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Episode 9: How art drives scientific discovery

Vidal Arroyo (2022 cohort), a PhD student in biophysics, shares his journey to Stanford as a first-generation college student and his passion for biophysics, poetry, and music.
KHS logo with "Imagine A World" as text on a blue and red background

In this week’s episode, Vidal Arroyo, who's pursuing a PhD in biophysics, takes us through his journey to Stanford as a first-generation college student and his passion for biophysics, poetry, and music. He opens up about mental health, his faith, and the importance of creativity and joy in science.

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Photo by Micaela Go

Vidal Arroyo (2022 cohort), from Las Flores, California, is pursuing a PhD in biophysics at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences. He graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and earned a master's degree in statistics from the University of Oxford. As a humanitarian-scientist, Vidal aspires to pioneer new scientific frontiers in order to bring joy and healing to others. He has performed computational biology research in labs at Baylor College of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Oxford Big Data Institute.

At Chapman, he founded Chapman STEMtors in order to inspire the next generation of scientists among underprivileged students. He is Chapman University’s first Rhodes Scholar, a PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholar, and a recipient of the Cecil F. Cheverton Award at Chapman.


two men wearing imagine a world t-shirts seated on stairwell

Imagine A World is hosted by Willie Thompson, left, and Taylor Goss, right. Photo by Micaela Go.

Taylor Goss (2021 cohort), from Lacassine, Louisiana, is pursuing an MA in music, science, and technology and an MPP in public policy at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences. He graduated with college honors from Louisiana State University with bachelor's degrees in music and entrepreneurship. Taylor aspires to connect musicians and policymakers, using the arts to communicate societal needs and provoke policy change.

Willie Thompson (2022 cohort), from Griffin, Georgia, is pursuing a master's degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He graduated summa cum laude from Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in Chinese Studies. He intends to create and contribute to organizations using the arts as a conduit for community building and intercultural education.

Imagine A World's theme music was composed and recorded by Taylor Goss. The podcast was originally conceived and led by Briana Mullen (2020 cohort), Taylor Goss, and Willie Thompson, along with Daniel Gajardo (2020 cohort) and Jordan Conger (2020 cohort).

Special thanks to Sanaa AlamRachel DeschSydney Hunt, Chan LeemKara SchechtmanTakondwa Priscilla Semphere, and Rahul Thapa.

Knight-Hennessy scholars represent a vast array of cultures, perspectives, and experiences. While we as an organization are committed to elevating their voices, the views expressed are those of the scholars, and not necessarily those of KHS.

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