Student spotlight: Pierce Lowary

Pierce Lowary

Pierce Lowary graduated this year with a degree in computer science and a minor in global studies (with a specialization in Iranian studies).

“I'd say that my minor, in addition to all the interdisciplinary exploration I did at Stanford, has added a lot of nuance to my thinking,” he said. “Although our societies today are polarized, the national and international challenges we face, and are bound to face, require some tricky solutions. Additionally, there's so much we can learn from the past and such a wealth of insight hidden in fields I used to overlook, like literature and poetry. I hope to bring the knowledge I've gained to bear and team up with a diverse array of people to tackle these issues.”

Below, he shares why he decided to minor in Iranian studies, his favorite class at Stanford, and his plans following graduation.

What was your degree program and area of study? Why did you choose it?

I chose computer science so as to gain an engineering background useful for a career in cybersecurity. I also minored in Iranian studies and took a good amount of national and internationally-focused coursework. It's interesting because Stanford is so focused on tech and Silicon Valley, but I think it's impossible to attack some of our biggest challenges these days from a purely technical perspective. I lean heavily on interdisciplinary perspectives, and I think they can bring so much to the table.

Tell us your favorite major/minor-related story or experience.

One of my favorite experiences was taking Professor Bahram Beyzaie's course on contemporary Iranian theater. Although unfortunately Professor Beyzaie was not able to join us in class, I still very much enjoyed learning about Iranian cinema and plays as they have evolved through the 20th century. I feel this class was able to give me new points of connection with my Persian relatives, and a greater understanding of Iran's zeitgeist pre- and post- Islamic Revolution. I also can't complain about French/Persian cooking and the delicious food we made!

As you reflect on your time at Stanford, what are you most proud of?

I feel as though I have grown immensely since first stepping foot on Stanford's campus nearly five years ago. Over that time, I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most passionate, interesting, and all-around incredible friends, faculty, and staff – people who push you to better yourself as a person and break away from the comforts of what you perceive yourself capable of. I owe so much of my growth to those people and, pivotally, to my own journey advancing in faith.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am set to join the U.S. Digital Corps, through which I will be working for the U.S. Department of State. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to use the technical and non-technical background I've gained to serve the public, after our nation has given my family so much.