Duke Senior and Duke Alumna Win Knight-Hennessy Scholarships

Scholarship pays for study at Stanford University

Maya Durvasula, Class of 2018, and Jenny Jiao
Maya Durvasula and Jenny Jiao

Duke University students Maya Durvasula, Class of 2018, and Jenny Jiao, Class of 2020, have been awarded the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship.

The award provides full funding for the graduate program of the student’s choosing at Stanford University.

Jiao and Durvasula are part of the third group to be awarded the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship at Stanford.

Jiao will enroll as a law student, while Durvasula will pursue a joint JD/Ph.D. degree in law and economics.

The scholarship arose out of a gift from Nike founder Phil Knight, who seeks to educate scholars “who can out-think, out-work and out-care others.” 

Durvasula, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, attended Duke as a Robertson Scholar and graduated summa cum laude in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She hopes to conduct research at the intersection of law and economics, focused on technology diffusion in low-income contexts.

She is a predoctoral fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, under the mentorship of professor Heidi Williams. Previously, her research has included projects on HIV testing campaigns, household behavior in response to economic shocks and the historical evolution of housing policy.

Durvasula has also worked with USAID on projects assessing the consequences of Indian banknote demonetization. At Duke, she served as president of the Duke Partnership for Service and editor-in-chief of the Duke Political Review. She was named a 2017 Truman Scholar.

Jiao, a senior from Columbus, Ohio, is the first graduating senior from Duke to be awarded the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship. She will pursue a degree at Stanford Law School after graduating in May with a bachelor's degree in economics.

Jiao aspires to become a civil rights lawyer helping marginalized communities. She has researched the effects of predictive policing and racially biased data for Duke Law School and Department of Economics, and volunteered as a guardian ad litem for North Carolina Family Court system.

Jiao has also interned at the Ohio House of Representatives, Legal Aid Society of DC and the New York Attorney General's Civil Rights Bureau. As president of the Duke Debating Society, she and her partner won the 2019 National Debate Championship.

She and Durvasula are the fourth and fifth Knight-Hennessy scholars from Duke.  Alumnus Andrew Leon Hanna, Class of 2014, was awarded the scholarship last year, but deferred admission to the Stanford business school for a year and will join Jiao and Durvasula in the 2020 cohort.