Stanford University: Five Stanford graduates chosen as 2022 Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Knight-Hennessy Scholars has announced its fifth cohort, which includes five students who earned bachelor’s degrees at Stanford.

The 2022 cohort consists of 70 students, bringing the total number of Knight-Hennessy scholars to 339. The new scholars come from 27 countries, including the first scholars from Belgium, Jamaica, Japan, Libya, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Tanzania, North Macedonia, and Vietnam, with degrees from 42 institutions, including 13 outside of the United States. At Stanford, they will pursue graduate degrees in 35 degree programs across all seven schools. This year’s cohort includes the first Knight-Hennessy scholars to study microbiology and immunology, modern thought and literature, and comparative literature at Stanford. Thirty-six percent are pursuing doctoral degrees, 43 percent professional degrees, and 27 percent master’s degrees. Six scholars will pursue joint degree programs, and 34 percent have already earned a graduate degree.

Half of the new cohort identify as women, 12 are the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university, and six are serving in the United States military, including three in the Air Force, two in the Navy, and one in the Army. Sixty-three percent of the U.S. scholars identify as a person of color.

Luke Anthony Peña, director of global admission and financial aid, said the new scholars are committed to driving meaningful change across many causes and issues, including criminal justice reform, global healthcare, and the use of Earth resources.

“While our scholars’ interests are as diverse as the scholars themselves, their applications consistently demonstrated the ambition to create solutions and improve outcomes for people who are disadvantaged and marginalized in our society,” said Peña. “This cohort recognizes and embraces their responsibility as scholars to effect change for the greater good.”

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars press release is available here. Applications for the 2023 cohort will open July 1 and will be due in October.

Following are the 2022 Knight-Hennessy scholars with Stanford affiliations.


Ghufran Alkhamis

Ghufran Alkhamis of Alahsa, Saudi Arabia, will pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering with a focus on energy systems and sustainability at Stanford School of Engineering in the fall. In 2020, she received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford and was also awarded the Reynold’s Prize for Excellence in Thermosciences. She also holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. Alkhamis is interested in integrating ethics into the development of future energy solutions.


Brandon Hwa-Lin Bergsneider

Brandon Hwa-Lin Bergsneider of Los Angeles, California, will pursue an MD at Stanford School of Medicine in the fall. He graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor of Science degree in human biology and holds a MSc in bioinformatics and theoretical systems biology from Imperial College London. He worked at the National Institutes of Health, where he used computational network analysis to identify clinical and demographic determinants of brain tumor patient symptom burden. Bergsneider is a Fulbright Scholar and an NIH Cancer Research Training Award Fellow. He aspires to use data science technologies to advance health equity through early diagnosis, democratizing health information, and improving treatment efficacy.

“I am immensely humbled to have the opportunity to join this year’s Knight-Hennessy cohort,” Bergsneider said. “This accomplishment is a testament to the incredible mentors I had during my time as a Stanford undergrad, and I am excited to be coming back to a community that cares so deeply about its students.”


Quyên Nguyễn-Hoàng
(Image credit: Courtesy Knight-Hennessy Scholars)

Quyên Nguyễn-Hoàng from Hanoi, Vietnam, will pursue a PhD in art history at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences in the fall. She previously earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford. She works bilingually in English and Vietnamese on modern and contemporary art. A prolific writer, her work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including Poetry Magazine, Columbia Journal, and The Margins. Nguyễn-Hoàng has received awards and fellowships from the Institute for Comparative Modernities and Words Without Borders in partnership with the Academy of American Poets. She is also a 2022 recipient of the Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation.


Carson Smith

Carson Smith is from Palos Park, Illinois, and a member of the Choctaw Nation. She will pursue a JD at Stanford Law School this fall. Smith graduated with honors from Stanford with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in Native American Studies. As a Rotary Scholar, she earned a MPhil in socio-legal research at the University of Oxford. Later, she was a Conflict Resolution Fellow at Stanford, helping guide the mapping and redesign of multiple university conflict resolution processes, teaching courses, and serving as a peacemaker. Smith sits on the advisory board for the Native American Rights Fund’s Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative. She is the recipient of the James W. Lyon Public Service Award and the Marion Brummell Kenworthy Award for Innovation in Public Service. Smith aspires to design peacemaking processes in collaboration with Indigenous and tribal communities.

“I’m honored to continue my academic path at Stanford in collaboration with a cohort of incredible scholars and endlessly grateful for the communities and individuals who have uplifted me throughout my journey,” Smith said. “Through my law degree, I hope to support the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples via my work in peacemaking systems.”


Ezra Yoseph

Ezra Yoseph of Las Vegas, Nevada, will pursue an MD at Stanford School of Medicine this fall. He graduated with honors from Stanford with a bachelor’s degree in human biology and a concentration in neurobiology. He aspires to improve healthcare access and equity in underserved communities through medical innovation and health policy reform. Yoseph is the co-founder of Oasis Medical Relief, a nonprofit that supplies under-resourced hospitals in Ethiopia with medical equipment. As national co-president of United Students for Veterans’ Health, Yoseph established new chapters for the organization and helped initiate virtual programming to ensure veterans and volunteers remained connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Yoseph served on Stanford Medicine’s Community Advisory Board for Clinical Research, volunteered with The Phoenix Scholars organization, and was president of the Stanford Black pre-Medical Organization. He is the recipient of the Service Leadership Award from Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Service and received fellowships from the Stanford Human Biology Research Exploration program and the Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Research Program.

“I am incredibly humbled to receive this honor,” he said.

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