2020 Deans' Award Winners

Amir Abou-Jaoude

Amir Abou-Jaoude  is majoring in art history and American studies. His current research explores how the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe incorporated classical Greek motifs into his images. He has received the Hoefer Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Writing for a paper on Mapplethorpe’s photographic process, the Benjamin Dean Prize for an essay on the AIDS epidemic, and the J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for his academic achievements. Amir’s scholastic success would not have been possible without the assistance of Professors Jody Maxmin, Shelley Fishkin, and Kim Beil. These invaluable mentors have helped Amir thrive as a thinker. Outside of the classroom, Amir has served on the staff of the Stanford Daily, first as a film critic and then as Managing Editor of the Arts and Life section. He is a founding member of the on-campus improv group Unscripted Playhouse of Stanford. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in the theater or cinema. In his creative endeavors, Amir aspires to entertain and enlighten audiences. He hopes to not only provide individuals an escape from the everyday, but also ponder pressing concerns that we face as a community.”


Léa Bourgade

Léa Bourgade  is a senior majoring in Human Biology. Having played the violin for 17 years, she seeks to combine her musical background with her love of neuroscience to study the intersections between art and the mind. As a passionate science storyteller, she is also pursuing a Notation in Science Communication with the hopes of advancing science literacy in the public sphere. In the past two years, she has applied her communication skills in the field of neuro-technology, creating content for companies like Halo Neuroscience and Neosensory. Beyond her academic studies, Léa continues to be an active violinist on campus, studying under Robin Sharp and pursuing a Performance Certificate. She has been concertmaster of Stanford’s two major orchestras and has won several awards, including Stanford’s Concerto Competition and the Dan Robinson Prize in Instrumental Performance.”


Jeffrey Chang

Jeffrey Chang  is a senior majoring in physics. Currently, he is co-authoring an undergraduate textbook on the statistical mechanics of phase transitions alongside Prof. Steven A. Kivelson and Ph.D. candidate Jack M. Jiang. Previously, as part of Prof. Steven G. Boxer's experimental biophysics lab, he studied the photochemistry of fluorescent proteins, whose properties have broad applications in biological imaging. Jeffrey is the first author of a 2019 paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society which provides evidence for the mechanism of photoswitching in fluorescent proteins. Other recognitions include a Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Fellowship, a James Mills Peirce Fellowship from Harvard, and a Stanford Humanities and Sciences Undergraduate Prize in Music. Beyond science, Jeffrey plays the French horn and piano in the Stanford Collaborative Orchestra (SCOr), a conductorless chamber orchestra that premiered his composition "Rhapsody on a Meme" in 2019.”


Shravya Gurrapu

Shravya Gurrapu  is a senior double majoring in Human Biology and Computer Science. Shravya has devoted herself to studying gender-based violence in South Asian communities through qualitative, quantitative, and technical research in India. To build on these findings, she continues to manage Dr. Newberry’s lab, to understand the intersection between immigration policy and intimate partner violence in South Asian American communities. As a captain for Stanford Noopur, Stanford’s Indian classical dance team, Shravya choreographed a showcase, highlighting critical misrepresented narratives within South Asian societies to explore cultural change through art. She led We Continue, an organization to spread suicide prevention education and awareness throughout Stanford and local high schools, and she developed mobile applications for sexual violence and mental health support. She currently is a project manager for the leading non-profit organization, TeachAids, working on creating concussion education and support for individuals across the United States and Canada. After Stanford, she hopes to integrate her experiences at the intersection of legal, medical, and cultural systems with her technical background to improve systemic health challenges for globally marginalized communities.”


Molly Kennedy Irvin

Molly Kennedy Irvin  is a senior majoring in Psychology with Honors and minoring in English. She has spent much of her time at Stanford working to improve mental health on campus, on both a personal level (peer counseling at the Bridge) and a community level (co-directing the Mental Health & Wellness Coalition). Molly believes that mental health development begins in early childhood, and loves working with and researching kids. She is currently conducting an honors thesis, in collaboration with Hyowon Gweon and Mika Asaba in the Social Learning Lab, on the impact of different types of praise on children’s effort and motivation, and she received a UAR Major Grant for this work. In 2017, she was awarded a Community Based Research Fellowship to study the use of developmental psychology research to support incarcerated teen parents and their infant children. Molly is also an advocate for sexual health and empowerment, and she loves counseling at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center and co-instructing Stanford’s only comprehensive sex education course. In her free time, she is an avid connoisseur of nineteenth century British literature. After Stanford, Molly intends to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.”


Justin Ross Muchnick

Justin Ross Muchnick  is a senior majoring in Classics and American Studies and minoring in Art History. During his time at Stanford, he has published seventeen essays on a diverse range of humanistic topics, some in undergraduate journals but mostly in peer-reviewed academic journals such as the Journal of American Culture and NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies as well as popular magazines such as FourFourTwo. Throughout the last four years, he has been fortunate to have learned from many wonderful and caring professors, especially Jody Maxmin, Marsh McCall, Giovanna Ceserani, John Klopacz, Christopher B. Krebs, and Sherman Lo. He has also worked as a collections department intern at the Cantor Arts Center since 2018, under the supervision of Senior Registrar Peg Brady. In the future, Justin would like to keep writing and eventually to teach at a boarding school in New England.”


Ravi Veriah Jacques

Ravi Veriah Jacques  is a senior majoring in History with Honors alongside a minor in music. His academic interests lie foremost in the 19th century, an era that oversaw the most profound changes, from industrialization to the expansion of empire with its corresponding racism. Drawing on these themes, his honors thesis explores the ways in which the ‘Indian Mutiny’ of 1857 reshaped British notions of Indian difference, inaugurating a shift to a newly hardened and increasingly essentialist racism. He was recently named a Hume Undergraduate Honors Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, and has also been awarded the J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for Scholastic Achievement. As a sophomore, Ravi founded The Stanford Sphere, an online publication that seeks to enrich and broaden campus discourse primarily from a progressive perspective. For his work with the Sphere, Ravi was named one of the ten most influential undergrads on campus. Beyond the academic world, Ravi is a talented violinist. Back in his native England, he studies under the Royal College of Music Professor Maciej Rakowski and is a member of Chineke!, the first European orchestra comprising black and minority ethnic musicians. Ravi is heading to Tsinghua University, Beijing next year as a Schwarzman Scholar.”


Katharine Woo

Katharine Woo  is a senior majoring in Mathematics with honors. She spent the last three summers researching in number theory and co-authored papers on elliptic curves, modular functions, and partial Möbius sums for number fields. Her honors thesis under Professor Kannan Soundararajan adapts recent analytic number theory results for the function field setting. She also works on isogeny-based cryptography research with Professor Dan Boneh. She received the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and two poster awards at the Joint Math Meetings conference. Outside of research, Katharine is passionate about fostering community among math majors by leading the Stanford University Mathematical Organization, being a peer advisor, and reviving the Stanford Math Tournament. She is excited to pursue a PhD in mathematics next year.”


Jennie Yang

Jennie Yang  is a Materials Science major and Computer Science co-term. At Stanford, Jennie has immersed herself in a variety of academic and artistic pursuits, often operating in the intersections between those interests. In 2016, she was a Geballe Fellow with the Cantor Arts Center, during which time she studied the degradation of the arsenic-sulfide-based pigment realgar. She has also worked in the computational materials space under Evan Reed’s lab, building models to predict materials’ emittances with the ultimate goal of finding new photocathode materials for use at SLAC. In 2018, Jennie was the winner of WiCS HackOverflow for designing a new CS 106A assignment meant to engage new CS students in the ethical implications of natural language processing. For her academic accomplishments, Jennie was named a Terman Scholar in 2019. She is also a longtime violist in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra as well as a dancer in the Opening Committee of the 2020 Viennese Ball.”