African Studies BA Alum Named 2021 Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University

Four Yale alumni are among 76 graduate students who have been named 2021 Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford University.

They are Mez Belo-Osagie ’16, a Ph.D. candidate in political science in Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences; Charlotte Finegold ’17, who is pursuing a J.D. at Stanford Law School; Tony Liu ’20, a Ph.D. student in bioengineering in the School of Engineering; and Elliot Setzer ’20, also pursuing a J.D. at Stanford Law School.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program cultivates and supports a multidisciplinary and multicultural community of graduate students and prepares them, through a diverse collection of educational experiences, to address complex challenges facing the world. Knight-Hennessy Scholars participate in the King Global Leadership Program and receive up to three years of financial support to pursue a graduate degree program in any of Stanford’s seven graduate schools.

The 76 new scholars from 26 countries and 37 degree programs will be joined by five scholars deferring from 2020. They are selected based on their demonstration of independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and a civic mindset.

Brief profiles of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars who are Yale alumni follow.

Mez Belo-Osagie, from Lagos, Nigeria, and Accra, Ghana, earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and African studies from Yale and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She plans to combine empirical research and impact litigation to limit the reach, influence, and punitiveness of the carceral state. At Yale, she co-founded the Yale Young African Scholars Program and won the James Gordon Bennett Prize for her senior thesis on the Boko Haram insurgency. After college, she worked at a counterinsurgency-focused think tank and at the Legal Defense and Assistance Project, challenging torture in Nigerian prisons. At Harvard Law School, she was the Supreme Court Co-Chair for the Harvard Law Review, represented defendants as a student-attorney, and, with the Lloyd Gaines Memorial Team, won Harvard’s Ames Moot Court Competition.

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