Rice University alumna Sonia Garcia and senior Brandi Ransom have been named Knight-Hennessy Scholars. They will join the pioneer cohort of 49 winning scholars at Stanford University, where the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program aims to develop a new generation of international leaders by providing full funding to pursue a graduate education at the California university.
This is the inaugural year for the scholarship, which drew 3,601 applicants from across the globe. Garcia and Ransom are among 1 percent of high-achieving students chosen for their demonstrated leadership, independence of thought and civic commitment.
With an endowment of $750 million, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program will be the largest fully endowed scholars program in the world. Like Ransom and Garcia, 67 percent of the scholars will be pursuing their Ph.D. at Stanford’s School of Engineering.
Ransom, from Spring, Texas, will pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Stanford upon graduation from Rice, where she will earn two bachelor’s degrees -- one in German studies and one in materials science and nanoengineering. In addition to running for Rice as an NCAA Division I track and field athlete, Ransom is president of Rice’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and lead organizer of TEDxRiceU.
Garcia, from McAllen, Texas, will pursue a master’s degree in design impact at Stanford. She graduated from Rice in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and currently works for Accenture as a health strategy consultant.
Garcia is the founder and president of By the Future, For the Future, a nonprofit focused on engaging the young professional community to support and raise awareness for mental and behavioral health throughout Houston. She is passionate about transforming the way mental illness is treated and cared for, and while at Stanford she plans to design and create solutions to radically improve psychiatric care.
“We are very excited and proud of Brandi and Sonia for being selected to this inaugural class of Knight-Hennessy scholars,” said Danika Brown, director of curriculum and fellowships at Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership. “This opportunity is for both of them to not only receive funding for graduate study at Stanford University, but to be part of a dynamic leadership program with a cohort of graduate students from across Stanford.”