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Graduating students share their journeys, aspirations

Eleven graduates share how they came to MS&E, how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their studies, and where they'll go after Stanford.
Collage of graduating student photos

MS&E's 2021 graduate podcast series showcases a diversity of backgrounds, research interests, and career paths.

We chatted with eleven graduates of the bachelor's, master's and PhD program to find out what brings students to MS&E, what their experiences were like in the program, and where they're going after graduation. Browse and read interview transcripts below, or listen to the entire podcast series on Spotify.

Anneke Claypool

Anneke Claypool (PhD)

While teaching with the Peace Corps overseas, Anneke noticed healthcare problems, such as malaria, directly affecting her students’ attendance. After that experience, she decided to apply her mathematics background to the healthcare system. Hear Anneke's story


Lauren Green

Lauren Green (BS)

Lauren's interest in engineering was sparked by her parents' stories about her grandfathers, one being an electrical engineer at IBM, and the other an engineer who worked on top-secret government projects. Hear Lauren's story


Brian Seabrooks

Brian Seabrooks (BS)

Brian shares his journey from being a physics major to MS&E and his passion for creating tangible impact in the world. He also shares stories about his time at Stanford and offers advice to MS&E students. Hear Brian's story


Andrea Banuet Gonzalez

Andrea Banuet Gonzalez (MS)

Andrea shares how at an early age she became fascinated with the way things worked—inspecting leaves under a telescope or taking apart and rebuilding a household fan. Hear Andrea's story


Saron Dea

Saron Dea (BS)

Saron originally came to Stanford determined to become a human rights lawyer, but soon realized that she could make just as big of an impact on societal issues with a degree in engineering. Hear Saron's story


Emily Arbuthnott

Emily Arbuthnott (MS)

Emily shares how the COVID-19 pandemic led her to MS&E and how the program helped her find practical applications for her background in economics. Hear Emily's story


Sean Howard

Sean Howard (MS)

Sean shares how his passion for engineering started with a childhood project car and describes how the interdisciplinary nature of MS&E is what attracted him to the program. He also describes his experience as a student member of MS&E's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, and his plans for the future. Hear Sean's story


Virgil Smith

Virgil Smith (MS)

Virgil shares that his interest in engineering became apparent as an undergraduate in the United States Military Academy (USMA), where he learned about dynamic systems and multi-criteria decision analysis. Hear Virgil's story


Eric Volmar

Eric Volmar (PhD)

Eric shares his research on mission-driven organizations and how entrepreneurs can be successful while doing good for society. Hear Eric's story


Wanyi Li

Wanyi Li (PhD)

Wanyi shares how listening to an episode of the Freakonomics podcast featuring Professor Al Roth led her to pursue a PhD degree in MS&E. Wanyi studied Operations Research and focused on Economic Systems and Environmental Sustainability. Hear Wanyi's story


Aron Nunez

Aron Nunez (BS)

Aron shares how growing up on an orchard and helping his father count trees led to his fascination with math and engineering. He wanted to solve problems around efficiency and optimization, and found that math allowed him to do so. Hear Aron's story