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UAH alumnus Andrew Couch receives Knight-Hennessy Scholars fellowship at Stanford

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (JUN 26, 2024) – Andrew Couch, an alumnus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), has been chosen as a recipient of the 2024 Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS) fellowship award at Stanford University, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in management science and engineering with a focus on decision and risk analysis.

Couch earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 2022 and a Master of Science in 2023, both in industrial and systems engineering, at UAH, a part of The University of Alabama System. He also received a Bachelor of Science in management from Thomas Edison State University at age 17.

Now Couch is one of 90 scholars selected from 8,272 applicants for the seventh Knight-Hennessy Scholars cohort. According to its website, "scholars receive up to three years of financial support to pursue graduate studies at Stanford while engaging in experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders who address complex challenges facing the world. Scholars are selected based on their demonstration of independence of thought, purposeful leadership, and a civic mindset."

Couch displayed that civic mindset while studying at UAH, where he conducted engineering research in simulation, optimization and engineering design. He says he pursued research on barriers in technology acquisition with "a motivation to uplift enterprises and individuals."

"A critical aspect of research that continues to inspire me is the direct connection between scientific advancement and solving societal challenges," he says. "Resources for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education are lacking in many corners of society, and students lacking exposure to STEM may feel reluctant to pursue a technical career."

In reflecting on his UAH experience, Couch says, "I am delighted for the opportunity to apply engineering principles to solve societal challenges. I hope to make a meaningful difference, both for organizations facing barriers in technology acquisition and for individuals who lack technology access."

During his time at UAH, he took part in STEM outreach trips to schools across North Alabama to promote STEM engagement.

"Using research for positive change is truly inspiring," he says, "and these experiences at UAH have changed my perception on the true value of research."

Couch says he appreciates the Knight-Hennessy Scholars opportunity to expand his horizons. He's also grateful for the role UAH played in his academic development, noting "the insightful guidance offered by the UAH faculty."

One of those UAH faculty members is Dr. Nicholas Loyd, clinical assistant professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, and director, Center for Management and Economic Research.

"I had the privilege of having Andrew in one of my undergraduate classes," Loyd says, "and he was as talented as any undergraduate I've experienced in my 15 years of teaching. I then took him on as a graduate research assistant while he pursued his master's degree."

Couch made a good impression at UAH outside the classroom, too.

"Not only is Andrew a talented student and researcher, but he's also just a pleasant human being," Loyd says. "He is respectful, insightful and eager to learn. I'm proud of him, and he is more than deserving of this elite fellowship. I have no doubt he will be successful in his future endeavors."


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