A new tool lets students view a course’s workload and grade distribution and gives researchers a window into student decision-making.

By Jackie Botts

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Illustration: Michele McCammon

Deciding which classes to take is no easy task at a university that offers about 4,000 courses each quarter. But students now have a better idea of what to expect from their courses, thanks to a new platform that harnesses big data to help them explore options.

Launched in August 2016, Carta aggregates information from recent student evaluations and 15 years of registrar records, including each course’s workload and grade distribution. Students can visualize a weekly schedule and compare the intensity of their planned course load with that of previous quarters. …


Identical twins discuss the bonds they share, and the similar paths they have taken.

By Jill Patton
Photography by Toni Bird

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Meet Christopher Yeh

A computer science major talks about sacrifice, purpose and what it’s like to be a twin.


Alumni Lives

Alumnae recognized for engineering, management chops.

By Jill Patton

The news website Business Insider named five Stanford alumnae to its 39 Most Powerful Female Engineers of 2018 list.

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Photo: Courtesy Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Sylvia Acevedo, MS ’83, CEO of the Girl Scouts and a former NASA engineer, who supported the creation of new badges in robotics, coding, engineering and cybersecurity


Alumni Lives

Real-time mental health coaching for teens.

By Diana Aguilera

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Photo: 4.0 Schools

When Ashley Edwards and Alina Liao, both MA ’16, MBA ’16, met in Stanford’s joint MBA/master’s in education program, each was searching for ways to address the critical need for mental health support in schools, especially in low-income neighborhoods. Inspired by the personal stories of loved ones, the two cofounded MindRight, a tech nonprofit that empowers youth of color to heal from trauma caused by violence, poverty and discrimination.

MindRight meets teens where they already are — on their phones — by providing real-time mental health coaching via text message. Once a teen opts in by texting…


Alumni Lives

Podcast digs deep into what makes people shift political views, overcome addiction or recover from racism.

By Jill Patton

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Photo: Courtesy Stephanie Lepp

Come, listen. Hear two men describe how they became violent extremists — one a neo-Nazi, the other a jihadi — and what turned them on to a path
to tolerance. Understand the rise of Roger Ailes protégé Joe Lindsley at Fox News and, in his own words, the cause of his disillusionment and departure. Consider two mothers’ accounts of their children’s gender transitions, and hear a tough-on-crime prosecutor talk about developing empathy.

Independent media producer Stephanie Lepp, ’02, collects such tales for her podcast Reckonings as she examines how people change. “You might be surprised how much…


Alumni Lives

Bossy Spa blog provides readers the emotional support they’ve been missing.

By Jill Patton

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Photo: Mark Simmons

The Bossy Spa started out as a second home for Deborah Simmons, ’85, and a retreat for her sister, Lynnette Chen. Chen would occasionally travel from Arcata, Calif., to tiny Doss, Texas, to take a break from caring for her husband, who has Alzheimer’s.

“When [my sister] visited me, and I asked how she wanted her eggs fixed for breakfast, she held her head in her hands,” Simmons recalls. “ ‘Just decide,’ she said. ‘I don’t want to make any decisions.’ The Bossy Spa was born, where I decided everything for her whole visit.”

Now that her…


Alumni Lives

Former Cardinal players team up in Oakland.

By Sam Scott

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Photos: Courtesy Oakland Athletics (3)

For a moment this summer, the Oakland Athletics boasted a trio of ex-Cardinal stars. Infielder Jed Lowrie, ’06 (left), and right fielder Stephen Piscotty, ’13 (center), were already everyday players when Jeremy Bleich, ’09, got called up in July after a decade toiling in the minors. “We add another Stanford guy,” A’s manager Bob Melvin, a Cal grad, lamented to reporters. “I don’t know how well that sits with me, but that’s OK. . . . It is a great story.” Alas, a week later Bleich was back in Triple A. •

Sam Scott is a senior writer at STANFORD.


Michelle McGrew, ’86, follows her yellow Labrador behind the scenes.

By Diana Aguilera

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Photo: Edmond Kwong/ImageWurx

For nearly two decades, Michelle McGrew, ’86, and her husband, Darin, ’85, have frequented the Tabard Theatre in San Jose, where artists often pass around props and costumes to visually impaired audience members before shows. But in February, McGrew got her first behind-the-scenes experience thanks to her 13-year-old retired guide dog, Garvey. He made his onstage debut this year as Helen Keller’s pet in The Miracle Worker, which tells the story of Anne Sullivan’s relationship with her blind and deaf student. “Who knew he was lying under my chair all those times that we went to see…


After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the former civil rights lawyer began creating provocative works of art from the scans of her own diseased brain.

By Melinda Sacks, ’74

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CAROUSEL: Coronal views of the artist’s brain depict the messiness and chaos of illness.

Elizabeth Jameson wants you to look at her. Really look at her. See her high-tech wheelchair, custom fit to her slender body. See her immobile legs and arms, her carefully folded hands. See her shiny blond hair and her penetrating hazel eyes.

People often look away from those with disabilities, says Jameson, in the same way they avoid talking about illness. But it is time to change that.

Jameson, ’73, who has multiple sclerosis, uses magnetic resonance imaging of her brain to create art that is intended to provoke conversation about illness and disability as part…


Tom Frost was an unlikely pioneer, but his exploits — and ethics — have shaped generations of high achievers.

By Sam Scott
Photography by Tom Frost/Aurora Photos

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the July/August 2014 print edition of STANFORD. Tom Frost died August 24, 2018.

By the time Tom Frost started up El Capitan’s 3,000-foot vertical walls in the fall of 1960, the glory of being the first to scale Yosemite’s most imposing monolith had already been claimed. …

Stanford Magazine

Highlights and extras from Stanford's alumni magazine.

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