Skip to main content

Milind Named Knight-Hennessy Scholar

Nikhil Milind ’21, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in genetics at Stanford School of Medicine, adds another prestigious honor to his resume.

Nikhil Milind

NC State’s University Fellowships Office is pleased to announce that Nikhil Milind (Genetics, Computer Science ’21) has been admitted into the 2023 cohort of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, an international graduate-level scholarship program at Stanford University. Knight-Hennessy Scholars receive full funding to pursue any graduate degree at Stanford and have additional opportunities for leadership training, mentorship and experiential learning across multiple disciplines.

“I am most excited by the idea of joining a global community of scholars from across Stanford’s campus,” Milind said. “When I was applying, I imagined that such a community would be a great way to pursue interdisciplinary ideas and goals during my Ph.D. I was convinced of this notion during Immersion Weekend, which is when finalists get to meet each other and the Knight-Hennessy Scholars community. I was thoroughly impressed by the depth and breadth of discussions I had with finalists at dinner tables, small walks and any other brief interlude that we could afford. I am excited to learn from and collaborate with these amazing individuals, and hope to contribute whatever I can in return.”

Originally from Raleigh, N.C., Milind is already at Stanford pursuing a Ph.D. in genetics at the university’s School of Medicine. After receiving bachelor’s degrees in genetics and in computer science — and a minor in mathematics — from NC State, he received a master’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Cambridge while working at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. 

“I was glad to find out that NC State had prepared me well academically,” Milind said. “The classes I took were crucial for my success as a master’s student and continues to provide me with a firm foundation to conduct research as a Ph.D. student.”

Milind aspires to help develop novel therapies for complex diseases using a patient-centric approach. He has gained first-hand experience with his prior work on the genetic basis of Alzheimer’s disease and sepsis. In his first year with the genetics department at Stanford, Milind has completed rotations at Stephen Montgomery and Barbara Engelhardt laboratories and is currently working at Jonathan Pritchard. 

“With Stephen’s lab, I worked on a project looking at high-dimensional data obtained from participants before and after an hour-long bout of exercise,” Milind said. “The goal was to better understand the genetic determinants of response to exercise. In Barbara’s lab, I worked on some interesting methods using a class of statistical models called Gaussian Processes for various biological problems such as spatial alignment and genetic mapping. With Jonathan’s lab, I am currently working to benchmark computational tools used to predict gene expression from DNA sequence. Once I have chosen my advisor(s) in the next few months, I will begin my thesis research! I will likely focus on the genetics of complex traits and diseases in humans.”

The Knight Hennessy Scholarship is the latest in a long list of awards for Milind. He is also the recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

In addition to his coursework, Milind said NC State also prepared him for fellowship opportunities. As an undergraduate, he was a Park Scholar and was involved with Service Raleigh, Musical Empowerment and the Student Conduct Board.

“My experiences as a Park Scholar — especially the leadership development — were critical for the fellowships I applied to down the road,” he said. “In addition, the NC State community also provided me with many diverse avenues to serve my community. I talked about many of these experiences, including my time serving with Service Raleigh and Musical Empowerment, during my interviews for the Knight-Hennessy program.

“Critically, my worldview has been indelibly shaped by the community of students at NC State,” Milind continued. “It was and continues to be inspiring to observe students at NC State exemplifying their own version of ‘Think and Do.’ Students served their communities in their own special ways, and there was nothing that got me more excited about pursuing service and leadership experiences every day at NC State than that!”

To learn more about the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, visit

If you are interested in applying for a prestigious scholarship or fellowship opportunity such as the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, the University Fellowships Office can help. The office helps students identify awards, draft and refine essays and application materials, and acts as a liaison to funding agencies. Fellowship advisors meet with students individually in order to provide unique and appropriate advice. Learn more on the website.