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Fellows' Bios

Spring 2011 Fellows

Melis Anahtar

MELIS ANAHTAR is a Ph.D. student in immunology at Harvard Medical School.

Melis was born in Maryland to parents from Turkey.

Melis studied at MIT, where she earned a perfect 5.0 GPA and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, Melis earned an MSc degree in immunology during her year at Oxford.   She is now in her second year as an MD/PhD candidate at the Harvard - MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program and will begin a PhD in immunology at Harvard in the fall

Melis's research projects at MIT ranged from synthesizing nanoparticles for cancer detection to studying novel drug delivery methods. She served as editor-in-chief of the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal. Her research projects at Harvard have resulted in three co-authored papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, five scientific papers as a first-author in MIT publications, and numerous presentations at scientific meetings, symposia and conferences. 

Research Melis did during a bioengineering internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston earned her a place as a finalist at the 2004 Intel Science Talent Search and first prize in engineering at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair. 


Alexander Berman


Alexander was born in Skokie, IL to Russian-Jewish parents who met in this country as medical residents. 

Admitted to Harvard University, he soon began writing and directing a series of short films. Alex graduated from Harvard in June, 2010 with a BA in visual and environmental studies. He then completed a MFA in film production at American Film Institute.

His greatest success was a 24-minute documentary, Songs from the Tundra, which was nominated for three international film festivals and won the Grand Jury Prize in the student competition at the Provincetown International Film Festival.   A product of his work with the director of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, this film beautifully documents life among an indigenous reindeer-herding community on the remote Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s Far East, not far from where his mother had been born. 

While at AFI, Alexander won a Fulbright Fellowship for the 2010-11 academic year to return to Kamchatka to write and film a follow-on documentary, The Volcano People, about the reindeer herders.  He was recognised in 2012 by the Alfred P Sloan Foundation for his production work on the movie APP. 


Philip Bulterys
Philip was born in Los Angeles to a Belgian father and Chinese mother, both of whom were trained in epidemiology and public health. The family moved to Rwanda when Philip was one, but their HIV research was disrupted by the Rwandan genocide.  After a decade back in the US, the family moved to Zambia, where Philip completed high school. He returned to Zambia following his freshman and sophomore years of college as a visiting researcher with the Malaria Institute at Macha.
Philip attended Stanford University, where he majored in biology with a concentration in microbes and immunity. He is completed his MD and PhD degrees from the UCLA/Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program
At Stanfor, Philip served as Director of Education for FACE AIDS, a national student organization, volunteered as a middle-school health tutor, and conducted medical research that has so far produced two published papers in peer-reviewed journals with two in review/preparation. Philip hopes to pursue research on infectious disease transmission, and to serve disadvantaged populations as a physician focusing on children’s health.  
In August 2011, Philip published a paper in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene entitled "Placental malaria and mother-to-child transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 in rural Rwanda", in which he described an association between placental malaria and increased risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Recently, he submitted a paper to the Journal of Infectious Diseases entitled "Determinants of penicilliosis seasonality in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam", in which he reported his findings on the environmental determinants of Penicillium marneffei infection in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.


Aadel Chaudhuri

AADEL CHAUDHUR is currently finishing his PhD in biology at California Institute of Technology.

Aadel was born in California to parents from Bangladesh and India who came to this country for higher education 

As an undergraduate at MIT, Aadel completed two BS degrees, one in electrical engineering and computer science, and the other in biology.  He also competed at a Division I level as a member of MIT’s varsity lightweight rowing team.  Aadel went on to Stanford Medical School where he completed two years of work towards his MD degree before starting his PhD at Caltech. 

At MIT, Aadel worked in the lab of Nobel Laureate Phillip Sharp where he studied gene targets of a new class of small RNA molecules, called microRNAs, culminating in a publication in the journal Nature Genetics.  His subsequent work on microRNAs at Caltech, under the tutelage of Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, has yielded primary authorship on two papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and authorship on four other manuscripts in leading scientific journals. 

Aadel has won two major teaching awards at Caltech and mentors undergraduates as a Resident Associate.  He also volunteers at Hollenbeck Middle School in Southeast Los Angeles where he tries to get inner city students excited about science by doing hands-on experiments with them. 

Aadel's current research focuses on small RNAs in cancer and the immune system, and has has been supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellowship and an NSF graduate research fellowship.  


Hattie Chung

HATTIE CHUNG  is completing her Ph.D. in Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, where she studies network evolution and evolutionary dynamics. 

Hattie was born in South Korea and came to the US when she was 8,

Hattie graduated from MIT with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Engineering and a minor in Applied International Studies in 2011.  

Hattie showed her entrepreneurial strengths at MIT where, as a freshman, she entered the $100K Elevator Pitch Competition with a proposal to reduce the side effects of common painkillers that won first prize in the life sciences category. In 2008, she received a grant from the MIT Public Service Center to conduct a field survey for the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, where she assessed the efficacy of mental health support in primary clinics in Lindi, Tanzania; she presented her findings to the Director of the Ministry of Health of Tanzania. In 2009, she worked at Le Laboratoire in Paris, France, where she helped with the commercialization of Le Whif. Hattie has worked with world-renowned Institute Professor Robert Langer, with whom she has published a paper on using novel lipid-like materials to deliver immunostimulatory RNA adjuvants. She has also worked with Professor Ron Weiss, one of the pioneers of synthetic biology and director of the Synthetic Biology Center at MIT, on using RNA to program mammalian cells.

Outside the classroom, Hattie has played major leadership roles as an undergraduate representative to the MIT Corporation Joint Advisory Committee, the co-president of the MIT Biomedical Engineering Society (BE-BMES), a teaching assistant, and an associate advisor. She also excels as a pianist as an Emerson Piano Scholar, and received the MIT Naess Award for exceptional talent in piano in 2008. She was named an Amgen Scholar in 2010 and inducted into Sigma Xi in 2011. 


Deisy Del Real

DEISY DEL REAL is completing a Ph.D. in sociology at UCLA. 

Deisy came with her family from Mexico to the Los Angeles when she was six. Awaiting action on green card applications, she and her family were undocumented for 16 years. She was admitted with a full scholarship to Grinnell College, where she organized events promoting the DREAM Act and highlighted problems facing undocumented students. She learned that she would “age out” of the family’s green card application when she turned 21, be deported, and banned from returning to the United States for 10 years. She appealed her case to the media, prompting a New Mexico priest to start a Saving Miss Deisy campaign and a lawyer to present her case – successfully – to immigration authorities.

Deisy graduated as a sociology major from Grinnell. Finally able to travel abroad, she promoted educational opportunities for students in Cambodia.  In the US, she created two organizations to support both documented and undocumented immigrants.

Deisy is currently working at the Asian Pacific American legal center and writing a book about her experiences as an undocumented teen. 


Emi Ferguson

EMI FERGUSON is an accomplished flutist, who plays modern, baroque and piccolo flute. 

Emi was born in Tokyo to parents from Britain and Australia. She was nine when her family moved to Boston. 

Emi completed an accelerated five-year joint Bachelor/Master degree program at Juilliard, before completing her master’s degree in historical performance and in modern flute performance. 

Emi has performed as principal flutist with Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Academy and was featured as a soloist and chamber musician in the Juilliard Orchestra’s tour of China, and the New Juilliard Ensemble’s tour of Japan.  In 2009, she won three notable 1st Prize awards: the New York Flute Club Young Artist competition, the Juilliard Concerto Competition, and the J.C. Arriaga Chamber Music Competition. 

Emi is a founding member and leading organizer of the PUFF! Quintet, and a member of several other New York City-based ensembles.   She has served as a co-leader of the Music and Medicine Initiative between Juilliard and the Weill Cornell Medical College. 


Cesar Francia

CESAR FRANCIA is completing his JD at New York University. 

Cesar was born in Caracas, Venezuela and came to this country with his mother when he was 14. 

Cesar received his BA in international politics from New York University in 2010. He studied abroad in Italy and the Czech Republic, and volunteered in the Dominican Republic. 

While still in high school in Miami Beach, FL, Cesar founded a service initiative that renovated children’s recreational spaces, connected at-risk youth to older mentors and hosted workshops to create awareness about youth homelessness.

At NYU, Cesar was named Senator-at-Large and Dean’s Circle Scholar and received the President’s Service Award and the Hale/Chavez Community Activism Award. As a Catherine B. Reynolds Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship, he managed the construction of a community center in Rwanda and helped young entrepreneurs develop business plans.  He also served as Aide to the Chambers of Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the Supreme Court.


Deepa Galaiya

DEEPA GALAIYA is completing her residency in Otolaryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. 

Deepa was born in the United States. Her parents emigrated from India and, as naturalized US citizens, reside in Long Valley, NJ.  

Deepa will complete her MD at Stanford Medical School this Spring. An undergraduate of Brown University, Deepa graduated magna cum laude in 2007 with a BS in biophysics and a BA in international relations.  She was elected to both Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa

Deepa was class president for four years at Brown, and continues in that role as an alumna.  At Stanford, she is vice-president of the Medical School student body and president of the American Medical Students Association.  She was the spokesperson for her class in inducting new medical students in the “white coat ceremony.” She also completed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship.

In her research to date, Deepa has constructed a lead biosensor and a transcription amplifier; designed a walker that minimizes the chances of patient falls, and worked on development and regeneration of inner ear hair cells in models of deafness. 

Deepa sees her future as a specialist in neurodegenerative diseases.


Chiara Galimberti

CHIARA GALIMBERTI is a Chicago based artist. 

Chiara moved to the United States from her native Italy with her young twin daughters in 2002, leaving behind a violent and dysfunctional family life.

After a year in the Indiana University continuing studies program, Chiara gained admission to the regular academic track and, four years later, graduated, with Highest Distinction, with degrees in international studies, art history and painting. In 2010, Chiara was accepted into the MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the painting and drawing department.

Chiara won travel grants to Germany, Spain, Austria, France and Italy, where she analyzed cross-cultural responses to gender violence. In early exhibits she mounted her MFA, she has explored issues of immigration, assimilation and otherness. Her work is also influenced by her experience with being blind in one eye since infancy. 

Chiara recently participated in the “2nd Floor Rear” Festival of Itinerant Spaces, the first art festival in Chicago showcasing art in public and non traditional spaces and was also interviewed by "Curbed" online magazine (click here).

In addition, Chiara has secured a position as assistant to Mary Jane Jacob, who is the chief curator for the Sullivan Galleries in Chicago, for a summer partnership between Jacob and the Italian artist group "Artway of Thinking". She was also chosen as a regular contributor to the ART21 blog, for which she started writing in December and an essay she wrote was published in the book "Excavating History: Artists Take on Historic Sites", written by Rebecca Keller and published through StepSister Press. She is now in the process of applying to the Whitney Independent Studies Program in New York City.




Brian Goh

BRIAN GOH is a student in the MD/PhD program at Johns Hopkins University.  

Brian was born in Baton Rouge to parents who emigrated from Malaysia. 

In 2009, Brian graduated from Louisiana State University as a biochemistry major, earning a perfect 4.0 GPA and election to Phi Beta Kappa.  He received a Goldwater scholarship, a Howard Hughes Institute research award, and was named by USA Today to the 2009 All-USA College Academic First Team. 

Brian's research has focused on the evaluation of genes encoding common circadian regulatory proteins, and on the use of stem cells in tissue engineering applications.  The co-author of eleven journal publications, his recent research focuses on manipulating adult stem cells for cardiac and bone tissue regeneration.  He is exploring the possibility of engineering solutions to tissue deficits caused by congenital defects or following injury. 

Brian was a founding member of Charm City Clinic, the first health access partnership started by Johns Hopkins medical students.  He is also an avid cyclist.


Frankie Guzman

FRANKIE GUZMAN is a Soros Justice Fellow, working at the National Centre for Youth Law.

Frankie was born, and raised by his mother, in Ventura County, CA.  At age 15, Frankie was sentenced to serve 15 years in the California Youth Authority for armed robbery.  Focusing on education, Frankie graduated from high and attended college.  He was elected by his fellow inmates to represent them to the prison authorities as a grievance clerk. 

Paroled after six years, Frankie enrolled at Oxnard College, served on its student government and volunteered with programs for at-risk youths.  He transferred to the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a degree in English in 2007. 

At UC Berkeley, Frankie actively worked to increase the enrollment and retention of low-income students.  He also conducted public policy research and advocacy at the Greenlining Institute.  Following two years of youth advocacy at Oakland’s National Center for Youth Law, he entered the program in public interest law and policy at UCLA School of Law.  He is Co-President of La Raza Law Students Association and serves as Pacific Regional Director for the National Latino Law Student Association. 

Frankie has recently been awarded the 2012 Soros Justice Fellowship. The fellowship will fund his work at the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland to focus on juvenile justice reforms in California. Specifically, his project aims to reduce the number of youth prosecuted and imprisoned in California’s adult criminal justice system, while also increasing community based services and dispositional options for high-end youthful offenders.


Yoonhee Ha

YOONHEE PATRICIA HA is a MD/PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Her doctoral studies are in epidemiology.

Yoonhee was born in the US to emigrants from South Korea who are now naturalized citizens, 

Yoonhee completed a master’s degree in public health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of London, where she was a Marshall Scholar. As an undergraduate at The Ohio State University, Yoonhee earned bachelor’s degrees in microbiology, finance, and Korean and a minor in political science.

While at Ohio State, Yoonhee was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic First Team. Yoonhee has interned with the World Health Organization in Geneva, American Cancer Society in Washington, DC, and non-governmental organizations in London and Nairobi. After completing her studies, she hopes to become a physician-researcher.


Lilla Heinrich-Szasz

LILLA HEINRICH-SZÁSZ is a soprano completing her MM at the Julliard School.

Lilla was born in NJ to parents of Hungarian heritage from Transylvania in Romania.

Lilla completed her bachelor of music degree at the Julliard School. She remained at Julliard to complete her MM in opera where she studies with Marlena Malas. 

Lilla has won critical acclaim for her “appealing sound, agile coloratura and oversize wit” (The New York Times). Her special devotion is promoting works of Hungarian composers as well as rare works by other composers. Last year marked her Alice Tully Hall debut, performing lieder by Erno Dohnányi. She won merit-scholarship to summer programs in Tanglewood, Salzburg, Israel, Malibu, Rome, France and will perform Susanna in Mozart’s "Le nozze di Figaro" with Canada's Opera on the Avalon this summer 2011.

Performing highlights include Lilla's solo debut with the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra, where she is re-invited for Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, the Israeli Chamber Orchestra, The New Juilliard Ensemble, the Lincoln Center FOCUS! Festival and Liederabends of Margo Garrett and Brian Zeger. She recently won prizes in the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition, the Amato Opera Competition, the National Society for Arts and Letters Competition and was selected for the Marilyn Horne Foundation Festival at Carnegie Hall. 


Homaira Hosseini

HOMAIRA HOSSEINI is an associate at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, an international law firm in Houston. 

Homaira was born in Afghanistan. When the country was overrun by Soviet forces, her father, a Supreme Court Justice, was jailed and tortured. Homaira was two years old when her family managed to escape to India, and four years old when they were resettled in Fremont, CA. 

Homaira pursued a BA in political science, with a minor in public affairs, at UCLA. She completed herJD at the University of California, Berkeley Law School.

As a 21-year old senior, she was elected president of the university’s student body. In that role, she supported socially responsible investment of UCLA’s endowment, instituted a series of “state of the student government” speeches, and raised awareness of, and support for, homeless UCLA students, many of whom were undocumented.  When she graduated from the College Honors Program, she received the Chancellor’s Leadership Award, the Women for Change Student Leadership Award, and the UCLA Distinguished Senior Award. 

Homairia also completed a year-long CORO Fellows Program in Public Affairs following her graduation from UCLA.


Juan Jofre

JUAN JOFRE   is currently pursuing a master’s degree in architecture at MIT and will graduate in December 2013. 

Juan was born in Bogota, Colombia and immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of nine.

Juan completed his B.S. in Architecture, magna cum laude, in 2010 at the University of Cincinnati.

During his undergraduate program, he had the opportunity to work at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and Studio Daniel Libeskind in New York, and Preston Scott Cohen Inc. in Boston. He has worked on projects of various scales from master plans for entire city centers to museums and small houses.

At MIT, Juan has focused on creating projects that deal with issues of permanence and temporality in architectural design. He also works as a teaching assistant in the department, which has enriched his education and provides an opportunity to help others.  




Jason Kim

Jason Kim is a Korean-born dramatist based in New York.

Jason attended Columbia University graduating with a BA in English Literature in 2008, magna cum laude. He received his MFA from the New School for Drama. 

Jason’s plays include New America (Naked Angels), NormalFather School, and A Modern Feeling (NSD). His screenplay Auto is being produced by Kishori Rajan at Line x Line Productions (May in the Summer, Four, Gimme the Loot). Teleplays include Epidemic.  


Lan Li

LAN LI is studying towards a Ph.D. in the history of science and film at MIT.

Lan was born in Los Angeles to Chinese parents who taught her to value music, art, and scholarship.

Lan graduated magna cum laude with election to Phi Beta Kappa in 2010 from Barnard College, where she majored in history, concentrating in science and society.

Lan founded the Columbia University History of Science Society, interned at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, and served as a resident teaching assistant in neuroscience at the Double Discovery Center. Lan became seriously interested in film after winning the audience award for the National Geographic “Preserve Our Planet” film contest with her short film, The Adventures of Get-up-and-Go.  Her second short film, Living Beyond Landscapes won the Grand Prize at the State Department’s ExchangesConnect international film festival. 

Lan combined her academic and artistic interests in researching her senior thesis, producing The Tacit Tumor, a documentary on integrating East-West medicine in 20th century China. 

Lan is also a singer-songwriter, guzheng instrumentalist, and contracted filmmaker with Barnard College and Good Eye Video.  She will use her Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship to support study 


Yin Li

YIN LI is currently a Ph.D. student in neuroscience, studying visual perception and decision-making with Professor Josh Gold.His ultimate goal is to improve the understanding and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. 

Yin was born in Shanghai to parents who sacrificed their careers to give their only child a chance to study in the US.  

As a junior at New York City’s Stuyvesant High School, Yin interned in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel. The resulting research on a memory protein won Yin the top prize at the 2003 Siemens Westinghouse Science Competition. 

Yin went on to study at Harvard as a biochemical sciences major, while working in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Robert Horvitz at MIT, where he identified a neuropeptide signaling pathway involved in the control of locomotion.  Yin graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard in 2008. Yin is currently enrolled in the MD-PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. There he cofounded an a cappella group that sings at hospitals and nursing homes. 


Paul Linden-Retek

PAUL LINDEN-RETEK is completing a joint JD/Ph.D. at Yale Law School.

Paul was six years old when he came to this country from then-Czechoslovakia.

Paul completed his AB in social studies at Harvard,, graduating summa cum laude in 2008, with election to Phi Beta Kappa. Paul is now a second-year student at Yale Law School, where he focuses on international human rights law, comparative law and jurisprudence. He plans to pursue a joint JD/PhD in political theory, in preparation for a career as a legal academic and international human rights lawyer. 

Paul served as president of Harvard’s Leadership Institute; founded an education program for local low-income students; and organized Harvard’s National Model UN Conference. In his time at Yale, he has served as editor of the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal; published original work with the Yale Journal of International Law; and participated in the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. 

Paul recently assisted the Czech government in its climate talks with the US and the European Union, and this past summer he served as a legal adviser to the International Civilian Office/EU Special Representative in Kosovo.


Samir Mayekar

SAMIR MAYEKAR  is pursuing an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.

Samir was born in Houston, TX to parents who emigrated from India. 

Samir graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University in 2006 with a BA in political science and international studies

Samir developed an early interest in business and American electoral politics, working as a management consultant and volunteering for several campaigns before joining Obama for America as a budget manager.  On the Obama campaign, he helped manage $600 million of donations and assisted the chief financial officer in operating the first major Presidential campaign to exist outside the public financing system.  After the Obama victory, he joined the transition team and eventually served as National Security Director in the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office, where he managed the selection process for presidential appointees at all national security agencies.  He followed a mentor to the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, where he is currently Deputy Chief of Staff.

In addition to his business and political interests, Samir is an avid musician.  In college he was a drummer in the Northwestern marching band and after graduation he helped form Be the Groove, a professional rhythmic performance ensemble in Chicago.  


David Mou

DAVID MOU is a student in Harvard’s joint MD/MBA program.

David was born in Cincinnati to parents from China and Taiwan. 

David graduated from Harvard College with honors in neurobiology in 2008, supported by Gates Millennium and Horatio Alger National scholarships. 

At HArvard, David won the Hoopes Prize for an outstanding senior thesis.  He then received a fellowship from the Paris School of Neuroscience to conduct research on auditory neural circuitry.

Through an organization David co-directs -- Improvehealthcare.org -- he organized a health policy conference which was attended by medical students from many schools. He recently conducted a survey on the state of health policy curriculum in medical schools which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  He has spoken about his health policy writing on a CBS talk-radio show.

David is a co-founder and CEO of Scholarlocker.com, a company that allows medical students efficiently to share notes and other resources.  The firm has been offered venture capital investments for further development and expansion. 


Xiao Peng

XIAO PENG is a student in the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Memorial Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program. She plans to use her Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship to support her research degree on developmental gene regulation, which focuses on trying to understand the molecular mechanisms that enable different parts of the body to adopt different identities.

Xiao came to America at five years of age to join her parents, who were among the first Chinese graduate students awarded visiting scholarships. Having been “sent-down” to work in the fields during the Cultural Revolution, her parents were self-educated from a young age. Their intellectual curiosity and perseverance in the face of adversity has inspired Xiao with the same self-motivated enthusiasm for learning and the desire to empower others less fortunate with the same educational opportunities.

Xiao graduated in 2005 with honors in chemistry from Caltech and subsequently worked as a research technician at the Broad Institute of Harvard/MIT.

First wielding a pipet as a 16-year old college freshman, Xiao has now compiled a decade’s worth of research and is listed as an author on six major publications, including those identifying novel cancer mechanisms and therapies. 


Vivek Ramaswamy

VIVEK RAMASWAMY is a law student at Yale Law School.

Vivek was born in Cincinnati to Indian parents. In high school he was class valedictorian, a nationally ranked junior tennis player and an accomplished pianist.

Vivek graduated from Harvard College in 2007, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a major in biology. Later he entered Yale Law School.

While at Harvard, a précis of his senior thesis, on the ethical questions raised by creating human-animal chimeras was published in the Boston Globe and The New York Times. He was chairman of the Harvard Political Union and served as one of three undergraduates chosen for an advisory board for the selection of the current president of Harvard. During his senior year, Vivek co-founded StudentBusinesses.com, a technology startup company which connected entrepreneurs with professional resources via the internet, and he led the company to its acquisition in 2009.

After Harvard college, Vivek worked for three years in life sciences investing in New York before pursuing his law degree.  


Diana Rashid

DIANA MORA RASHID is a JD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. 

Diana was born in south central Mexico and moved with her family to Chicago on a tourist visa when she was five. A decade later, her dreams of a college career seemed doomed because her tourist visa had long since expired and most colleges and scholarship programs would not consider her application. Diana went public with her story, was drafted into leadership roles of groups advocating for undocumented students, and was featured in a seven-minute segment of the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. A private citizen who saw the show covered Diana’s tuition and expenses for college. Her immigration status was normalized after college.

Diane attended the University of Illinois, where she majored in economics and political science and won numerous prizes. 

At the University of Illinois, Diane founded and led an organization devoted to promoting educational opportunities for the undocumented. Following graduation she worked as a community organizer for the Washington [State] Community Action Network and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. 


David Reshef

DAVID N. RESHEF is currently enrolled in the Harvard/MIT MD/Ph.D. program. 

David was born in Israel, spent his early childhood in Kenya, and moved to the US when he was eight. 

David graduated from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science in 2008 and continued on to earn a master’s degree in computer science in 2009.  He then won a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford, where he is pursuing an MSc in statistics. study at the Harvard/MIT MD/PhD program.

David has spent time working on public health initiatives in India, Zambia, and Peru. These experiences inspired him to co-found the MIT Global Poverty Initiative and to organize a major international conference on development. As a computer scientist and statistician, he has worked on developing an automated method for malaria diagnosis, a high-throughput muscle membrane repair assay for muscular dystrophy, and a software platform for analyzing and visualizing the spread of diseases which has been used by the CDC, the Clinton Foundation, the NIH, and the Harvard School of Public Health. His current efforts are directed towards developing novel statistical methods for analyzing extremely large data sets to uncover and characterize an unprecedented range of correlations and complex patterns among variables.


Shayak Sarkar

SHAYAK SARKAR is currently pursuing both a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and a law degree from Yale.

Shayak was born in Morristown, NJ to Bengali parents. His family has lived in nine cities scattered across five states.

Shayak attended Harvard, where he earned AB and AM degrees in applied mathematics and statistics and won election to Phi Beta Kappa. Then as a Rhodes Scholar, he earned MSc degrees with distinction at Oxford in evidence-based social work and development economics.  

In college, Shayak directed the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, worked with LGBT youth living on the streets, and taught a baking-based, service learning ESL curriculum to refugees. He also served as treasurer of the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), Harvard’s largest student organization and center for social action.  In India, he has worked as a researcher on educational census, gender empowerment, and anti-sex trafficking projects with local NGOs.


Daniel Solis

DANIEL SOLIS is currently a medical student at Stanford Medical School.

Daniel was five when he came to the US from Honduras with his mother and three brothers.

Daniel attended Pomona College on a full scholarship and – with the encouragement of a faculty mentor – applied for and received a McNair scholarship. A chemistry professor nurtured Daniel’s McNair project and helped him receive a scholarship from the American Chemical Society. He graduated from Pomona with a major in chemistry and a minor in Spanish.  

Daniel then spent two years at the National Institutes of Health where he researched the genetics of a neuroendocrine cancer caused by mutations in the SDHB gene. Through an ingenious method of direct examination and telemedicine, he characterized the clinical presentation of this cancer in several medically underserved families of Mexican descent and became the author of four published papers, on one of which he was first-author.

Daniel then worked for an additional two years as a premedical counselor at the University of California at Riverside, and subsequently was accepted to the MD program at Stanford Medical School. 

Daniel intends be a radiation oncologist and will use his Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship to support the last two years of his medical studies.


Carlos Torres

CARLOS TORRES is pursuing his MD at Harvard Medical School. 

Carlos grew up in a small farming town in Mexico but moved to Milwaukee, WI when he was ten.  Carlos is a naturalized citizen.

The first person in his family to attend college, he majored in psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.  He received both a Gates Millennium Scholarship and a Chancellor Scholarship.  Following his graduation from Wisconsin in 2010, Carlos entered Harvard Medical School.

As a sophomore pre-med student, Carlos co-founded the Professional Association of Latinos for Medical School Access to promote mentoring of young Latinos interested in medicine.  He also organized and led discussions on drugs, gangs, goal setting, and college planning for an organization that sought to reduce delinquency among Latino youth.  

 As a member of the Student Immigrant Movement, Carlos has worked to promote the DREAM Act.  He also volunteers as a certified HIV counselor and tester in an underserved area of Massachusetts. 


Steve Xu

STEVE XU is a MD candidate at Harvard Medical School. 

Steve and his parents left China following Tiananmen Square.  They reside in Diamond Bar, CA and are naturalized citizens.

Recently, Steve earned a master’s in health policy/finance at the London School of Economics on a Marshall scholarship.  As a Rice/Baylor Medical Scholar, Steve completed his bachelor’s in bioengineering at Rice University summa cum laude

At Rice, Steve was a Goldwater scholar and selected for USA Today’s Academic First Team.  His current research focus include commercializing medical devices for heart failure monitoring and hand orthopedics, a web IT tool to address health literacy and medical innovation policy. He has authored ten journal articles, presented at major conferences, listed as an inventor on five patents and won grant funding from competitive government and industry sources. 

Out of his research, Steve has founded three companies.  As CEO, Steve led one of his ventures to its first product sale within 15 months of founding.  Collectively, his ventures have raised over $1.5 million in financing with profiles of Steve and his work highlighted by Fortune, Forbes and Engadget.