Cap and Gown Leader Award Recipients 2020-21

On the evening of  On Thursday,  Nov. 18, 2021, we hosted the Cap and Gown Leader Award Ceremony over Zoom in which recipients, families, students, and alumnae were able to join us.  The Cap and Gown Leader Award honors demonstrated leadership, academic achievement, and commitment and contribution to Stanford and the community at large. We are extremely proud to introduce to you our eight 2020-21 Leader Award recipients below, which were inducted into Cap and Gown as lifetime members:   Julia Simon Julia Simon is a senior at Stanford originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. Julia is passionate about sustainability and water conservation and treatment to create a cleaner and more equitable future. On campus, she has served as the Co-Director of Students for a Sustainable Stanford, and she has been heavily involved in the Society of Black Scientists and Engineers on campus, who she now serves in addition to the entirety of the Western region of the National Society of Black Engineers as the Region VI Programs Chair. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, golfing, and writing.          Meg Richey Meg Richey is the Co-President of Cap and Gown and a former Mentorship Chair, as well as Intern for Cap and Gown. She is a Cameron Impact Scholar majoring in Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence and a minor in Econ. She has previously worked for the Department of Defense and Booz Allen Hamilton and has received two provisional patents for her work in wearable technology and women’s safety.           Megha Parwani Megha Parwani is a rising senior interested...

Finding the Story and Crafting your Own: A Day in the Life of a CNN Reporter

In May 2021 and in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, Stanford Cap and Gown hosted a virtual discussion with CNN national correspondent and Stanford Cap and Gown alumna, Natasha Chen.  Natasha is a national correspondent for CNN based in Atlanta, GA. Her reporting experience has put her at the heart of major national stories from the impact of COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter protests to anti-Asian hate crimes. While an undergraduate at Stanford, Natasha majored in Psychology and was an active member of Mixed Co Acapella, the Stanford Film Society, and the Fall ’03 Study Abroad cohort at Oxford. There were over 80 students and alumni at the virtual event  where Natasha highlighted the following topics. A Day in the Life of a Traveling Field Correspondent Her Path to her Career at CNN The Role of Storytelling in the Modern World Race Relations Reporting Being an Asian American Woman in Journalism The importance of Mentorship A particularly poignant part of Natasha’s remarks centered around why we are so concerned with thinking things in a normal, linear conventional way?  Your weird thing connects you with your tribe and it helps you stand out and be memorable.  Make sure your choices are uniquely and weirdly yours.  This resonated with the audience who were enthralled with Natasha’s remarks, lessons learned and sage advice to all women.  Stanford Cap and Gown was honored to host one of our most successful virtual events with many thanks to our very own – Natasha...

Ask an Alum: Careers are Marathons, Not Sprints

Kathy Chou:  Careers are Marathons, Not  Sprints – How to Manage Your Career Across Your Lifetime Cap and Gown Ask An Alum Series – May 28, 2020 by Ellen Merrick Petrill, ’77, ’78 In this first event of three Cap and Gown Ask An Alum virtual events, Cap and Gown member Kathy Ko Chou, ’85, ’86, spoke about the long view of careers and shared her experiences to demonstrate that making a choice today is just one of many decisions you will make about your career, family, and your life.  The Ask an Alum series was organized by Cap and Gown Alumnae Board members Eleanor Walker ‘15, Nancy Wenke Price ‘80, and Carol Benz ‘85. Kathy Chou graduated Stanford in 1985 (BS Mechanical Engineering) and 1986 (MS Manufacturing Systems Engineering.)  Kathy has been a member of the Cap and Gown Alumnae Board for decades, as past president and currently vice president.  Kathy is Senior Vice President of Sales Strategy and Operations at VMware.  In addition, Kathy has donated time to Stanford University as a Stanford Associate, Stanford Alumni Association and chair of the committee to appoint University trustees, and on the President’s search committee.  Kathy talked about her story over the 35 years since she graduated from Stanford.  “My 35-year reunion is coming up.  It reminds me, it IS a marathon!”  She talked about the marathon of our careers, the bright side of failure, taking risks, and work-life balance.  She emphasized how important it is to know your strengths and what is important to you so you can have your cake and eat it too.  Kathy talked us through her...

Ask an Alum: Building Communities in Uncertain Times

Cap and Gown Ask an Alum Series #3,  June 11, 2020 Building Communities in Uncertain Times by Ellen Merrick Petrill, ’77, ’78 On June 11, 2020, Stanford Cap and Gown invited members and guests to join the final of three virtual events in our Ask and Alum series.  This event focused on building community, featuring Negin Behzadian, ’17, MS 18, Vinita Kailasanath,BA MS  ’04, JD ’10, and Beppie Weintz Cerf, ’79.  Over 45 people participated to hear about building community and joined in breakouts to share their questions and experiences.     In this event, these Cap and Gown leaders exemplified how each of us find our way to make a difference in our surroundings by building community.  They talked about finding community, building work relationships, being intentional, and using social media apps.  Breakout groups met afterward and shared experiences and discussed opportunities with each other.  The participants of this Ask an Alum event each took away examples of how they could make a difference in their communities as well.    About our alumnae speakers: Negin, BS Bioengineering ’17, MS Electrical and Electronics Engineering ’18, now living in the Los Angeles area, is an Electrical Engineer focusing on streamlining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) conditional labeling of cardiac implantable medical devices at Abbott Labs, building on research and experience at GE and Stanford in medical devices and medical imaging physics and engineering.           Vinita, BA Human Biology ’04, MA Biological Sciences ’04, JD ’10, mother of two and living in Palo Alto, is a Partner with law firm Arnold & Porter, focusing on commercialization and protection of intellectual...

Ask An Alum: Lessons from Graduating in the Great Recession

Cap and Gown Ask an Alum Series #1, May 14, 2020 Kathryn Kilner:  Lessons from Graduating in the Great Recession By Ellen Petrill, Eleanor Walker, and Kathryn Kilner The word unprecedented was thrown around regularly in 2020. The year brought great uncertainty and chaos as we grappled with a global pandemic, an economic recession, social unrest, and political division. While the exact factors and combination of scenarios may be unique, there have been other times of great uncertainty and challenge that we can learn from as we navigate through our current environment.  With that in mind, Cap and Gown invited Kathryn Kilner, Stanford ’08, to share about her experiences graduating in a recession for our first Ask An Alum event. Kathryn is a past president of the Cap and Gown Alumni Board and current executive committee member. Professionally, she is a technology marketer and currently works at Tableau leading global go-to-market programs. Here are some of the takeaways and nuggets of wisdom Kathryn shared when she spoke to 35 Cap and Gown members and guests about her experiences graduating into a recession.  Kathryn was a member of the distinguished class of 2008 at Stanford, double majoring in History and Human Biology.  She quipped, “I didn’t get the memo that most who claim as sophomores that they will do double majors drop one before they graduate.  I was obsessed with completing both my majors.”   Kathryn also minored in Dance and led the Cardinal Ballet.  Kathryn worked so hard up until the day of graduation senior year that she admitted, “I wasn’t able to complete a sentence on June 15,...