Ph.D. student Weici Hu meets fellowship donor Sherri Stuewer ’73 MS ‘75

Weici Hu is the latest recipient of an award sponsored by retired ExxonMobil executive and Cornell Trustee Stuewer.

ORIE is an “awesome place,” said Weici Hu, a second year ORIE Ph.D. student who has received fellowship support resulting from a donation by Sherri Koenig Stuewer ’73, MS ’75.  Hu recently met with Stuewer, who was on campus for a meeting of the Cornell University Council.

Hu hopes eventually to carry out research in industry or possibly academia.  In either case it is important “to know what industry is doing” with respect to research, she said.  At their meeting, Hu was able to discuss the nature of research in industry with Stuewer.  “She was generous with her insights,” on this and other topics, said Hu.

For her part, Stuewer found Hu “to be very genuine and open, and she has a wonderful fresh enthusiasm for her field of study.”  In their meeting Stuewer, who was a Cornell Engineering undergraduate when women comprised only 2% of the entering class, told Hu she wished she had had more support as a beginning Cornell graduate student.

Hu is from Changsa, a city of seven million in Hunan Province, China.  She attended an all-girls secondary school in Singapore.  She was determined to go to a woman’s college in the United States, which turned out to be Smith College in Northampton, Mass., where she majored in mathematics.

Hu is working on a research project related to optimal learning, under the guidance of Assistant Professor Peter Frazier.  Optimal learning strategies are employed in situations, characterized by uncertainty, in which information bearing on decisions is acquired over time.  Such problems arise in a variety of application domains, such as health-care, medicine, biology, and information retrieval.  Hu is working with Frazier on problems for which solutions may appear to be best relative to nearby (“local”) alternatives but are not overall (“global”) optima.

Stuewer recently retired as vice president for environmental and planning at ExxonMobil, where according to Steve Coll’s Private Empire she was an important influence in changing the company’s policies with respect to global warming and sustainability.  She has served Cornell in many ways over the years.  In addition to membership on the Cornell University Council, she is a former member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women and the College of Engineering Advisory Council, which she also chaired, and is an emeritus member of the Cornell Board of Trustees.

Previous recipients of the Stuewer Fellowship are Gwen Spencer and Alice Paul, who together met with Stuewer in the fall of 2012.

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