Prospective Students

Meet Our Students

Student Profiles
Amir Ali Kia

Amir Ali

Matthew Campbell


Melinda J. Cromie

Melinda J.

Jenny Erhart


Andi Kleissner


Gabriel Sanchez


Daniel Clark


Polina A. Segalova

Polina A.

Noe Esparza


Genny Pang


Francisco Olmos


Carissa Carter


Jason Porter


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Amir Ali Kia, PhD student

My Research

Due to nature of my research I've had to work on a variety of problems, or to be more specific, on many aspects of a single problem. Working on purely mathematical methods and techniques for fast computing, developing algorithms to fit and optimize these methods on massively parallel computer clusters and applying these methods to real life problems such as drug design and protein folding are among many experiences that I've had here at Stanford. In addition, to work with experimental people and perform experiments to validate the simulations is a rare opportunity for any person who is working in computational fields.

All in all, one thing that stands out when I think of my ME experience through my four years of PhD study is the chance to explore many aspects of a problem in hand, from pure mathematics to the completely applied side of it.

My group is focused on complex fluids, and my current projects involve langmuir monolayers of fatty alcohols and polymers on an air/water interface. I have also had the opportunity to perform several x-ray diffraction and reflectivity measurements at the advanced photon source at the argonne national laboratory in Chicago.

My dream

I've lost many close members of my family, including my mom, because of cancer. I've been dreaming of a day that I can contribute my knowledge to fight it. However, being in mechanical engineering, it looked like a dream far far away from reality, considering the fact that I was working on computational fluid dynamics for my bachelors and masters. Coming to Stanford as a PhD student and working on a bio-computation research, I find myself now closer than ever to my dream. Although every dream and vision is the start point of any achievement, to get to your goal you need a lot more than a vision. I truly believe that Stanford is a place that can provide you with all the best means to get you to your dream..

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Matthew Campbell, MS ME student

I think one thing I've noticed about Stanford is the incredible collaboration that goes on between groups and disciplines. I just completed a project in which I worked with a journalist, someone from the school of education, and someone from the business school. I'm also working on a year-long design project with a mechanical engineer, two individuals in product design, and four team members from a university in Mexico!

My Research

In Prof. Leifer's design-X research group, we're working on predicting the outcome of teamwork before the team begins working. One person in our group developed a method of predicting group performance based their interactions in the first five minutes of the project. Research like this could vastly improve performance in the working world, because if bad team dynamics are discovered early changes can be made to team membership or interaction style. Another research thrust is understanding how people in the design process communicate, specifically though representations that they employ to share ideas. I'm interested in studying how photography can be used to communicate well and also to help produce new innovative ideas.

Transition to Stanford

The jump from the semester system to the quarter system, combined with the leap from undergraduate to graduate work, is a big one that left me feeling like I was running to catch up. But even in the first week I got involved a group called InterVarsity (IV) and began making friends who could encourage me and give me advice based on their experience. Through IV, I met a variety of graduate students, from those in their first year like me, to those who are in their final year. It's a micro-community that I can fall back on when things get tough, and that reminds me that I can make it

I was really excited when I got an email from an upper-year graduate student in mechanical engineering who said he was here to help me get accustomed to Stanford and graduate life. We went out for lunch a couple times and he's been an incredible resource for advice and knowledge. The peer-advising program that ME @ Stanford does is a great bonus to being here.

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Melinda J. Cromie, PhD student (BME Group)

Standout Stanford ME experience

I especially enjoyed taking ME 298 Silversmithing and Design at the Product Realization Lab. I learned investment casting and various finishing techniques. I made a bronze orchid purse, some silver jewelry, and a silver knight cast from a Lego toy. The instructors were Stanford graduates who started their own business, RedStart Design. They shared with us their passion for design and their experiences from life after Stanford.

My research

I work in Prof. Scott Delp's Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab studying the microscopic structures that generate force in human muscle, called sarcomeres. In collaboration with Prof. Schnitzer's lab, we developed a microendoscopy system which captured the first in vivo images of human sarcomeres. Sarcomeres are the smallest units of muscle tissue that contract to generate force. In some neuromuscular diseases, sarcomeres are altered and the patient experiences debilitating weakness. Sarcomeres are highly sensitive to their loading condition in the body, so to understand normal function and changes with disease, we have to study sarcomeres in the body. These structures are about 20 times smaller than the width of a human hair; much too small to be seen with ultrasound or MRI.

Within sarcomeres, bands of myosin filaments generate an intrinsic optical signal via second harmonic generation (SHG) when stimulated by pulsed laser light. No dyes are required. The excitation and emission light travels to and from the muscle tissue through a tiny rod shaped lens, called a gradient refractive index (GRIN) microendoscope, inside a small needle inserted through the skin. The ability to image sarcomeres in the human body enables a new generation of multiscale biomechanical studies probing the microstructural basis of whole muscle function to examine how muscles change with exercise, disease, and aging.

I enjoy being part of the Biomechanical Engineering community. I've met interesting people who love to think creatively, work hard, and enjoy life. I appreciate the atmosphere of fun, creativity and excellence in my lab group.

Volunteer Service

I recently went to South Asia to support some people working full time there with a service organization. It was inspiring to learn about their work in health training, literacy, and ethnomusicology among the diverse language and culture groups scattered throughout the island. I traveled to a remote mountain village only accessible by small airplane.

I loved seeing village life first hand. I saw grass roofed huts, sloping gardens for subsistence farming, and beautiful jungle mountains on every side. I saw the excitement of the people at the small plane landing on the steep grass runway bringing loved ones, food, and supplies back from the city. I played with the children and learned to count to three in the local dialect. I was touched by the joy and life in the people.

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Jenny Erhart, PhD student (BME Group, Biomotion Lab)

At Stanford, I have had the opportunity to focus on a project that I truly love. Being interested in mechanical engineering and medicine, I was able to combine my engineering background with medical research. Performing a clinical trial of a specially-designed walking shoe to reduce loading on the knee for individuals with knee osteoarthritis has been very gratifying. I have seen the shoe proceed from design and production to clinical testing, and I have seen first-hand the effect it can have on the lives of individuals afflicted with this painful and debilitating disease.

Prior to coming to Stanford, I had never worked in orthopaedics. However, working with my advisor, clinicians, and senior graduate students, I was able to design a PhD project that has been interesting, challenging, and fulfilling since the start. The ability to present my research at conferences all over the United States has allowed me to meet other individuals in the biomechanical engineering field, and to receive helpful feedback about my project. I hope to continue my career in biomechanics, and I know that the project I am working on at Stanford has prepared me for future research.

My Research

As a student focusing on knee research, I never realized how excited I would become working on a project for a company developing a new shunt design for a disease called hydrocephalus. In hydrocephalus, there is abnormal accumulation of fluid in the cavities of the brain. When I began the project I knew nothing about the disease, but when I finished, I felt as if I, along with my team members, had made a significant contribution to help afflicted individuals.

The class I took was ME382 Medical Device Design, and it was the most gratifying course that I took at Stanford. In this class, I worked with four team members to design, test, and develop a plan to market a shunt to detect blockage of fluid in hydrocephalus. We worked on the project for two quarters, discussing our ideas with our mentors from the company, neurological surgeons, and the course directors. ME382 provided a great opportunity to understand how the research process works in an industry setting, and to learn about new diseases and be a part of developing potential solutions. The class provided invaluable lessons on designing and developing medical device ideas from start to finish.

The Active Outdoors Life

Living in Pennsylvania my entire life, I never imagined living somewhere that nearly every day of the week I could be active outside. But at Stanford, you can! Through classes I met a great group of friends, and together we have experienced much of what the Bay Area has to offer (although I'm sure I still have a lot more to see!). We've taken camping trips all over the area, hiked through the redwoods, skied in Tahoe during the winters, tubed down the American and Truckee rivers during the summers, gone to artichoke and garlic festivals (yes, they do exist), and explored San Francisco. I also discovered a love for running, and Stanford is a great area for it! Since coming to Stanford I've done a number of full and half marathons, many with two of my very good friends from Stanford. I also found a new love for biking, and the Bay Area has some of the most amazing rides Ė all accessible right from campus. I know that I will always look back very fondly on my time at Stanford, and if life takes me to another area, I'll miss the wonderful weather here!

I really have loved my time at Stanford, and I have been very fortunate to find an advisor who is supportive and wants his students to succeed, and to make great friends through the ME department.

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Andi Kleissner, BS student

How do you go from 1 part to 1 million? In the Stanford Product Realization Lab, I learned to use a milling machine and a lathe. I manufactured my own product and I even learned about the manufacturing landscape in the United States. Still, the link between my Apple Computer and the millions in Apple Stores throughout the world was not clear. I wanted to learn everything - innovative processes, tooling design, manufacturing in Asia, in Africa, treatment of factory workers, regulatory hurdles to mass production...

My Research

Two summers ago I conducted some field studies. I visited A to Z, a bed net manufacturer in Tanzania; KickStart, a water pump manufacturer in Kenya; and Bruh-Tesfa, a drip irrigation factory in Ethiopia. In mid-August, I combined my academic perspective and field studies in a trip to China. I joined Professor Dave Beach and Ph.D. student Lawrence Neeley on a trip to learn more about manufacturing in and around Shenzhen. Our visits to Merida, Velo, Greenwood Metal Stamping, and others allowed us to capture video, tapes, and stills - which we are now using to augment the Stanford manufacturing curriculum.

While in China, Bob Margevicius, VP of Specialized, gave me lessons on the inside track: China's complex regulatory environment; why Full Force was Specialized's last merchant deal; how Costco can afford to markup bikes by only eight percent; and why Specialized chooses to work with Taiwanese-owned ventures. I observed and documented a range of processes, from fiber glass and prepreg manufacturing to hydro-forming and saddle manufacturing. Greenwood Metal Stamping even shared their latest innovation for "welding" metal to plastic: nanoforming. Back in the conference room of Advanced Forming Technologies, Mr. Sigh laid a welded and hydroformed metal bike fork on the table. Whiteboard pens started flying and hands waved passionately through the air. How could we make the fork without welding? Thoughts of triple extrusion and strategic cutting gave way to talk of 3D forging.

Scott Bowie of Zao Technology, described how critical the soft skills are to making manufacturing deals. Social interaction is just as important as the technical and design process when it comes to innovations in manufacturing. This means not only listening to, observing and learning from their factory process, but also sharing over the dinner table (an important part of Chinese culture). Most important, never underestimate the value that a good manufacturer can contribute to the design phase.

Social impact

I am passionate about the positive impact that engineering can have in uplifting those in poverty. Between my Junior and Senior years at Stanford, I decided to take a year abroad to work for social ventures. I spent one month in eastern Africa, looking at and learning about water pumps, malaria bed net, and drip irrigation technologies. Then I spent the next nine months working in Sri Lanka developing and improving biomass gasification units for rural grid systems and working in India to expand manufacturing of improved bicycle rickshaws across India.

Now that I am back at Stanford for my senior year, I am staying engaged in social impact by helping run a social business plan competition: BASES Social Entrepreneurship Challenge. I recruit mentors for our competing teams, in the areas of health, environment, education, and media.

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Gabriel Sanchez, PhD student (Biomechanical Engineering Group)

As a student who went straight from undergraduate to graduate school, I worried I would miss out on the real world experience others obtain by working a year or two before pursuing an MS degree. When I arrived at Stanford, I was surprised by how many opportunities existed to obtain industry experience outside of the classroom. In my second year at Stanford, I replied to an email from the Stanford Biodesign program requesting an engineer to aid with the design of a novel medical device. After interviewing with a few of the Biodesign fellows, I was asked to join the team and serve as lead engineer on the project. I have been working with the group ever since and gained experience in many aspects of the medical device development process. I have been involved with our IP, the search for VC and Angel funding, numerous animal trials, and very soon we will begin our first human clinical trial. The fact that Stanford grants us access to its facilities and funding in support of our research efforts is very unique and rewarding.

My Research

I currently perform research in the NeuroMuscular Biomechanics Laboratory with Professor Scott Delp. We are developing a new technology that allows real-time imaging of human muscle sarcomeres, the contractile units that enable muscle function.

We want to image human sarcomeres because muscle performance is directly related to sarcomere length changes. With this tool we can study muscles affected by various neuromuscular disease states in an effort to improve the efficacy of current surgical interventions and treatments.

The development of this system has required a mix of optical and mechanical design, along with some small scale machining and custom parts fabrication. At present, we can reliably image human sarcomeres in the muscles of the upper forearm.

With this technology we can begin to characterize the normal operating ranges of sarcomeres in these muscles, and then see how they vary in diseased patients. Our next goal is to miniaturize the technology and increase its versatility so we can image muscles in the thigh and shank, which are of great importance to the treatment of cerebral palsy and the development of accurate simulations of human walking and running.

My journey to Stanford

I am originally from Belen, New Mexico, a small city in the Rio Grande Valley. My family is intensely involved with farming and ranching, and for five years we actually lived on our cattle ranch near Socorro. I attended high school in Albuquerque, which required a seventy mile commute each way. Ranch life involves a lot of work, and it was there that I received my first introduction to machinery and mechanical devices. We lived off the grid, generating our own power with a propane generator, solar panels, a wind generator, and batteries for storage.

My interest in machinery and engineering led me to MIT, where I received a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2005. At Stanford, I perform research that mixes mechanical design with biomedical applications. In addition to the traditional aspects of research such as reading journal articles and analyzing data, I spend a great deal of my time prototyping new devices and testing them on animals and humans. When I'm not doing research, I like to run the many trails on and around the Stanford campus.

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Daniel Clark , MS ME student (Depths in Biomedical Devices/Design)

Something that really struck me coming from a small liberal-arts college to do graduate work at Stanford was not only the size of the department - but the flexibility built into the system to really be able to explore areas of interest. I have really found it exciting to be placed on corporate and government projects as a team of engineers but yet have access to solutions and people that would not be an option outside of the academic setting. Finally, at Calvin College, where I completed my undergraduate degree, there were several faculty members who were wonderful mentors Ė that has continued here at Stanford. I am very grateful for that.

My Research

What comes to mind when you are told to develop an "Artificial Trainer"? How about in a car? What does artificial mean? Trainer? Now put that together with an international team of eight engineers, a prototype, testbed car, a budget, and a year of development? That's the situation I found myself in during my first year here as a graduate student. It was invigorating to be able to spend time practically applying classwork to industry sponsored problems Ė problems where innovative solutions are valued. OK, so how can you fit artificial, trainer, and car in the same sentence? First, monitor wheel speed sensors, accelerometers, and myriad other data. Next process them in real time on a dedicated on-board computer and constantly compare the actual results with a continuously updated model of what the car is doingÖmeanwhile feed back this information on tire tractions, over / under steering, and accelerations to the driver while adjusting their seat actively to fit changing road conditions. Oh yes, and don't forget to pass on that road information to the other cars on the road!

My journey to Stanford

I had never anticipated going to college. I finished my FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic's license and worked my way up through the Commercial pilot's license. I was involved in several projects from working on putting together experimental aircraft to rebuilding wrecked airplanes. Certainly this was interesting but in aviation a mechanic has a lot of "lookup" tables. Those charts that say, for example, how many rivets need to be installed in order to repair a crack. What this left was a question of "why?" So that's when the opportunity came for me to go to college in engineering I excitedly jumped in. That quest for "why" ultimately led me here.

I am also involved in the university amateur radio station W6YX Ė the oldest student club on campus. Apart from the technical side of life, I'm an active member of the Intervarsity Graduate Student Christian Fellowship on campus and enjoy working with youth at my Baptist church.

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Polina A. Segalova, PhD student (Biomechanical Engineering Group)

I've been very impressed with the breadth of Stanford's ME Department, in terms of coursework, research areas, and, most importantly, the people I get to interact with on a daily basis. In two years at Stanford, my ME classes have ranged from fluid mechanics to medical devices. I've also taken advantage of the flexibility within the curriculum to complete coursework in other departments, bringing even more variety to my class schedule. When I first started thinking about joining a lab at Stanford, the number of possibilities was somewhat overwhelming. Luckily, first-year graduate students thinking of pursuing a PhD are encouraged to do quarterly lab rotations to get a first-hand account of the variety of research conducted within ME. Although there are many strengths within Stanford's ME program, the aspect that's impressed me the most are my peers - their intelligence and enthusiasm is a source of inspiration.

My Research

I got hooked on the field of medical devices during my first quarter at Stanford because to me it's the perfect balance between an engineering challenge and a possibility to drastically improve (and in some cases, save) a person's life. I joined the Cardiovascular Biomechanics Research Laboratory at the end of my first year at Stanford because I wanted to focus on the science critical to medical devices. My current research focuses on a device to treat ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms, a dangerous enlargement of one of the body's major blood vessels. In order to create an implantable device for this part of the anatomy, the forces and dynamics within the vessel have to be quantified. By using medical imaging, I am able to monitor the deformation of this blood vessel in time, My work is sponsored by a major medical device company, so I know my research is being put to good use and the relationships I form will serve me well once I finish my degree.

When I made my decision to come to Stanford

I was excited to attend a world-class institution and to start a new chapter in my life. As such, I was expecting a university-wide welcome for all graduate students, but the only welcome I got my first day on campus was a folder with countless information about Stanford life. I was disappointed that there was no official mark to start the new year and no organized opportunity to meet people outside my department. The following summer, I helped put together a campus-wide New Graduate Students Orientation which has now been successfully run for two years. Working on this program was an incredibly rewarding experience that let me learn more about how the university works.

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Noe Esparza, PhD student (Design Group)

Amazing People

I originally came to Stanford for my BS and then stayed around for my MS and now PhD all in mechanical engineering. One of the main reasons why I continually chose Stanford again and again was the people. The people are the most amazing part of my ME experience at Stanford. From the students and faculty to the staff, the ME department is filled with distinctive people with unique experiences and backgrounds. Within the students I have found great friends and strong academic peers. My fellow ME students are the ones who have supported and pushed me to achieve even greater things than I thought possible. The faculty has provided a major area of support and insight into my research and academic growth. Our faculty is extremely approachable and supportive of collaboration between fields. The ME staff has always been friendly, a great information resource and helpful in any way they can.

ME218 Smart Product Design

Since I was a young child I have always loved building things and learning how things work. As I grew I continued to tinker and mechanical engineering seemed a great fit for my interest. But current devices integrate more and more electronics into them, which is not necessarily a primary part of a ME background. The ME218 Smart Product Design sequence bridged that gap for me by not only indulging my love for tinkering but also expanding my skills in electronics. Every quarter of the sequence culminated in a final project, which ranged from interactive displays to autonomous robots competing against one another. At the end of the sequence, between my mechanical engineering background and the skills I gained from ME218, I felt that I could make anything I needed or interface with any device. These skills which I gained are essential in my research into biologically-inspired robotics. Post-ME218, I have all the skills necessary to build my own robotic platforms and experimental test systems and interface with a variety of sensors. Overall, the ME218 sequence greatly expanded my capabilities as an engineer.

Finding a "Family" at Stanford

I grew up in La Puente, California (one of many cities in Los Angeles). My parents emigrated from Mexico when they were teenagers in search of greater opportunity than their small towns provided. As my parents raised my sister and me, they made sure to instill in us the importance of education, hard work and family. It was these ethics that later helped me thrive at Stanford.

I originally applied to Stanford for undergrad on a whim. Not many from my high school had ever gone to top-tier universities, but with the reassurance of my family and friends I applied. Once admitted and attending at Stanford, I was pleasantly surprised by not only the caliber of education but also the sense of family I was able to find. Through my involvement in El Centro Chicano and organizations like the Stanford Society of Chicano/Latinos Engineers and Scientists (SSCLES), I was able to find a family that supported me and helped me succeed.

As I was finishing my BS in ME and thought that I had seen all that Stanford had to offer, I was exposed to exciting research opportunities. With my interest piqued, I decided to continue onto the Masters program and then on to my PhD. Even as a graduate student I stay engaged within the Stanford community through my involvement in the Latino Engineering Graduate Organization at Stanford (LEGOS).

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Genny Pang, PhD student (Thermosciences)

Exciting Variety

When I think of my ME experience at Stanford, I think about all the opportunities I've had to learn about a variety of different things. My engineering coursework has covered subjects ranging from combustion fundamentals to human interactive robotics. I've also participated in many of the nontraditional engineering courses that Stanford offers, such as designing the next Tech Challenge for middle and high school students, and a seminar on women's perspectives in engineering. Furthermore, Stanford also offers many extra-curricular courses, where I've been able to take classes such as Chinese, dance, tennis, and even voice lessons! I've been able to learn so much from all that Stanford has to offer.

My Research

Have you ever wondered how people design car engines, or power turbines, or rockets? These are all combustion devices, for which a proper chemical kinetic model is required for efficient design. My research in the Professor Hanson's group involves generating these accurate chemical kinetic models for combustion of different fuels. A chemical kinetic model describes exactly what happens when a fuel reacts with an oxidizer, including all the molecular collisions that take place and all the intermediate species that are formed, and it describes how the energy of the system changes in time. Most of my work involves designing experiments to accurately measure certain reaction rates in a chemical model.

A Welcoming Group

My transition to Stanford was made very easy by such a welcoming research group. With our first-year post-midterm hikes, Thursday night social outings, and what seems to me like one of the largest lab group lunch crews on campus, I've always felt like I've had people to turn to. We've competed in triathlons together, planed multiple ski trips, and hiked to the top of Yosemite's Half Dome. We've even started the frequent Hanson group blood drive to help me get over my fear of giving blood.

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Francisco Olmos


Why I Chose Stanford

I chose Stanford because I felt it fit my personality almost exactly. From talking to students and graduates, I realized it was a laid back campus that was still full of intellectual discourse. Also knowing that Stanford had one of the best engineering schools in the country put it at the top of my list. People seemed to enjoy what they were studying and many were making breakthrough discoveries with their professors. Plus I didnít think I could ever leave the California weather.

What I Work On

I am currently very active with SSCLES, the Stanford Society of Chicano and Latino Engineers and Scientists. Through this group I participate in design competitions where we create a proposal for a new invention, and then if we are selected as finalists we receive some funding to create a prototype. Last year we created a prototype of a magnetic blackboard and presented it at a conference in Denver. Besides working on technical projects such as these, I am also in the process of writing and editing an article on the circle and how it has influenced human experience, both physically and psychologically, throughout time.

What's Great About Studying Here

The resources available here are astounding. Professors who are experts in their respective fields are willing to help you with anything, especially if itís something that you are pursuing thatís out of class work. The library is stocked with almost anything you would ever need, from rare books to a wide variety of DVDs. You canít really beat the variety of people you meet here, all with their own interesting and unique life stories. This campus is full of the brightest minds and has created an atmosphere where they can really thrive. I feel honored to be a part of this community.

What I Hope to Do

I am still not quite sure what I want to do once I graduate. I am currently considering Law School, and hopefully my summer internship will give me a better idea of what to expect. Since I am so technically inclined, I feel like I would likely go into patent law and deal with new advances in technology. I am also contemplating co-terming here and receiving a Masters in Product Design. The introductory project based classes that I have taken so far have really sparked my interest in the entire product creation process, from initial idea to constant prototyping to finally creating an efficient and aesthetically pleasing working model.

Carissa Carter, PhD Student

ME, Stanford Microfluidics Laboratory

Why I Chose Stanford

Three years ago, I was a geologist. I'd finished my undergraduate and graduate degrees in geomorphology, and was working on sedimentology research at the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The jump from geology to design sounds big, but I have been lucky to have worked with a number of brilliant and inspiring people that always pushed me to explore new directions with my research. When I realized that my interests spanned beyond the bounds of the geosciences, my mentors and family encouraged me to find a place to incubate. I applied to Stanford because of its unique program in design, not found at other universities. With a curriculum that merges engineering, art, and the physical and social sciences, the Stanford Design Program was the ideal choice for my MS, and now PhD in engineering-design.

What I Work On

My research is on emergent design. Designers, engineers, politicians, and others who make decisions that affect a large number of people need to know the nature of the issues affecting their constituents, and be able to make design decisions to create widespread change. Emergent design accesses the stories and experiences of millions, and looks for unexpected themes and dynamics that arise. My research involves building emergent design methodologies and toolsets, as well as processing the data and using the collected information to deliver design solutions.

What's Great About Studying Here

My experience at Stanford has fundamentally changed my way of thinking. I have learned to build and create in new dimensions and approach problems with a broad mindset. Most importantly, I continue to meet and interact with amazing faculty, students, and industry experts that challenge me every day. I am always impressed with the people and resources around me.

What I Hope to Do

I would love to bring emergent design to a level where we can use it for large-scale change. There are numerous complex andgrand world problems. Many people have experiences and stories to tell about these issues. I hope to harness their experiences and create a space where people are connected by perception. In terms of my future, I am a fan of experiences. I would like to continue to take advantage of new and exciting opportunities as they come along. I see myself working both in and out of academia. My dream is to be inspiring enough to speak at TED.

Jason Porter, PhD Student

ME, Stanford Microfluidics Laboratory

Challenging, Rewarding Courses with Outstanding Classmates The graduate level courses in the thermosciences at Stanford were some of the most challenging yet rewarding classes Iíve ever taken. The instructors compress 15 weeks of traditional material into Stanfordís 10-week quarter. My classmates included not only some of the brightest American students, but the brightest students from India, China, Korea, etc. Working alongside such talented students was at times humbling, but also very rewarding. Teamwork is essential in this challenging environment, and lifelong friendships were forged through many hours of group study. I was amazed at how much I was able to learn my first year.

My Research

Stanford attracts research funding from the best companies in the world, as well as research grants from the top national funding agencies. Because of Stanfordís reputation, companies entrust student researchers with challenging problems that are key to their success as a company. My graduate project for Nissan Motor Co. included designing state-of-the-art laser-diagnostics needed to develop a new generation of cleaner, more efficient automobile engines. We partnered with one of the best laser-based sensor companies in the world to design, build, test, and deliver a product that is now used in Nissanís engine research group. Many technical challenges arose while developing the sensor, which required fundamental science and engineering breakthroughs to overcome. I was given the freedom to pursue solutions to these challenges using world class research facilities.

Great Environment For My Family

As a husband and father, the family environment at the university was an important consideration in choosing a graduate program. Of the top three engineering schools, Stanford has the best family housing and programs by far. My children attend some of the best preschools and elementary schools in the country. The on-campus family housing offers enclosed courtyards the size of football fields with manicured lawns, play structures, and paved paths. These courtyards are truly international; my children play with kids from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Perhaps the best part of pursuing a PhD here are the memories that my children will have of growing up at Stanford.