Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Main content start

Graduates reflect on their time in MS&E

Six students from all degree levels share how they came to MS&E and what's next for them after Stanford.
Six new podcast episodes feature this year's graduates | Images courtesy of (left to right): Joshua "JC" Chien, Kelly Devens, Jeff Hanson, Shreya Mantha, Isabelle Rao, and Brian Reed

The Stanford MS&E: Stories & Voices 2023 graduates podcast series showcases a diversity of backgrounds, research, and career paths.

We spoke with six graduates of the bachelor's, master's, and PhD programs to find out what brought them to MS&E, what their experience was like in the program, and where they'll go after graduation. Browse this year's episodes below, or listen to the entire podcast series on Spotify.

Joshua "JC" Chien (BS)

JC discusses how joining the Fleet Street acapella group and becoming a practice player and manager with the women's basketball team were two of the best decisions he made at Stanford, how his initiative in reaching out to people for informational conversations helped guide him into MS&E and onto his career path as he embarks on his next steps, and how building relationships brings him joy, meaning and success. Hear JC's story

Kelly Devens (MS)

Kelly talks about her discovery that she could complete her degree while working, and discusses how invaluable this opportunity to study while managing projects with the Microsoft Azure Space team has been for her. She also explores how she is leaning into her imperfect perfectionism as she blends her passions for engineering and all things theatrical. Hear Kelly's story

Jeff Hanson (MS)

Jeff shares how and why he became an advocate for building community amongst the Honors Cooperative Program (HCP) students, aided in part by the flexibility offered by varying structure options in the degree program. Jeff discusses the realities of juggling work and study while also raising a family, putting his studies and the range of feedback sources into immediate use in his work, and how the community that he helped bring together benefited so many peers. Hear Jeff's story

Shreya Mantha (BS)

Shreya talks about how her exposure as a teen to the challenges faced by trafficking victims led her to co-found the Foundation for Girls with her sister, and how her values and principles continue to inform her work, decisions and future plans. Shreya shares how her personal ‘board of directors’ has guided, advised and mentored her as she’s explored a wealth of internships and established a startup with her friend Justin Lui (who just so happens to be another MS&E grad). Hear Shreya's story

Isabelle Rao (PhD)

Isabelle shares how her work examining major healthcare issues such as equitable vaccine allocation and the opioid epidemic from an operations research lens has been able to have an impact in decision making and policy development, and how she takes meaning from knowing how many lives can be saved. She also discusses her journey from childhood hours spent in her dad's office at a major university to her continuing research career in academia. Hear Isabelle's story

Brian Reed (PhD)

Brian discusses the value of multi-disciplinary work and how he has combined economics, computer science, and the natural sciences with MS&E to quantify the threats of extreme temperatures and flooding on the economic risks and prospects for companies in various industries, and how an understanding of these can inform mitigation efforts as well as create a competitive advantage. Hear Brian's story

Catherine Baron (featured musician)

Our 2023 graduating student podcasts feature music from Catherine Baron. Catherine loves making music because the cross-disciplinary process of creation echoes her favorite Renaissance greats. From storytelling to audio engineering, she revels in building a soundscape that invites reflection. As a composer of what some call poetic jazz fusion, she fuses musical elements from lived experiences in the East and West. We used an instrumental version of "Rosy" from her album Adrift. Listen to Adrift