2005), a film novella, and is finishing up a western that she dreams of having filmed by the Cohen Brothers.


Andrew Jabara

Andrew Jabara, ’18, is a sophomore majoring in economics and minoring in education. Whether he’s performing in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra as a violinist, discussing economic applications with Nobel Prize-winning professors, or baking tasty treats in the dorm, Andrew likes to explore all that Stanford has to offer. He has also spent time in the business world across California, crafting marketing strategies for Silicon Valley startups and nurturing nascent company branches in Hollywood. Despite growing up 10 minutes from Disneyland in Tustin, California, Andrew believes that Stanford is the happiest place on Earth.


Matt Jeakle

Matt Jeakle, ’17, is a junior from Seattle majoring in American studies, with a minor in creative writing. Matt is an active member of Stanford’s Stand Up Comedy Group (Stand Up, D) and its spinoff sketch comedy group (Sketch, D). He also writes for the Flipside, the satirical newspaper on campus, and for the Stanford Sitcom Project; to round out his comedy portfolio, he joined the Stanford Improvisers in 2015. Matt enjoys spending his free time watching cartoons and eating cereal.

Michael Kim

Michael Kim, ’17, is the oldest of five children, an RA in Otero, and an avid journal-er. He plans to major in English, focusing on creative writing, with a minor in computer science. After graduation, his plan is to spend two years in Latin America with the Peace Corps before starting his career in global marketing. On campus, he is passionate about issues of gender inequality (including sexual assault on college campuses and sex education). When he isn't doing homework, he can be found reading on the lawn of Sigma Nu (where he will be RA next year) or playing pick up soccer on Wilbur Field. Michael's life goals include writing a book, becoming a loving father, and using a ChapStick all the way to the bottom without losing it.

Matthew Leong

Matthew Leong, ’17, is a sophomore studying computer science who hails from Piedmont and is the only Stanford member of a Cal alumni family. His hobbies include ultimate Frisbee, running the Dish, and enjoying the late night dining options at the campus dining halls; he is also a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Matthew spent the summer working for a tech startup in New York City as well as Shorenstein Company in San Francisco.

Dorian Lumarque

Dorian Lumarque, ’19, is a freshman considering a major in electrical engineering or bioengineering, with a possible minor in public policy. Some of his favorite classes at Stanford so far have been Hawaiian 1, in which he learned the language of his homeland and performed hula in the San Francisco City Hall as a class final, and Medical Imaging Systems, a class taught by Dwight Nishimura which engaged with imaging tools from X-rays to MRI. Dorian is very involved with campus life, and is especially involved with Stanford’s chapter of Camp Kesem, an organization dedicated to providing children with sick family members a summer in which they can have fun. He is also very fond of his Frosh Council family and friends in Cardinal Calypso. While much of his schooling took place in Arizona, Dorian was born in Hawaii and maintained strong connections to the land as he grew up due to annual family visits in the summertime. He hopes to bring the aloha spirit of his home to all that he does.


Olivia Martin

Olivia Martin, ’19, is a freshman thinking of majoring in economics and english. Her interest in economics grew out of an introductory seminar taught by law school professor John Donohue, where she was first exposed to the value of empirical analysis in crafting law and policy. Following this interest, she will be doing analytic work at the California Department of Education this summer as a Stanford in Government fellow. On campus, she is a representative on the Frosh Council, a leader in Stanford in Government, and a member of the Stanford Gospel Choir. She loves to read, travel, play tennis, and spend time with her dogs and family, who live in San Diego, California.


Tiffany Mason

Tiffany Mason, JD ’16, is a third-year law student from Detroit, Michigan. Tiffany was drawn to Stanford Law School’s interdisciplinary approach to lawyering, innovative research centers, and access to the most brilliant minds in the legal field. While at Stanford, Tiffany has participated in the William A. Ingram Inn of Court, Stanford Healthcare Consulting Group, and the Organizations and Transactions Clinic. She has also served as the co-president of the Women of Stanford Law. After graduation, Tiffany will practice healthcare transactional law at a firm in Chicago.

Sean Means

Sean Means, ’18, is a sophomore planning to major in political science. Born and raised in Tennessee, he currently calls Virginia home when not on campus. Sean has an interest in public service and for the past two summers has worked at the Ron Brown Scholars Program, a scholarship program focused on sponsoring and connecting high-achieving black students in order to help them become the leaders of tomorrow. Outside of class, Sean enjoys waving flags at football games; working as the assistant financial manager for Stanford Student Enterprises; guarding the Axe as a member of the Axe Committee; and taking on opponents in the ruck for the Stanford Men’s Rugby team. Some of his favorite Stanford moments have included leading the football team onto the field at a game, studying abroad in China, and fountain hopping. His goals in life are to experience life to the fullest and to leave knowing he made a positive impact on others.


Uche Monu

Uche Monu, PhD ’17, is a PhD candidate in electrical engineering whose research is focused on 3D visualization and quantitative MRI techniques for the early detection of knee osteoarthritis. While at Stanford, she has been involved in creating a community of support and empowerment for women in engineering through the Women in Electrical Engineering student group (WEE) and as a former Graduate Coordinator at the Women’s Community Center (WCC). A native of Nigeria, she is passionate about the African continent and currently focuses on building an intellectual community that contributes to its growth and sustainable development through the Stanford Africa Entrepreneurship Network (SAEN). An avid sportswoman, Uche enjoys swimming and playing tennis as well as playing piano during her free time.


Malaika Murphy-Sierra

Malaika Murphy-Sierra, ’17, is a DC area native and an active participant in the arts community at Stanford. She is a member of the Stanford Improvisors (SImps) and the Stanford Shakespeare Company, and loves to act and sing in her favorite Stanford tradition—Gaieties. Her psychology major has let her explore her passion for children by letting her teach at the Bing Nursery School, and her favorite class has been the popular “Human Behavioral Biology” taught by Robert Sapolsky. She also enjoys being a coordinator for Camp Kesem—an organization that provides a free week of camp for children affected by a parent's cancer. She hopes to connect with you about storytelling, improvising, brains, spirituality, theater, comedy, and nature.

Joey Nelson

Joey Nelson, PhD ’17, is a PhD candidate in the department of geological sciences at Stanford. He holds a BS in environmental sciences and a BA in mathematics from the University of Virginia. Joey is currently a Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellow and a former National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow. His PhD research focuses on how mineral-fluid reactions, nanoscale confinement, and fluid transport processes govern isotopic fractionation, porosity evolution, and release and storage of natural and anthropogenic contaminants. Joey also organizes the Queer Perspectives in Science Speaker Series, serves as president of the Stanford Chapter of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM @ Stanford), and conducts social science research focused on the experiences of LGBTQ individuals in STEM fields in academia and industry.


Rachelle Pabalan

Rachelle Chastine Pabalan, ’19, is a freshman who is passionate about issues of intersectionality and innovation and plans to double major in science, technology, & society and comparative studies in race & ethnicity. In addition to loving her job at the Asian American Activities Center and her on-campus positions with the Student Alumni Council, Pilipino American Student Union, and dorm government, Rachelle enjoys being a counselor for the Crisis Text Line and The Steve Fund, watching e-sports, “playing” the mellophone in the Stanford Band, snacking, and appreciating art.

Söla Paterson-Marke

Söla Paterson-Marke, LLM ’16, is a master of laws student in the Law, Science and Technology program at the Stanford Law School. At SLS, Söla has enjoyed interdisciplinary study in transactional areas of law, finance and technology. Prior to attending Stanford, Söla practiced as a corporate lawyer in London, Edinburgh and Sydney, advising clients on cross border M&A and private equity. Outside of the classroom he is on the executive committee of the SLS International Law Society and enjoys taking advantage of Stanford’s excellent golf and soccer facilities. A Scotsman, Söla graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an LLB (bachelor of laws) with honors in 2008 and Diploma in Legal Practice 

Savannah Pham

Savannah Pham, ’18, is a sophomore double majoring in psychology and Asian American studies. Her favorite class at Stanford so far has been “Mindful Intelligence: Making Peace with Yourself and the World,” with Professor Murphy-Shigematsu. This class has inspired her to re-evaluate what she’s passionate about, so she hopes to continue raising awareness of mental health issues within the Asian and Pacific Islander community and eventually become a clinical psychologist. In addition to working with Student Activities and Leadership and at the Graduate School of Education, Savannah is a Culture Night director for the Stanford Vietnamese Student Association, dancer with Mua Lac Hong, and helps plan the Asian American Students’ Association Listen to the Silence Conference. She also volunteers with DreamCatchers, helping provide tutoring services to underserved middle school students. This past summer, she received funding through Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for an internship with Yosemite National Park. Savannah was raised in Murrieta, California and has learned to love NorCal as much as she loves SoCal.


Lauren "Motown" Phillips

Lauren “Motown” Phillips, ’17, is an art history major who hails from the one and only Detroit, Michigan. She is on the Internal Development team for the Stanford Student Alumni Council and a member of Pi Beta Phi. Her proudest achievement so far at Stanford has been co-chairing the 16th Annual Black Student Union Youth Empowerment Conference. On campus, she can likely be found roaming around the Anderson Collection or the McMurtry Building during the day, or chowing on chicken fingers and waffle fries from the Axe & Palm at night.

Lea Poquerusse

Lea Poquerusse, MBA ’16, is a second-year MBA student at the GSB where she has been an Arbuckle Leadership Fellow and the GSB Energy Club co-president. She is a chemical engineer by training (McGill BEng 2010, MIT MS 2012) with a strong interest in “new-er” technologies. Prior to the GSB, she was a senior consultant for Navigant Consulting, where she advised government, companies, institutions on policy, business and technical issues pertaining to emerging energy technologies. She helped launch Navigant’s Energy Practice in the Middle East by working on the first project in the region. She has also worked as a solar energy project developer for Ameresco in Ontario in 2011. She was born in Boulder, Colorado but raised in Paris, France (where she attended an international school) until she moved to Canada for her undergraduate program. She's lived in SF, Manila, Dubai, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, and, Paris in the past 10 or so years. 

Rachel Samuels

Rachel Samuels, ’17, is a junior majoring in international relations with a minor in comparative studies in race and ethnicity. During her time at Stanford, she has served as an undergraduate senator, an executive campaign manager, and an executive chief of staff in ASSU. Rachel has returned spring quarter from her two quarters off-campus at Stanford in Washington and at Stanford in Cape Town. Outside of Stanford, Rachel is an eighth-year presenter and participant at the White Privilege Conference, a diversity conference that engages conversation and action around identity privilege and oppression.

Ken Savage

Ken Savage, ’14, MA ’15, is a Bay Area theater director, producer, and now, alum! While at Stanford, he was awarded the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for his outstanding contributions to undergraduate education and the arts. Directing credits include Sweeney Todd, My Fair Lady, Hairspray, Sunday in the Park with George, and The Fantasticks. He has worked at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, The Public Theater, Arena Stage, CalShakes, and San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater where he is currently an artistic associate. Ken is the 2015 recipient of the Silicon Valley Creates Artist Laureate Emerging Artist Award. 

Max Savage

Max Savage, ’16, is a senior majoring in symbolic systems with a concentration in human-computer interaction. A San Francisco native, he has performed in many productions, most recently at the Bing Concert Hall as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. At Stanford, Max is an actor in the Asian American Theatre Project, a vice president of Stanford Finance, and a member of the Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity. Max has studied theater intensively as a Northwestern Cherub and at the California State Summer School of the Arts. His theater mentor, artistic partner, and brother is Ken Savage; they made their stage debut in elementary school in Charlotte's Web; Max was Templeton and Ken was Wilbur.

Kelsey Schroeder

Kelsey Schroeder, ’17, MS ‘17, is a junior majoring in mathematical and computational science and getting a masters in management science & engineering. In the future, she hopes to bridge technology and business to create real change. Originally from New Jersey, she has fallen in love with the California sunshine and spends all her free time outside, whether it’s running the Campus Drive loop, hitting balls at the driving range, swimming at Avery Aquatic Center, or reading at the new Meyer Green. She serves as a student director in the Catholic Community and the vice president of finance for her sorority (Tridelta). Kelsey is an avid Stanford fan and loves supporting her classmates on the field, stage, and more. Go Card!


Paul Serrato

Paul Serrato, ’19, is an undecided freshman with an interest in public policy, management science and engineering. He is a member of the Stanford Student Alumni Council, Freshman Council, and Latinos Unidos de Stanford. In his free time he likes to learn new juggling tricks and go hiking.

Aashna Shroff

Aashna Shroff, ’17, is a junior majoring in computer science with a minor in economics. Her upbringing and schooling in India bred a passion to make technology inclusive and accessible to everyone. As one of the only two girls in her high school computer science class, Aashna was inspired to start Girls Code Camp. Last year, she taught introductory computer science to young girls in India with a team of Stanford students through workshops and hackathons. One of the classes she has most enjoyed at Stanford has been CS106A with Mehran Sahami, and she hopes to bring the same excitement and whimsy into teaching as he does. Aashna is also involved in Stanford Women in Computer Science and Girls Teaching Girls To Code. In her free time, she likes to dance and to venture out to eat in new places.

Sean Sketch

Sean Sketch, MS ’15, PhD ’18, is a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering. He works with Dr. Allison Okamura in the Collaborative Haptics and Robotics in Medicine (CHARM) Lab, seeking to understand the link between sensory and motor impairments that result from stroke and design haptics-based rehabilitative devices. Outside of the lab and classroom, he has two passions: distance running and sleight-of-hand magic. He competed for a New Balance team in Silicon Valley during the beginning of his time at Stanford, specializing in the 5K, and has been a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians since 2006. Sean was born and bred in Durham, NC to two Midwestern parents. He is a (Duke) blue-bleeding basketball fan without a trace of Southern twang.

Emma Steinkellner

Emma Steinkellner, ’16, is a senior majoring in feminist gender and sexuality studies, and her creative thesis project “It Gets Weird” is a graphic novel that teaches sex ed concepts to adolescent readers. She is a proud member and happy director of Flying Treehouse Children’s Theater Company and the Stanford Improvisors, which means she gets to goof around a lot and sincerely call it work. She loves to use her imagination and plans to move to the LA area after graduation to pursue writing and illustration.


Ben Strauber

Ben Strauber, MA ’17, PhD ’17, is a PhD candidate in neuroscience focusing on the cognitive and neural processes involved in language and learning. A lover of language and culture who has studied and worked around the world, Ben speaks Hindi and Spanish fluently, and he knows bits and pieces of Bengali, Punjabi, Arabic, and Mandarin. He also enjoys computer languages, which he puts to good use in his work with Code for India.  Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Ben came to Stanford after completing his undergraduate studies at Arizona State University as well as a Masters at the University of Cambridge. He eventually hopes to apply his understanding of language and learning to improve education and bridge cultural divides, either through academia or a more entrepreneurial avenue.

Micaela Suminski

Micaela Suminski, ’17, is a junior who loves reading the news, debating, and drinking coffee. A Philadelphia native and urban studies major, she focuses on race relations, education policy, and housing policy. Three highlights of her Stanford career have been leading an Alternative Spring Break trip during sophomore year that focused on the school-to-prison pipeline, working at the U.S. Department of Education during her junior fall quarter with the Stanford in Washington program, and spending a quarter in Cape Town, South Africa through the Bing Overseas Studies Program. Micaela also rocks out with the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, organizes for the Stanford Political Journal and ignitED, and enjoys running outdoors.

Shannon Swanson

Shannon Swanson, PhD ’20, is a PhD candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, a Teresa Elms and Robert D. Lindsay Fellow and a National Geographic Young Explorer. She uses the frameworks of political ecology and institutional analysis and development to study the resilience of fishing communities in developing island nations in Southeast Asia and Oceania and how they are affected by NGO and government interventions, such as marine protected areas and alternative livelihood projects. Drawing from her career as a conservation and travel photojournalist, she is also interested in developing participatory methods of research using film and photography. Before coming to Stanford, she received a masters in Coastal Management from Duke University, and a BS in biological sciences and BA in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara.


Christian Tae

Christian Tae, ’19, is a freshman planning to major in either mechanical or electrical engineering. When not working on the Stanford Solar Car Project, Christian can be found playing intramural basketball or ping pong with his friends. He also enjoys working at the Hoover Institution, where he is exposed to different research publications involving US policy. Christian hopes to one day improve his jump shot, travel the world, and use engineering to solve the energy crisis.

Ameena Tawakol

Ameena Tawakol, ’17, is a junior majoring in economics with a focus on international development and a minor in French. Her favorite class at Stanford so far has been a service-learning course, “Social Entrepreneurship and the Advancement of Democracy, Development and Justice.” The class inspired her to continue studying economic growth in developing countries. Ameena serves on the Board of Directors of Stanford in Government and as the co-president of the Muslim Student Union; she also enjoys running with the Stanford Running Club and other outdoor activities. She loves to travel, especially anywhere with a beach.

Neha Tibrewala

Neha Tibrewala, MBA ’16, is a second-year MBA student at the Graduate School of Business. While at the GSB, Neha has focused on social innovation and clean energy and plans to continue working in clean tech after graduation. She served as the CFO for Stanford's Challenge 4 Charity event and served as an officer of the Stanford Energy Club. Prior to the GSB, Neha worked as a project manager developing renewable energy projects in India, Sri Lanka, and Hawaii. During her MBA summer, Neha interned at Agora for Good, which helps individual donors make more informed decisions about their charitable giving. 

Anita Tseng

Anita Tseng, PhD ’18, is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Education in the science curriculum and teacher education program. She is currently researching the ways students reason with flawed claims about science, and how to improve students’ skills at critically assessing misinformation. Previously, Anita taught at a high school in New York, where she founded an Asian culture club that produced yearly performance art shows. She also volunteers as a mentor for the School of Education's Partnerships Program, advising first-year graduate students. Anita's favorite experience at Stanford has been with the teacher education program, in which she has instructed and supported pre-service teachers, and hopes to continue this after graduation. In her free time, she loves running with her dog on the Bay Trail, hiking the Sierras, trying new recipes, and doing custom woodwork with her fiancé.

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner, MD ’18, is a medical student with an interest in oncology and the growing uses of technology in healthcare. Brandon lived in 8 different states while growing up, and graduated from Wake Forest University in 2012 with a bachelor’s in biophysics (and a minor in sociology). He was elected a Rhodes Scholar and spent the past two years in Oxford studying radiation biology and the effects of high altitude on people’s health. Brandon played winger for the Wake Forest Rugby Club and shooting guard for the St Catherine's College basketball team at Oxford. He spent a summer building computer labs and training teachers in Cameroon, and has conducted computational biophysics research on protein structure modeling. One of his favorite activities is volunteering with Pals – a long- term pediatric patient mentoring program similar to Big Brother/Big Sister. He hopes to combine his interest in healthcare, technology, and science writing in his future career. Oh, and he loves baking.

Jessica Vargas

Jessica Vargas, PhD ’16, is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow finishing her doctoral studies in organic chemistry, where she has developed new biomaterials for delivering gene therapy drugs. She has benefitted from the deeply collaborative environment at Stanford, as her research spans synthetic chemistry, polymer science, nanotechnology, and molecular biology. Jessica co-chairs a campus organization dedicated to bringing distinguished women in science from around the country to speak at Stanford. She hails from Flagstaff, Arizona, by way of a basketball scholarship to Loyola Marymount University, and now she takes full advantage of the courtside action to be found in Maples Pavilion.


Sean Volavong

Sean Volavong, ’19, is a freshman who plans to majoring in human biology with a concentration on community wellness advocacy. He plans to pursue that interest by being a logistics king for the Happiness Collective, a peer counselor at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, and as the president and social chair of his freshman dorm, Larkin. His favorite classes so far have been Bridge Peer Counseling classes that have increased his ability to communicate with peers about emotional topics, sensitivities, and conflicts. He was raised in Van Buren, Arkansas, a drastic change to the climate and culture found here in California. Besides his family, the confusing wonders of southern hospitality, and southern barbecues, he doesn’t miss a thing.


Kerry Wang

Kerry Wang, ’17, is a human biology major with a concentration in innovation, entrepreneurship, and human behavior and a computer science minor. The most formative part of her Stanford experience has been studying abroad with BOSP in Cape Town, South Africa this past winter quarter. While in Cape Town, she interned at Innovate South Africa—Code for Cape Town, a nonprofit that works at the intersection of two of her passions: computer science education and women’s empowerment. On campus, she teaches windsurfing through the Outdoor Education Center. She is also a proud member of the Class Community Committee on the Student Alumni Council. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and loved backpacking through Europe this past summer with her twin sister.

Gus Woythaler

Gus Woythaler, ’16, is a senior majoring in computer science with a minor in Chinese. He is the Musical Improvisor (MImp) for the Stanford Improvisors (SImps), financial manager of Grove house on the Row, and a former member of the Stanford Mendicants a cappella group. Outside of his love for music and comedy, Gus is a huge trivia nut; you may have caught him representing Stanford on this year’s Jeopardy! College Championship.

Jimmy Zhang

Jimmy Zhang, ’18, is a sophomore double-majoring in economics and mathematical and computational science. On campus, he is involved with the Hong Kong Student Association, Pilipino-American Student Union, Stanford Newtype Anime Club, and Stanford Students Environmental Consulting. He also works part-time during the school year as a Zero Waste Intern through the Sustainable Stanford Internship Program, working to increase waste diversion among the various preschools and elementary schools on campus. After completing a Stanford in Government Fellowship last summer, he worked as a Peer Advisor for the Haas Center of Public Service, spreading the word and offering advice about the many public service opportunities available to Stanford students. Jimmy loves traveling, and spent a few weeks last summer doing field research in rural China with the Freeman Spogli Institute. He is excited to do similar work again this summer in Chile!


Yubing Zhang

Yubing Zhang, MBA ’16, is a second-year MBA student at the GSB. She was born and raised in Hangzhou, China, and her life and work spans 6 countries: China, the US, Cambodia, the UK, Switzerland and South Africa. Before coming to the GSB, she worked in finance, consulting and the public sector; she has also started a public speaking coaching company in Hong Kong. During her time at the GSB, she has become passionate about the application of psychology and behavioral science in business environments and leadership development, and plans to pursue a career in leadership coaching and talent development. In her free time, she enjoys skiing, biking, hiking and camping. She delivered a TEDxStanford talk in 2015 called “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Jessica Zhao

Jessica Zhao, ’17, is a junior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital humanities. On campus, she has been deeply involved in the Stanford community, from serving on Frosh Council to sitting as Junior co-class president. She went abroad to Oxford during her sophomore spring, where she studied English and art history. Now back on campus, she shares her experiences with future students as the Stanford-in-Oxford Ambassador. Jessica cares about applying computer science to social fields, and is currently working on big data and machine learning projects combatting human trafficking and discovering patterns in protein evolution. While not coding, she loves walking outside, keeping her succulents alive, and biking down Palm Drive.


Stay Connected

The event may be over but your connections have only just begun. Explore the many ways you can keep learning from, and connecting with, your Stanford community.

About Stanford+Connects

Stanford+Connects was a 16-city event tour that helped alumni re-experience Stanford (minus the midterms), multiply their networks and stretch their brain in infinite ways.