News from RICE University

Rice senior awarded Knight-Hennessy Scholarship to pursue graduate studies at Stanford University

Rice University senior Ryan Wang has been selected as a recipient of the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, marking a significant milestone in his academic journey. The scholarship will enable him to pursue graduate studies at Stanford University, where he will probe deeper into bioengineering with a focus on neuroscience.

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Rice University senior Ryan Wang has been selected as a recipient of the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fong Photography.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, established in 2018 by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and former Stanford President John Hennessy, aims to develop the next generation of emerging leaders. The elite cohort of scholars is dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and driving positive change on a global scale.

“Knight-Hennessy will connect me with a community of individuals who possess different backgrounds and academic interests but share a common commitment to leadership and innovation,” Wang said. “These interactions will not only amplify the impact of my work but also shape my global and ethical perspective.”

Wang, who is triple-majoring in neuroscience, computer science and cognitive science, will receive a three-year scholarship to pursue his Ph.D. in bioengineering at Stanford’s schools of engineering and medicine beginning fall 2024.

Throughout his undergraduate years, Wang has been involved in research initiatives, particularly in the field of neuroengineering. His contributions include the development of innovative technologies for the noninvasive treatment, study and diagnosis of brain diseases.

“Rice offers an incredible opportunity for its access to research as an undergraduate and its location across the street from the renowned Texas Medical Center,” Wang said. “The academic flexibility at the university allowed me to explore a triple-major across three different schools.”

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Moreover, Wang’s passion for advancing scientific knowledge extends beyond the laboratory. He is co-founder of Neurotech@Rice, a student-led organization connecting hundreds of students to industry, academic and nonprofit opportunities.

At Stanford, Wang will leverage his interdisciplinary background to address global challenges and contribute meaningfully to the fields of bioengineering and neuroscience. He said he aspires to improve scientific understanding of cognition and clinical approaches to neurological diseases.

In addition to the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, Wang has been recognized with such notable awards as the Goldwater Scholarship, Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research and National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.

Danika Brown, executive director of the Center for Civic Leadership, the office at Rice that supports undergraduates seeking nationally competitive fellowships, commended Wang for his outstanding scholarship and leadership qualities.

“Wang is not only a great scholar but also a leader who is committed to making change in the world,” Brown said.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Awards attract thousands of applicants from around the globe with only a select few chosen to receive the coveted scholarship. This year the organization received 8,272 total applications with 4,493 eligible applications for the 2024 cohort.