Texas Engineering students Hannah Lee and Aditi MerchantCockrell School of Engineering graduates Hannah Lee and Aditi Merchant are recipients of this year’s Knight-Hennessy Scholarship. Among the most prestigious student awards in higher education, the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship funds graduate studies at Stanford University and provides leadership training, workshops, projects and travel opportunities for its recipients.

Merchant and Lee, both 2023 Cockrell graduates, are two of only 85 scholars from around the world who were selected this year. More than 7,000 candidates competed globally. Scholars receive up to three years of financial support to pursue graduate studies while engaging in experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous and collaborative leaders who address global challenges.

“Congratulations to Aditi and Hannah on their selection as Knight-Hennessy Scholars,” said Roger Bonnecaze, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “We’re proud to call you Texas Engineering alumnae and look forward to seeing what you’ll do in the future.”

Aditi Merchant
Aditi Merchant, from Austin, Texas, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. At UT Austin, Merchant developed nanoparticles for the delivery of RNA and CRISPR therapeutics to the brain. She also co-founded Big & Mini, a nonprofit that connects older adults and college students to combat loneliness. Her work with Big & Mini has reached over 10,000 individuals globally and has been featured in more than 50 media outlets, including The Today Show. She is a Forty Acres and Stamps Scholar, Gen2Gen Fellow, Guleke Student Excellence Award Recipient and Austin Inno 25 Under 25 honoree for 2023.

Merchant will pursue a Ph.D. in bioengineering with an interest in improving the quality of life for older adults through both a scientific and social lens.

Hannah Lee
Hannah Lee, from Frisco, Texas, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering. At UT Austin, she conducted research in rapid stroke and skin cancer diagnosis, EEG source localization, multimodal brain imaging, and noninvasive neurostimulation. She also worked on creating a full-size solar racing vehicle as the electrical lead of Longhorn Racing Solar, and she pursued her passion for teaching and mentoring through the Women in Engineering Program, UT SEEK, Breakthrough Austin, and in her role as a teaching assistant. Lee is an Astronaut Scholar, a recipient of the Virginia and Ernest Cockrell Jr. Scholarship in Engineering and the all-time highest scorer in Academic Decathlon.

She will pursue a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.

There are 85 new scholars in the 2023 cohort, representing 29 countries and 38 graduate degree programs. For more information on the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, visit the program website.

If you’re interested in learning more about fellowship opportunities for UT Austin students, please reach out to the Office of Distinguished and Postgraduate Scholarships at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..