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Scholar Close-Up: David Vasquez

Scholar Close-Up: David Vasquez

A stint in finance gave David a glimpse of how wealth and capital can catalyze social change.
David Vasquez
Photo: Holly Hernandez

Describe the community that you hope to create with your fellow Knight-Hennessy scholars.

First and foremost, we all aim to create a sense of family as a foundation to everything else we do as a community. Like any family, this undoubtedly means that we will experience triumphs, healthy disagreements, failures, pain, and joy. The key is that we will all share these experiences together and support one another through this new journey.

We also hope to foster real collaboration in support of all our passions and big ideas. Despite our varying backgrounds, there is such a great overlap in the change we want to see in the world and opportunity to work with and help one another to realize those dreams. I look forward to building these partnerships as we learn, share, and grow together.

Lastly, I hope we can create a fun environment. We are all serious about our fields, but I believe it's extremely important for us to leave some time to be a bit silly.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your current academic interests?

My mother is my source of inspiration. As a single mom, she worked late nights and took care of her two children, all while attending college to create a better life for us. She still always found time to help those in our community. Her sacrifices have inspired me to aim high and give back to those who may not have the ability or choice to do better on their own.

My low-income upbringing, and later my stint in finance, has also played a large role in my journey to Stanford. It has given me a glimpse of the power that wealth and capital have in catalyzing social change. I plan to bring that background and skillset together to invest in low income communities and developing nations. By addressing systemic poverty through these means, I hope to be able to continue to bridge the gap between talented individuals and opportunity.

What excites you most about the program as it gets underway?

I am excited about so many elements of the program; however, if I must choose one thing, it would be the spontaneous meet-ups and interactions I hope to have with the rest of the scholars at Denning House. It is truly an amazing group of individuals who bring such a vast perspective to so many different topics. I cannot wait to build lasting friendships with my cohort outside of formal settings. I know I have a lot to learn from them, and in turn hope to do my part in enriching their experiences here at Stanford as well.

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