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Fellows' Bios

Spring 2004 Fellows

Jacob Chacko

JACOB CHACKO is currently a Vice-President at TPG Capital, a global private equity firm in San Francisco.

Jacob was born in Texas and is the son of naturalized parents who emigrated from India. His family lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Jacob received his MBA with honors from Harvard University and his MD with honors from the University of California at Los Angeles. Prior to this, Jacob completed an MSc in economic and social history at Oxford University, As an undergraduate he attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he received a BA in biology, a BS in gerontology, and a minor in health policy & management. 

Jacob served as President of his class at Harvard and UCLA. At Oxford he was a Marshall Scholar, and worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Company.He graduated as the University valedictorian, a Phi Kappa Phi fellow, and won a place on USA Today's 1st Team Academic All-American. At USC, he was a three-year starter on the men’s soccer team and co-founded a leadership academy for neighborhood children.


Amy Chen

AMY CHEN is a Project Manager at Pepsico Hope, a organization within Pepsico aimed at eliminating urban poverty.

Amy was born in Chicago, IL. Her parents, who are of Taiwanese origins, are both naturalized citizens and live in Round Rock, TX.

Amy received a BA in chemistry from Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and delivered the Harvard Oration at her Class Day Commencement Exercises.  She holds both a JD and MBA from Stanford University.

At Harvard University, she was President of the Harvard Model Congress, the nation's largest government simulation program for high school students, and co-founded the Harvard Political Education Program for local at-risk youth. At Stanford she was the Managing Editor of the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Project Manager of the Stanford Affordable Housing Team.

After graduation, she worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, Inc. in New York City and then at the US Interagency Council on Homelessness in Washington, DC. She was then a brand manager for Stacy's Pita chips.  

In addition to her current role, Amy sits on the Board of Directors of Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley as a volunteer Board Fellow. 


Jason Cheng

JASON CHENG is currently doing his residency in neurosurgery at the University of California at San Francisco.

Jason was born in Bellflower, California, in 1980 to parents of Chinese heritage from Hong Kong. His family now lives in San Marino, California.

As a President's Scholar and Mayfield Fellow at Stanford University, he graduated in 2002 with a BS degree in biological sciences with honors and a minor in computer science. He received his MD in 2008 from the University of California at San Francisco.

At Stanford University, Jason conducted three years of bioinformatics research on Varicella Zoster Virus, culminating in a publication in the Journal of Virology. In addition, he served as executive director of the Stanford Asia Technology Initiative and interned at Genomic Health, Inc. as part of his Mayfield Fellowship.

At University of California at San Francisco, Jason has studied the genetic basis of breast cancer susceptibility and chemotherapy response at the Mt. Zion Cancer Research Institute. He also completed a research year as a Howard Hughes Fellow and was published in Neurosurgical Focus. Jason ultimately hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine, integrating his scientific and clinical passions.


Pavan Cheruvu

PAVAN CHERUVU is currently an Internal Medicine Resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital 

Pavan was born in the US to parents who had emigrated from South India and are naturalized US citizens.

Pavan completed his MS degrees in neuroscience and computer science at Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Pavan attained his BS in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering and a BA in chemistry at Duke University. A Goldwater scholar, Pavan completed his MD in 2008 at Harvard and MIT HST Program. He spent the summer of 2004 working at the White House.  

Pavan designed software that has been transformed into computer models of gene expression, as well as co-designed and patented a urinary biosensor that will be affordable in poor countries. He also worked for IngraReDx, Inc., a medical device startup company in Massachusetts and as an associate at McKinsey & Company, Inc.. Pavan hopes to create a nonprofit organization that tailors medical devices to needs in rural and developing communities.

Pavan is marrried to Deepu Madduri.


Nusrat Choudhury

NUSRAT CHOUDHURY is a Staff Attorney in the National Security Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she pursues litigation challenging national security policies that violate civil rights and civil liberties.  

Nusrat was born in Chicago in 1976 to emigrants from Bangladesh. Her parents are now naturalized US citizens and reside in Northbrook, Illinois.
Nusrat completed her MPA in International Development at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and her JD at Yale Law School.  She graduated from Columbia University with a BA summa cum laude in history and election to Phi Beta Kappa. She has published in the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism and the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.
Nusrat clerked for Judge Barrington D. Parker in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and for Judge Denise Cote in the Southern District of New York, and was a Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow at the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. She has advocated for the rights of women prisoners, worked on peace implementation for the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and served as a law clerk in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Nusrat was the Chair of the Paul and Daisy Soros Alumni Association and served on the Fellowship’s Board of Trustees. She is also a founder and co-director of Young Professionals for CARE, a group with over 800 members dedicated to supporting CARE and its mission to end global poverty through fundraising, advocacy, and education.
Nusrat's casesat ACLU include Latif v. Holder, No. 10 Civ. 750 (D. Or.), the first systemic, constitutional challenge to the federal government’s administration of the No Fly List and Meshal v. Higgenbotham, No. 07 Civ. 2178 (D.D.C.), a lawsuit contesting the illegal detention, rendition, and coercive interrogation of a U.S. citizen by U.S. government officials in East Africa. Nusrat previously litigated Jarrar v. Harris, No. 07 Civ. 3299 (E.D.N.Y.), which challenged racial discrimination and the violation of the First Amendment rights of an Iraqi-born passenger on JetBlue Airways and settled for one of the largest public settlements in an airline profiling case.


Babacar Cisse

BABACAR CISSE is a student in the MD/PhD program at the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University.

Babacar immigrated to New York with the dream of attaining a higher education and won the green-card lottery. 

Babacar received his BA in chemistry from Bard College, where he won an National Institute of Health Undergraduate Scholarship, a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and the Reamer Kline Award, given to Bard College undergraduates who contribute significantly to the vitality of the college. 

As a physician, he wants to help those in his immediate surroundings in America; as a research scientist, he hopes his future work will have penetrating effects abroad. Babacar has also been a big brother for orphans from the Hudson region. 

Babacar and his wife, Fatou Toure, have three children named Maryam, Aishah, and Faatimah, they live in New York City.


George Farah


GEORGE FARAH is an attorney at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, where he represents victims of human rights abuses and farmers and small businesses injured by antitrust violations.  

Born in Beirut in 1978 and a naturalized citizen, George received his BA in public and international policy from Princeton University in 2000 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2005.  

Geroge is the founder and executive director of Open Debates (www.opendebates.org), a Washington-based nonprofit that works to reform the presidential debates. He is the author of the book No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates by Seven Stories Press.  His articles have been published in The Washington PostThe Boston GlobeThe Philadelphia InquirerThe Denver PostExtra! Magazine, and other publications.  He has appeared on dozens of television programs, including "Nightline," "NOW with Bill Moyers," "20/20," "CBS Evening News," "NBC Nightly News," "CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight," "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," "ABC World News," and "Fox & Friends."  

George lives with his family in Brooklyn, NY. 


Lipika Goyal

LIPIKA GOYAL is completing her fellowship at the Harvard Cancer Center and beginning a position at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center as an instructor in gastrointestinal medical oncology July 1 2013. 

Lipika is the daughter of two naturalized US citizens from India. Her family now lives in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

Lipika holds an MD from Harvard University and has completed her  internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Lipika was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, earning an MPhil in development studies. In 2001 she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in the biological basis of development from University of Pennsylvania, where she was a University Scholar.

Lipika has done research with the International Rescue Committee in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, initiated a baseline study in Ghana for a trial for a proposed anti-malarial drug, and conducted malnutrition research in India. At Oxford University, she volunteered as a youth club leader for young refugees and a visitor to detained asylum seekers through a charity organization called Asylum Welcome.

Lipika completed a fellowshop in heme/onc at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center where she specializes in gastrointestinal oncology and her research focuses on phase 1 trials in hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. 


Pakou Hang

PAKOU HANG is Deputy Vice President of Field Operations for the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, DC, where she is responsible for developing and implementing strategies and tactics to build a national grassroots movement for children.

Born in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Thailand but now naturalized as an American citizen, Pakou is a member of the Hmong community.

Pakou received her master's in political science in 2008 from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She completed her BA in political science at Yale University in 1999.

Pakou spent two years in Boston as a financial analyst with KLD Research and Analytics, a firm advising socially responsible investments.  Active in politics, Pakou served as a deputy political director to Senator Paul Wellstone and campaign manager in the election of Mee Moua to the Minnesota legislature. She has also been active in the nonprofit civic organization Progressive Minnesota and in the University-based Jane Addams School for Democracy and its efforts to engage immigrants in local and state issues important to them.

In 2003, she received the Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award from the University of Minnesota. At University of Minnesota and afterwards, she plans to move between formal study of political strategy and the active engagement of the immigrant population. 


Sachin Jain

SACHIN H. JAIN is Chief Medical Information and Innovation Officer at Merck and Company; Lecturer in Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School; and Attending Physician at the Boston VA Medical Center.  

Sachin was born in New York to naturalized parents from India who live in New Jersey.  

From 2009-2011, Sachin served in the Obama administration where he was Special Assistant to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  

Sachin received AB, MD, and MBA degrees from Harvard University and completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.  He is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief ofHealth Care: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation. He is the author of over 50 publications on health care reform and the founder of several non-profit initiatives.  His book, Soul of a Doctor, was published in 2006 and has been translated into Chinese.


Allon Kedem

ALLON KEDEM is in the litgation group at the DC-based firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Allon was born in Rochester, New York, in 1979 to parents who had emigrated from Israel but are now naturalized citizens.

Allon graduated from Yale Law School in 2005, where he was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. He was an undergraduate at Harvard University, from which he graduated, magna cum laude, in 2002 with a degree in Social Studies. 

Allon served as a law clerk to Justice Elena Kagan on the U.S. Supreme Court, having clerked last year for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.  Before that, he served as an attorney-adviser at the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and as a law clerk for the Hon. Mark R. Kravitz on the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut and for the Hon. Pierre N. Leval on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


Hosein Kouros-Mehr

HOSEIN KOUROS-MEHR is Research Scientist at Eli Lilly and Company in Indiana.

Born in Iran and naturalized in 1999, Hosein lives in San Francisco. His family lives in Hacienda Heights, California.

Hosein completed his Ph.D. in developmental and cancer biology and his MD at the University of California at San Francisco. In 2000, he received his BS in biology from California Institute of Technology, graduating in three years with a 4.0 grade point average. 

Hosein received a two-year research grant from the National Institute of Health, and was awarded the Kanel Undergraduate Scholarship Award, and the Phi Delta Kappa International Scholarship Award.

His latest research addresses exactly when, how, and through which altered gene pathways tumor cells metastasize. Prior to this he was an associate scientist at Genetech in their research oncology department. He completed a post-doctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Cancer Biology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. 


Anne Lee

ANNE LEE is working as an associate at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.

Anne was born in Lafayette, Indiana, to parents of Korean heritage, and grew up in Charleston, West Virginia.

Anne has a JD from Columbia University and clerked for the Honorable Juan Torruella on the first Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.  She received her BA degree, magna cum laude, in 2001 from Harvard University, where she majored in American government.

Joining the Harvard and Radcliffe Musical Outreach to Neighborhood Youth (Harmony) program, Anne initially gave music lessons to two elementary school children, and subsequently became director of the program, which was the largest community service organization on campus. She has also been a business consultant for the Monitor Group, as well as the executive director of Inspire, a nonprofit that works to provide management advice to nonprofits and charter schools.

Anne aspires to a career in civil rights litigation, focusing especially on issues of race and public education. 


Ankur Luthra

ANKUR LUTHRA is an investment professional at Ziff Brothers Investments in New York. 

Ankur was born in San Jose, California, to immigrants from Punjab State, India. His family now lives in Saratoga, California.

Ankur received a master's degree in computer science at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2003, he received BS degrees in business administration and in electrical engineering and computer science from University of California at Berkeley, where he completed his course work in three and a half years with all A's, more than half of which were A+'s. He was awarded the University Medal for the most outstanding student in the University of California at Berkeley's graduating class of over 7,000 students, and gave the commencement keynote speech with President Clinton's chief of staff, Leon Panetta.

Ankur was the chairman and founder of Computer Literacy 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization that brings computers and computer education to underprivileged students around the globe. He also designed computer and artificial intelligence technology, started a dot-com company, and worked for Microsoft's Windows division as a program manager. Ankur was a vice president at Summit Partners, a private equity firm in Palo Alto.

Ankur  has always been passionate about non-profits focused on education improvement for the underprivileged, and was elected the to the Board of Directors of the Beacon Education Network (BEN). BEN is a non-profit organization seeded by Netflix CEO and Founder Reed Hastings committed to starting public charter schools for historically under-served students in non-urban communities. Along with BEN, he is involved with Computer Literacy 4 Kids (CL4K), a non-profit he founded 10 years ago. 

Ankur was recently married to Dr. Nijee Sharma, who just finished her M.D./Ph.D. (Neuroscience) and began her residency in Neurology.


Arpit Malaviya

ARPIT MALAVIYA is the Founder of ProDIGIQ in California. 

Now a naturalized US citizen, Arpit was born in Kanpur, India and immigrated to the United States when he was 22 years old. 

Arpit holds a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with highest honors and was ranked first in a class of 64 students majoring in electrical engineering. 

Arpit has won the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, University of California at Berkeley Chancellor's Fellowship, California Institute of Technology/JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Undergraduate Scholar Award, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the University of California Regents Scholarship. He was also awarded the Summer Undergrad Research Fellowship by California Institute of Technology in 2002 and his research on solid-acid fuel cells was the feature article in California Engineer.

Arpuit serves on the Advisory Board for the Technology Management Program at University of California Santa Barbara. He has worked for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for two years and has been involved with two high tech start-ups. Arpit formerly worked with the Boston Consulting Group in the Dallas office. Now he is scaling up operations at his start-up company, ProDIGIQ based in Calabasas, CA.

Arpit and his wife, Anita, have a son named Arjun. 


Anna Neimark

ANNA NEIMARK is a lecturer at the University of Southern California School of Architecture.

A naturalized citizen, she was born in Russia and moved to the United States at the age of 14. Her family now lives in Jackson Heights, NY. She is married to Michael Osman. 

Anna completed her architecture master's program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.  In 2003, she received a BA degree with high honors in architecture from Princeton University, and received the Haarlow Prize for the best paper in humanistic studies, the Joseph Shanley Travel Prize for architectural design, and the Art and Archaeology Frederick Barnard White Prize for the best thesis in architectural theory. Her thesis, which had substantial visual and written components, explored how architectural theory in early modern Europe was shaped by new forms of inquiry into the human body. 

Upon completing her masters, Anna was a junior architect at the Office of Metropolitan Architecture. She taught a studio class in Harvard University's Career Discovery Program. Anna was awarded the Julia Amory Appleton Traveling Fellowship to pursue a year-long independent research and design project entitled, "Water, Politics, Architecture." 

Anna is fluent in Russian, French, German, and English and plans to become an architect of international scope. Her work has been displayed at a Princeton University gallery and recently published in a London journal of architectural theory and design, Sexymachinery


Chi Nguyen


Born in Saigon, her family fled as "boat people" when she was 3 years old and eventually settled in Sunnyvale, California, where they now live. Chi is a naturalized American citizen. 

Chi received her MBA from the Stanford University in 2005, where she concentrated on public management. Chi graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude in 1998 with degrees in economics and psychology from Yale University, where she led Dwight Hall, Yale University's umbrella organization for over 80 community service organizations. She then received the Elm-Ivy Award for enhancing understanding and cooperation between Yale and New Haven, as well as the James Andrew Haas Prize.

Chi worked for two years at Bain & Company as a management consultant. She also helped found the Alliance for Regional Stewardship and co-authored the publication, Women of Silicon Valley, which received national news coverage. She was a product manager in revascularization cardiac surgery at Guidant Corporation in San Francisco, but now works as a marketing manager at Acclarent, Inc.

Chi's spouse is Daniel Abelson. They have a son named Liam Nguyen Abelson.


Nneoma Nwogu

Nneoma Nwogu is a senior legal counsel for the World Bank Group, where she has represented the development institution in Africa and the Middle East, notably in project structuring, negotiations, and compliance in international development finance transactions and advisory services across a diverse portfolio that includes agriculture, food security, social safety net, maternal and infant health, climate change, education, energy and natural resources governance. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was an Associate at Hogan & Hartson LLP (now Hogan Lovells LLP), working on international business transactions. She has worked with the South African Human Rights Commission and the United States Justice Department, Civil Division. Beyond her legal practice, she leads the African Mining Legislation Atlas Project where, in coordination with the African Legal Support Facility and the University of Cape Town, South Africa, has designed and facilitated a 10-day intensive certified training course in mineral law for advanced law students representing several African law faculties.

Nneoma is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an adjunct Professor of Law at the American University Washington College of Law and part-time faculty of Loyola University of Chicago as an LLM thesis advisor.  She has served as Vice President of Programming on the Board of the Washington Foreign Law Society and guest lectured at Vanderbilt University and Johns Hopkins School of International Studies. She has written on development issues, reviewed articles for legal journals and was a scholar delegate to the 2005 Academy of Achievement summit. Nneoma received her BA from Wellesley College, an M. Phil from Oxford University and Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Nneoma was born in Imo State, Nigeria and immigrated to the United States to join her family in Queens New York and Worcester, Massachusetts upon graduating from secondary school.


Sunita Puri

SUNITA PURI  has completed her residency in internal medicine at UC San Francisco Medical Center, and just completed her fellowship in Palliative Medicine and Hospice at Stanford University Hospital. She recently joined the clinical and teaching faculty at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles & West Los Angeles Medical Centers, where she will provide patient care in clinic, inpatient, and home-based settings and supervise clinical fellows in geriatrics and palliative medicine. She continues to publish narrative medicine pieces in forums ranging from Slate to JAMA.

Sunita was born in Kentucky and is the daughter of naturalized citizens from Punjab state, India. Her family now lives in Los Angeles.

Sunita received her MD from the University of California at Berkeley/University of California at San Francisco Joint Medical Program. She earned an MSt in Modern History with a focus on South Asia/History of Medicine, at St. Antony's College at Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. In 2002, she received a BA with distinction in cultural anthropology from Yale University,

At Yale, Sunita established a discussion forum entitled 'Creating a Queer-Friendly Asian America' and a South Asian women's group, and won prizes from Medical Anthropology Quarterly and the departments of women's studies and ethnic studies for her research. Sunita has worked as a counselor and victim advocate for battered South Asian women and minority freshman, published work on domestic violence among South Asian immigrants, and served as an HIV peer educator. In medical school, she has given Grand Rounds presentations at Columbia, UCSF, and Alta Bates hospitals on her ethnographic work on sex selection and son preference among South Asian immigrants in the United States. For this work, she also received UCSF's Chancellor's Award for the Advancement of Women and the UCSF's Dean's Prize in Medical Student Research. 


Rahul Rajkumar

RAHUL RAJKUMAR currently holds a senior political appointment in the Obama Administration working on health care delivery system reform.

Rahul was born in New York City  to naturalized parents of Indian heritage, who live in Somers, NY.

Rahul holds both JD and MD degrees from Yale University and  He received his BA, cum laude, with distinction in history, from Yale University in 2000. He completed an internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

As an undergraduate Rahul served as president of the Yale University's South Asian Society and as a varsity member of Yale University's debate team. As an intern at the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre in New Delhi, Rahul co-authored a book on the living conditions and the legal status of Afghan refugees in India.

Rahul has published articles in the Yale Daily News, the Hartford Courant, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Rahul is married to Kiran Ghia and resides in the Washington, DC area.


Raju Raval

Raju Raval is completing a radiation oncology residency at Johns Hopkins.

Raju was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana to two naturalized parents of Gujarati-Indian descent.

Raju received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. He completed a DPhil in clinical medicine at the Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated from Indiana University with majors in biochemistry, biology, Spanish, and religious studies. An undergraduate Herman B Wells Scholar, he also received a Truman Scholarship for academic performance and public service.

After graduation, Raju spent the summer doing research in molecular carcinogenesis at the National Cancer Institute on the National Institute of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. He also completed a year internship at Morristown Memorial Hospital in NJ. His graduate research at Oxford University, under the supervision of Adrian L. Harris and Peter J. Ratcliffe, looked at the pathways underlying angiogenesis in tumor hypoxia. Some of his recent work has led to two publications in Cancer Research.  He looks forward to pursuing a career in medicine, cancer research, and health policy.


Diana S. Sepehri


This green card holder was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to the Sacramento area at age 15.

Diana completed her medical studies at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in California and is performing her residency at the Loma Linda University Family Medicine program. She holds an MPH and an MA in medical anthropology from Case Western Reserve University. Shegraduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in 2002 from Bates College with degrees in mathematics, biology, and a secondary concentration in Spanish. 

An accomplished ballroom dancer, Diana won intercollegiate tournaments throughout New England and performed with the national Ecuadorian folklore ballet during her junior semester abroad program. She has also served as activities director for the International Club and Solidaridad Latina.

Winning the Phillips and Thomas J. Watson Fellowships, Diana has traveled to South America and Asia conducting comparative field research projects on indigenous medicine and is keenly interested in understanding how a marginalized system of folk medicine could develop into an accredited and widely used alternative.


Mikhail Shapiro

MIKHAIL SHAPIRO, Ph.D. is a Miller Research Fellow in Bioengineering and Molecular & Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. His research is focused on technologies to image and control biological activity, and particularly brain function, using penetrant forms of energy such as magnetic fields and sound waves.

Mikhail was born in Kolomna, Russia. He is now a naturalised citizen, and his family lives in Potomac, Maryland

Mikhail received his PhD in Biological Engineering from MIT with co-advisers Robert Langer and Alan Jasanoff and his BSc in Neuroscience from Brown University. He conducted post-doctoral research in biophysics at the University of Chicago with Francisco Bezanilla.

Among his research accomplishments, Mikhail developed the first genetically engineered functional reporters for magnetic resonance imaging and discovered a fundamental mechanism by which infrared light stimulates neurons.

In addition to his research, Mikhail has been a co-founder of several life science start-up companies and spent three years in biotechnology venture capital at Third Rock Ventures. In addition to the Soros Fellowship, Mikhail has been awarded the Hertz, Miller and Life Science Research Foundation fellowships and the Hertz PhD Thesis Prize. In 2010, the Technology Review recognized him as one of the world’s top 35 innovators under age 35.

More information about Mikhail and his work can be found at mikhailshapiro.org. 


Karim Simplis


KARIM SIMPLIS  is currently Vice President at Wilshire Associates in Los Angeles. 


A naturalized citizen, Karim was born in Belize in 1977, came to the Los Angeles area at age three. His family still lives in the Los Angeles area.


Karim completed his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2005. He attended the University of California at Santa Cruz. As a University of California Regents Scholar, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in economics/business management. He was the recipient of the Benjamin E. Mays Award for academic and community service work. Karim also holds a CFA designation.


Karim has been involved with a program to expose underprivileged high-school students to collegiate life, assumed leadership of the University of California at Santa Cruz Undergraduate Economic Association, At Stanford University, he volunteered with a program that adopts a first grade class and follows it through 12 years of its educational development.


Karim has worked as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch, and was a private equity analyst at JLL Partners. He was an analyst at First Q Capital, a hedge fund in Newport Beach before moving to Wilshire Associates. 


Konstantin Soukhovetski

KONSTANTIN SOUKHOVETSKI is now an independent artist.

A green card holder, he was born in Moscow, Russia and came to the United States after being admitted to Julliard School. His family remains in Moscow. 

Konstantin completed the master's of music program at the Juilliard School, where he also received his bachelor's of music. 

At Juilliard School, Konstantin won the Arthur Rubenstein Prize as an outstanding pianist in the class of 2003 as well as the Gina Bachauer Prize. Konstantin has continuously studied piano with Jerome Lowenthal since 1999. He was in the performance program at Julliard School, where he won the William Petschek Debut Recital Award at Alice Tully Hall. 

Additionally, Konstantin has debuted at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, recorded for NPR and WQRZ, performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, won second prize at the Naumburg International Piano Competition, third prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition, grand prize at the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, first prize at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, and second prize at the 2004 UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa. 

The winner of numerous prizes at international piano competitions, he now maintains an active international schedule of concerts, including a recent eight-performance tour of South Africa.  He made his chamber music debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC with the Biava Quartet in 2010, gave his debut recital at Wigmore Hall in London in 2011, and has recently performed with the Houston Symphony and at the Manchester Music Festival Orchestra.


Janani Sreenivasan

JANANI SREENIVASAN is Managing Editor ofCabinet Magazine in New York.

Janani's parents emigrated from South India to the United States in 1976 and are naturalized citizens. Born in 1983, Janani grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, where her parents and her first writing mentor, Alice Ann Eberman, still live.

Janani graduated from Princeton University in 2004 with a degree in history.  She studied writing with Suzanne Paola, Susan Lohafer, Patricia Foster, and three Johns: Seabrook, D'Agata, and McPhee. In 2007 she received her MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. 

Janani's author crushes are Patricia Highsmith, Hans Christian Andersen, and Henry James. 


Van Tran

VAN C. TRAN is a sociologist whose research focuses on the incorporation of post-1965 immigrants and their children, as well as its implications for the future of ethnic and racial inequality in the U.S. 

Van was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to a Vietnamese mother and a Chinese father. A naturalized citizen, he came to New York City with his family in 1998. His parents now reside in Brooklyn.

Van received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy at Harvard University. He will join the faculty in Sociology at Columbia University in Fall 2013. 

Van's  research interests include neighborhoods and urban communities, and ethnic/racial disparities in health. He is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. He is working on three projects: (1) neighborhoods and social mobility among the children of immigrants; (2) neighborhood healthcare resources and immigrant health in New York City, and (3) the social provision of healthcare to unauthorized migrants in the U.S. and urban migrants in China. 


Alexandra Villarreal O'Rourke

ALEXANDRA VILLARREAL O'ROURKE is an attorney with the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Legal Adviser, where she works on matters relating to immigration and terrorism.

Alexandra was born in Monterrey, Mexico and was naturalized as an American citizen in 2001.  Her mother lives in Mission, Texas.   

Alexandra received her JD from Harvard University, cum laude.  At Harvard, she was on the board of the Latino Law Review and co-founded the Harvard Immigration Project.  Before law school, Alexandra was a Senator George J. Mitchell scholar at Queen's University in Belfast, where she obtained an LLM with distinction in international human rights law and criminal justice.  Alexandra graduated with highest honors and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in finance and Plan II liberal-arts honors. 

A Truman Scholar, Alexandra was invited to speak at her Commencement.  At the University of Texas, Alexandra started a bilingual mentoring program and founded the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Chapter.  She also worked as a legislative assistant to state representative Jaime Capelo.  

Prior to joining the Department of State, Alexandra served as a law clerk for the Honorable Allyson Duncan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Legrome Davis in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  


Alexandra is married to Allen O'Rourke, and has two daughters, Catalina and Mariana.


Damian Williams

DAMIAN WILLIAMS is Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York.

Damian was born in Brooklyn to Jamaican parents.

Damian graduated in 2002 from Harvard University, where he majored in economics and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa He earned an MPhil in international relations at Cambridge University and also holds a JD from Yale Law School

At Harvard, Damian won the Detur Book Award, the John Harvard Scholarship, the Ron Brown Scholarship, the Harris Prize. He was named the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar for 2002, under which he studied at Cambridge. At Yale, he was an editor of The Yale Law Journal

Damian has served on the Board of Directors of Human Rights First, the Council on African American Affairs, and Boys Speak Out. After law school, Damian clerked for Judge Merrick B. Garland on the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. 


Grace Yu

GRACE YU is a photographer.

Grace was born in Los Angeles, and a child of immigrants with both Korean and Chinese heritage.  

With the support of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, Grace enrolled at the NYU Graduate School for Film as a student of directing and cinematography. Grace has degrees in Religion and Philosophy from Oxford University, where she was an American Rhodes Scholar. She holds a B.A in Political Science and History from the Maxwell School of Citizenship, Syracuse University. 

As an undergraduate, Grace was presented with the rare opportunity to serve as the White House special assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs during the Clinton administration. Her issue responsibilities ranged from US-China trade relations to enterprise communities and empowerment zones. Grace then served as a research fellow at Japan's Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, where she was a guest lecturer and frequently published in the Matsushita Journal.

Grace is a photographer working in New York City and Berlin, Germany.  She is self-taught, and began making photographs in 1990.  Her work has been described as "poetic renderings of two antagonistic forms - analogue and digital."  Grace is currently working on a book project that chronicles her experiments relating to photographic processes and printing techniques entitled: "Making and Mutating: Variations on the Survival of the Photograph."