Civic-minded alumni are selected as Knight-Hennessy Scholars
Four Yale alumni are among nearly 70 students from around the world who have been selected 2019 Knight-Hennessy Scholars. They are Anthony Kayruz ’17, Seth Kolker ’15, Charles Stone ’14, and Zachary Young ’17. Scholars receive full funding for graduate study at Stanford University.
The program aims to develop an interdisciplinary community of future global leaders to address the world’s most complex challenges through collaboration and innovation.
“We are impressed and humbled by what this new cohort of scholars has already achieved and inspired by their deeply rooted commitment to effect positive and lasting change in the world,” said John L. Hennessy, the Shriram Family Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program.
While all of the 2019 Knight-Hennessy Scholars have been admitted by graduate programs at Stanford, the students have until standard departmental deadlines in April to accept admission offers.
This year, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program — now in its second year — received 4,424 applications, an increase of 23% from 2018. The primary selection criteria used to evaluate applicants were independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and a civic mindset. Yale candidates may apply up to four years after they graduate from the university. While there is no nomination process through Yale, the Fellowships Office can offer advice on the process and will also support finalists through the interview stage.
Kayruz, from San Antonio, Texas, plans to pursue a J.D. at Stanford Law School. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale as a Human Rights Scholar and a Journalism Scholar with a bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics, and economics. Kayruz aspires to advocate for human rights through law, multimedia journalism, and public policy. At Yale, he served as chair of the Independent Party of the Yale Political Union and editor-in-chief of The Politic, Yale’s magazine of politics and culture. He has been a reporter for Yale’s MacMillan Center, a staff writer for the Toledo Blade, and a journalist for NBC News, with his work appearing on “Today,” “Dateline,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” “MSNBC Specials,” and NBC Digital. He helped launch “NBC News Now,” a streaming network aimed at millennials and Gen Xers. Before joining NBC, Kayruz worked for the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, JUNTA for Progressive Action, and the Florence Immigration and Refugee Rights Project, where he built legal cases for Central American and Mexican child asylum-seekers. He has won the William J. Foltz Journalism Prize and a Paul Block Journalism Fellowship for his reporting and an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship for his human rights work.
Kolker, from Arlington, Virginia, plans to pursue a J.D. at Stanford Law School. He graduated from Yale with a bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics, and economics, and from Tsinghua University with a master’s degree in global affairs. He aspires to upgrade the American educational system by revitalizing school districts, boosting institutional capacity for innovation in education, and transforming social policy. He taught math at Rhode Island’s lowest-income high school through Teach for America, and has worked on sustainable community development programs in Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, and Haiti. His writing has been published in the Yale Historical Reviw and Yale Globalist. He is a Schwarzman Scholar, and at Yale was named the Robert Dudley French Scholar for intellectual leadership. He also won the Ellsworth Prize in Social Science. As the founder of the high school program How to Change the World, he won a Susan B. Wilson Civic Education Award for promoting civil leadership.
Stone, who is from Hong Kong, plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He majored in mechanical engineering and global affairs at Yale. He aims to lead a technology company that solves critical issues for underserved groups, with strong interests in clean energy, infrastructure development, and social services. He recently worked for one year at Femix International, an off-grid solar company in Uganda and Zambia, where he supported new product launches and customer experience strategy and analytics. He is currently an associate at Boston Consulting Group, and was previously a consultant at Oliver Wyman. Stone is also a pro bono consultant for Care for the Homeless, a New York-based homeless services organization. At Yale, he helped to design and build “PremieBreathe,” a low-cost infant respirator prototype, and participated in a cappella and club water polo.
Young, who hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, plans to pursue a J.D. at Stanford Law School He majored in ethics, politics, and economics at Yale and received a master’s degree in public policy from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, where he was the 2017 laureate of the Michel David-Weill Scholarship. Young aspires to contribute to public policies and private solutions that will help reconcile constitutional principles with the digital age. He was a Bartley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal, a correspondent for Politico Europe in Paris, and an intern for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, the Mayor of New Haven’s Office of Development & Policy, and Ohio Senator Rob Portman. At Yale, he was a Dahl Research Scholar and president of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program.
Hennessy Scholars participate in experiential learning through the King Global Leadership Program, which provides a collection of community experiences, workshops, meetings with leaders, global study trips and personal development opportunities. The program, announced in 2016, is named for Hennessy, chair of Alphabet Inc. and president of Stanford from 2000 to 2016, and Phil Knight, M.B.A. ’62, philanthropist and co-founder of Nike Inc.