President Hennessy writes to parents of juniors

September 2015

Dear Stanford junior parent,

In the junior year, Stanford students expand their outlook. Many study overseas or on Stanford campuses in New York City and Washington, D.C. Juniors consider opportunities to conduct research, pursue honors or enrich their studies with a minor. They work closely with their faculty mentors and often become mentors themselves—serving as residence staff members or leading campus organizations. This year, they gain a broader perspective and begin to think about their future.

Recent expansions in majors, minors and overseas study will be of strong interest. For example, this year we are offering a new minor in Global Studies. Students focus on a specific world area, such as African Studies, European Studies, Iranian Studies, Islamic Studies, Latin American Studies and South Asian Studies. The minor also prepares them for the Global Studies Internship Program. This summer, student interns worked in Belgium, Croatia and Cambodia, among several other countries.

CS+X, the new computer science and humanities joint major, expands to 14 options this year to include Computer Science + Art Practice, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, French, German Studies, History, Iberian and Latin American Cultures, Italian, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, Slavic Languages and Literatures and Spanish. Stanford’s synthesis of technology and the humanities is generating innovative learning and scholarship. It is also fueling an emerging field—the digital humanities. Students thinking about CS+X may want to consider the new Digital Humanities minor, launching this fall.

Juniors unable to fit study abroad into their academic year now have two summer options available to them through the Bing Overseas Studies Program. The program in Cape Town, South Africa, focuses on community-engaged learning, and this summer students also explored the arts. In Santiago, Chile, the focus is on the environment and international relations.

Many juniors participate in the annual Symposia of Undergraduate Research and Public Service (SURPS) held during Reunion Homecoming and Admit weekends. SURPS is an opportunity for students to present their research, public service, and creative work to a broader audience. The experience often inspires juniors to develop a senior capstone project or pursue honors, which can lead to rewarding collaboration with faculty and staff mentors.

The junior year is also a time when many students begin to think about their future careers. There are robust resources to support them. Students with pre-law, pre-health, pre-education and pre-business interests can get assistance from Pre-Professional Advisors in the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research.

Career educators in the Career Development Center, recently renamed BEAM (Bridging Education, Ambition, and Meaningful Work), help students explore career paths, identify and apply for opportunities, and cultivate personal networks. This year, the center launched Handshake, an online platform that connects students directly with employers, events and opportunities. Handshake is part of a new model of career services that will better meet the needs of today’s students.

In closing, I want to thank you for your generosity and support of Stanford. More than 20 percent of Stanford parents have contributed to The Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education. Parents of the Class of 2017 cumulatively have given more than $2,479,504. This is especially important given the increased need for financial aid. Thank you for your commitment to Stanford and your support of our students.


John L. Hennessy