Published: March 6, 2018

Izzy Aguiar (center) with advisor Paul Constantine (left) and her fellow grad students.

Izzy Aguiar (center) with advisor Paul Constantine (left) and her fellow grad students.

Izzy Aguiar, a master’s student in computer science, has been selected to join the inaugural cohort of Knight-Hennessey Fellows at Stanford University.

Forty-nine students from varied educational backgrounds and more than 20 countries were selected to join the program, which aims to develop diverse leaders who will work together to develop creative solutions to complex global challenges.

Aguiar was sold on the program when she saw that they emphasized kindness and humility in their leaders.

“I think that’s super necessary for people who want to change the world, and it’s not as emphasized as it should be,” she said.

The program provides a full ride to its scholars to pursue graduate study in any Stanford school. Aguiar will be pursuing her PhD in the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME).

The scholars also receive leadership development, mentorship and experiential learning, including seminars and trips to learn about global issues. They then put their cross-disciplinary skills together to come up with potential solutions.

While Aguiar’s master’s work has been in numerical and scientific computing—namely, parameter space dimension reduction for dynamical systems—the program encourages the students to tour different labs before choosing an advisor, something Aguiar said she’s looking forward to.

“There are a lot of questions I could continue into my PhD work, but I’m looking forward to exploring a little before I choose a focus,” she said.

Aguiar’s advisor, Assistant Professor Paul Constantine, who is himself a graduate of the ICME, said the program is lucky to be getting her.

“Izzy has embraced a growth mindset that empowers her to take risks and tackle difficult mathematical and computational research challenges without fear of failure,” he said. “She is one of the most engaged, energetic, enthusiastic and fearless students I have worked with, and I couldn’t be more excited for her to have this opportunity.”