Three from MIT named 2023 Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Julia Mongo | Office of Distinguished Fellowships
Published by MIT News on May 9, 2023

MIT senior Pam Stark and alumni Bhav Jain and Sreya Vangara are recipients of this year’s Knight-Hennessy Scholarship awards. The fellowship funds graduate studies for up to three years in any field at Stanford University.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program aims to develop emerging leaders who have a strong multidisciplinary and multicultural perspective, a commitment to the greater good, and the tools needed to drive meaningful change. Along with their graduate studies, scholars participate in workshops and training to help them reach their leadership objectives.

“We are so excited for Bhav, Pam, and Sreya to continue their academic journey through the Knight-Hennessy program,” says Kim Benard, associate dean of distinguished fellowships in Career Advising and Professional Development. “They are not only great scholars, but also leaders who are committed to making change in the world.”

Bhav Jain ’22

Bhav Jain, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, graduated from MIT in May 2022 with a BS in computer science and brain and cognitive sciences. At Stanford, he will pursue an MD at the Stanford School of Medicine. Jain aspires to create high-value, low-cost health care systems and to transform clinical care globally as a physician-policymaker. His research on health care delivery has been published in outlets such as Nature MedicineJAMA OncologyJournal of the National Cancer InstituteAmerican Journal of Public HealthCancerJournal of the American College of Surgeons, and American Journal of Managed Care.

A former fellow at the Boston Public Health Commission, Jain launched The Connected Foundation, a national organization forging intergenerational communities, and Compass, an SMS platform that streamlines patient intake and scheduling. Jain was a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the Legatum Fellowship, and the 40 Under 40 in Cancer award.

Pam Stark

Pam Stark, from Staten Island, New York, will graduate this June with a BS in physics and a concentration in women’s and gender studies. This fall, she will embark on a PhD in physics at the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences. At MIT, Stark conducted research with the Cryogenic Underground Laboratory for Rare Events (CUORE) collaboration, developing computational techniques for exotic physics searches within the detector. In graduate school, Stark hopes to continue exploring fundamental questions about our universe through experiments that study its particle constituents.

Outside of her research, Stark is passionate about gender equity and inclusion in physics and served as president of MIT’s Undergraduate Women in Physics group. She also cares about accessible physics education and has developed curricula for the MIT Educational Studies Program, mentored younger students in the Physics Mentorship program, and volunteered as a teaching assistant through the Educational Justice Institute.

Sreya Vangara ’22

Sreya Vangara, from Germantown, Maryland, graduated from MIT in May 2022 with a double major in mechanical engineering and in electrical engineering and computer science. She went on to earn a master’s degree in global affairs from Tsinghua University as a Schwarzman Scholar. At Stanford, Vangara will pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering at the School of Engineering.

Inspired by her Indian grandmother’s experience living without electricity, Vangara hopes to develop lower-cost nuclear power devices for consistent and clean energy in emerging countries. Her research also elevates underprivileged communities through global clean water collaborations with Madagascar and the Navajo Nation. Vangara supports sustainable innovation through grassroots educational initiatives, and has taught students in Kazakhstan, Mexico, Hong Kong, China, Palestine, and Israel.

In addition to the Schwarzman Scholarship, Vangara is a recipient of the Quad Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and the MIT Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Outside of academics, she is a nationally ranked collegiate shooter, an advocate for collegiate disability rights, and a crime-drama enthusiast.

By Julia Mongo
Julia Mongo Staff Writer and Advisor