Ogden Honors College alumna selected as 2023 Knight-Hennessy Scholar, plans to improve health outcomes for disadvantaged populations in developing regions

May 08, 2023

Sanaa Alam

Sanaa Alam, a native of Lafayette, La., was one of 85 students selected out of 3,733 eligible applications as a 2023 Knight-Hennessy Scholar. The new cohort is the largest to date and comprises students from 29 countries who will pursue degrees in 38 graduate programs across all seven graduate schools at Stanford. For the first time ever, the cohort includes scholars from Hungary, Malawi, the Netherlands, Russia, Sierra Leone, and Turkey. Alam will be pursuing a master’s degree in Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Stanford School of Medicine. She aspires to improve health outcomes for disadvantaged populations in developing regions, particularly South Asia, by focusing on global health research, education, and policy. 

Knight-Hennessy Scholars is a multidisciplinary, multicultural graduate scholarship program. Knight-Hennessy scholars receive up to three years of financial support to pursue graduate studies at Stanford while engaging in experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders who address complex challenges facing the world. Scholars are selected based on their demonstration of independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and a civic mindset; they span all seven schools at Stanford across all departments.

“In a world that continues to grow more complex, Knight-Hennessy scholars are building the knowledge, skills, and community needed to address our biggest challenges, from climate change to immigration to equity in health care and education — and so much more,” said John L. Hennessy, Stanford University president emeritus and the Shriram Family Director of Knight-Hennessy Scholars. “I believe these scholars will help build a better future for all of us.”

Alam is a former Stamps Scholar and Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Scholar who graduated from the Ogden Honors College and LSU’s College of Science in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and minors in political science and Spanish. 

In her time at LSU, Alam interned at the Louisiana Department of Health, assisting with health equity projects in Baton Rouge. She served as Director of Academic Affairs in Student Government, founded a literacy program at a local, under-resourced school using a $5000 grant awarded by the Honors College, and conducted aging research as a research assistant at LSU. She is also a two-time recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship to study Urdu.

Alam has a longstanding interest in education. As a student in the Ogden Honors College, she started an organization that tutors elementary students on reading skills. After graduation Alam moved to La Rioja, Spain as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant because she wanted to acquire hands-on experience in the classroom as she believes the work of education is important for her future career working in global health.  

“Sanaa epitomizes the type of scholarship we encourage in the Honors College, pursuing questions across disciplinary bounds, and perhaps more importantly, encouraging her peers to do so as well,” said Dr. Garrett Fontenot, Director of LSU’s Office of Fellowship Advising. “Her leadership–both inside and outside the classroom–will represent LSU well as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar.