Three individuals with Stanford affiliations named 2021 Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Joy Hsu (Image credit: Courtesy Knight-Hennessy Scholars)

Joy Hsu (Image credit: Courtesy Knight-Hennessy Scholars)

Those with Stanford affiliation named as 2021 Knight-Hennessy Scholars last week include a master’s student and two recent graduates.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, which funds graduate study at Stanford, last week announced its 2021 cohort, which includes three individuals with Stanford affiliations.

The scholars - the fourth Knight-Hennessy Scholars cohort - will also participate in the King Global Leadership Program , which strives to develop inspiring, visionary leaders who have strong cross-cultural perspectives and are committed to the greater good.

The incoming cohort of 76 scholars from around the world will join graduate programs during the 2021-22 academic year in every Stanford School: Business, Earth, Education, Engineering, Humanities and Sciences, Law and Medicine.

The three incoming scholars with Stanford affiliations are: Joy Hsu, ’20, who is pursuing a master’s degree in computer science, Olivia Martin, ’19, and Nancy Xu, ’19.

Joy Hsu

Joy Hsu, who is from Hualien, Taiwan, will pursue a PhD in computer science, with a focus on artificial intelligence and computer vision, in the School of Engineering.

She aspires to one day become a computer science professor, as well as an advisor to local and national governments on policies regarding artificial intelligence.

"I was stunned and incredibly grateful to be named a Knight-Hennessy Scholar," Hsu said. "I’m excited to join and learn from such a diverse cohort."

Hsu, who earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in computer science in 2020, is currently pursuing a master’s degree with distinction in research in computer science, with concentrations in artificial intelligence and biocomputing.

She is a researcher at the Medical AI and Computer Vision Lab and the SLAC National Accelerator Lab, where she creates machine learning algorithms for unsupervised structure discovery in electron tomography.

At Stanford, Hsu helped organize TreeHacks , which invites college students around the world to "turn crazy ideas into real projects." She also volunteered at Girls Teaching Girls to Code , a program designed to inspire high school students to pursue careers in computer science. In addition, she served in the student mental health and wellness cabinet in the Associated Students of Stanford University.

In 2021, Hsu was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship for her proposal on unsupervised learning in the computer vision domain.

Currently, Hsu is a technology policy associate in the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation in San Jose, California, which is leveraging technology to address the most pressing issues facing the city.

Olivia Martin

Olivia Martin, who is from San Diego, California, will pursue a JD at Stanford Law School and a PhD in economics, with a focus on public economics and administrative law, at the School of Humanities and Sciences.

She aspires to help governments better collect and use data to design and implement sustainable, equitable and evidence-based policy.

Martin said she was shocked and thrilled to be named a Knight-Hennessy Scholar.

"I feel extremely honored to have this opportunity," she said.

Martin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at Stanford in 2019, received an Anna Laura Myers Prize for Outstanding Honors Thesis in Economics for her honors thesis, titled Understanding the Geography of Housing Instability: Eviction and Affordable Housing Development.

During her senior year at Stanford, Martin served as the chair of Stanford in Government , a non-partisan, student-led affiliate of the Haas Center for Public Service.

For two years, Martin tutored two middle school students through the East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring program, whose mission is to change the life trajectory of local youth and their families through academic support, parent empowerment and tennis lessons.

In the spring of 2019, the Brown University Journal of Philosophy, Policy, and Economics, a peer-reviewed academic journal for undergraduate and graduate students, published Martin’s paper, " A Fair Free Lunch? Reconciling Freedom and Reciprocity in the Context of Universal Basic Income."

Currently, Martin is a research manager at USAFacts , a not-for-profit, nonpartisan, civic initiative dedicated to increasing the availability of government data to drive fact-based discussion. Since graduating from Stanford, she also helped develop a new portfolio of talent-related investments for Ballmer Group , which supports efforts to improve economic mobility for children and families in the United States.

Nancy Xu

Nancy Xu, who is from Fremont, California, will pursue a master’s degree in business administration at the Graduate School of Business and a PhD in computer science at the School of Engineering.

She aspires to develop scalable artificial intelligence systems that will benefit society-at-large, particularly by learning and automating complex tasks and processes.

Xu said she was "beyond grateful" to family and friends for their support over the years.

"I look forward to helping create the transformational impact that artificial intelligence will have on our society in the next few years," she said.

At Stanford, Xu earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science with honors in 2019.

Xu is co-author of " The Kipoi repository accelerates community exchange and reuse of predictive models for genomics ," which was published in May 2019 .

She served as president of Stanford Women in Computer Science , a student organization that supports and promotes the growing number of women in computer science and technology, and as president of the Stanford Association for Computing Machinery.

Xu is a founder and former editor of The Gradient , a digital magazine focused on the latest research and developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning founded in 2017 by students and researchers at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Since graduating from Stanford, Xu has worked for several companies, including Alpha Health (now known as AKASA), where she created new products to help streamline healthcare processes - such as scanning patient information from insurance cards, and at Illumina Inc., where she helped create a consortium of hospitals, research institutions and clinics dedicated to gaining a deeper understanding of the human genome.


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