The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program is a leadership program that offers up to three years of full funding for graduate education at Stanford University. Each year, up to 100 students are named Knight-Hennessy Scholars, and this year, two recipients are U-M alumni: Jerry Hadi Juratli and EmJ Rennich!


Hadi Juratli

Hadi graduated from LSA in 2023 with a degree in Biomolecular Science. He is an incoming medical student at Stanford and hopes to work on increasing access to healthcare innovation in low-resource settings. 

At U-M, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Blueprints for Pangaea, a nonprofit medical surplus recovery organization that worked with local hospital systems to reallocate excess medical supplies to communities in need. As part of this work, he spearheaded an international relief shipment to Syria following the February 2023 earthquake.

After graduating, Hadi worked as a research associate for a biotechnology market access firm with the goal of increasing access to newly-approved gene therapies. At Technische Universität Dresden, he worked under Professor Thomas Hummel on the mechanisms and manifestations of olfactory loss following post-viral infections. He is currently a Fulbright Research Scholar in Germany, continuing this work by modeling the neurological underpinnings of dysfunction in the olfactory bulb. He hopes to develop diagnostic measures of chemosensory dysfunction with viral infections.

He applied for this award because of his desire to engage with an interdisciplinary community and take advantage of the social entrepreneurship efforts. Hadi looks forward to developing multifaceted solutions to pressing issues in healthcare delivery while learning technical and leadership skills from fellow scholars.

Hadi notes that, “reflecting on my experiences during the application process helped highlight both my path to this current point as well as all that I have left to learn. The application was a valuable practice in recognizing the niche areas to which you are uniquely committed and the value of interdisciplinary perspectives in accomplishing this goal. It not only solidified my passion for accessible medical innovation and healthcare in conflict areas, but clarified my vision towards this goal.”

He would like to thank Dr. Thomas Hummel, Dr. James Casey, Dr. Zhaohui Xu, Dr. Nadia Sutton, and Ben Rathi, as well as the mentorship of Dr. Tim Johnson, Dr. Henry Dyson, and Melissa Vert. Hadi would also like to thank all of his other letter writers, professors, and faculty who have provided him with guidance on his academic journey thus far. 


EmJ Rennich

EmJ graduated from the College of Engineering in 2023 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Art and Design. She is currently a first year Mechanical Engineering PhD student at Stanford and is working in the Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab under the guidance of Professor Mark Cutkosky.

As a Michigan student, EmJ was the U-M Science Olympiad (UMSO) Tournament Director from fall 2021 to winter 2023. In this role, she led three tournaments that hosted a total of 3,000+ students, encouraging their passion for STEM subjects. For her work with UMSO, she received the Michigan Difference Student Leadership Junior of the Year Award in 2022. Throughout her time at U-M, she was a student in Professor Robert Hovden and Dr. Ismail El Baggari’s labs, where she designed liquid helium specimen holders for transmission electron microscopes (TEM). In 2023, EmJ co-founded h-Bar Instruments alongside Prof. Hovden and Dr. El Baggari with the goal of further developing in-situ TEM technology for the study of quantum materials.

In addition to being a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, EmJ is an NSF-GRFP recipient and was awarded the Microscopy & Microanalysis Student Scholar Award in 2023. At U-M, she was a Great Lakes and National NSF I-Corps grant recipient and served as the entrepreneurial lead for h-Bar Instruments through both programs.

She applied for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program for the interdisciplinary leadership development opportunities and is excited to join a community of engaged, compassionate people with diverse experiences and ideas. EmJ strongly believes in the power of communication and storytelling as tools for solving complex problems and hopes to learn about the world from new perspectives and tackle challenges with thoughtful, passionate peers.

When asked about the application process, EmJ notes that, “The KHS application process required deep reflection on not only my journey so far, but on the kind of impact I want to have in the future… I highly recommend applying, even if for no other reason than using the interesting prompts as thought-provoking exercises!”

She would like to thank Prof. Robert Hovden, Dr. Ismail El Baggari, Dr. Suk-Hyun Sung, Dr. Derrick Yeo, and Dr. Robin Fowler for their guidance and support of her growth as both a scientist and person. Their encouragement and mentorship throughout her undergraduate career has shaped her scientific goals and career aspirations for years to come.