Jani Adcock and Drew Bent named Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Two MIT seniors, Jani Adcock and Drew Bent, will be part of this fall’s inaugural class of Knight-Hennessy Scholars. The fellowship funds the full cost of graduate education at Stanford University. Over 3,600 college seniors and recent graduates from around the world applied to this new program; 49 scholars from 20 countries were selected.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars aims to develop a community of future global leaders who can address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. The fellowship is named for the 10th president of Stanford University, John L. Hennessy, and Nike Inc. co-founder and philanthropist Phil Knight, a Stanford alumnus who is contributing a $400 million endowment to the program.

Criteria for selection as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar include independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and a civic mindset. Applicants were also required to apply to and be admitted by the Stanford graduate program of their choice. In addition to funding for their academic studies, the Scholars will receive leadership training, mentorship, and experiential learning across multiple disciplines.

Jani Adcock from Seattle, Washington, is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science. She aspires to develop numerical methods for more accurate and rapid simulations to open new avenues for renewable energy generation and efficient energy use. At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Adcock leveraged field data to improve a wind farm model; at Navigant Consulting, she assessed grid modernization efforts; at Tesla Motors, she analyzed vehicle data to improve reliability; and at Natel Energy, she designed components for a novel hydropower system. At MIT, she has served as an adviser for the student-run MIT Fall Career Fair, and as vice president of career development for MIT Society of Women Engineers. As a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, Adcock will pursue a PhD in computational and mathematical engineering at the Stanford School of Engineering.

Drew Bent from Stanford, California, is a senior pursuing a double major in physics and electrical engineering and computer science. At MIT, Bent conducted research in the fields of economics and engineering, and was a features editor and reporter for The Tech newspaper. He interned at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Bridgewater Associates, Khan Academy, and Sony Ericsson, and was a consultant at the World Bank. Through MISTI’s Global Teaching Labs, he taught high school physics in in Crema, Italy. Bent aspires to work at an education startup to develop new types of K-12 schools in California, and ultimately reform education policy through public office at the national level. As a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, Bent will embark on a master’s degree in policy, organization, and leadership studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Education.

“Jani and Drew are remarkable students, who will greatly benefit from the new Knight-Hennessy program,” says Kimberly Benard, assistant dean for distinguished fellowships and academic excellence in MIT's Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming. “They are both innovators who plan to use their combined MIT and Stanford educations to improve the world through renewable energy and educational initiatives, respectively.”