P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Dhruv Gaur, 2023

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Dhruv Gaur is the child of immigrants from India

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The son of immigrants from India, Dhruv Gaur was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his parents were completing their medical training before moving to Gainesville, a town in Northeast Georgia. On weekends, his parents would drive Dhruv and his brother to Bal Vihar, a Hindi school in the Atlanta suburbs, where they learned Hindi as part of a close Indian immigrant community.

Dhruv’s parents instilled in him a lifelong love of learning and a commitment to serving his community. In high school, Dhruv volunteered at Bal Vihar as a teaching assistant, where he discovered his love for teaching and mentoring, shaping his career aspiration to become a professor. In Gainesville, Dhruv worked with community leaders to raise awareness about the growing overdose epidemic and advocate for overdose prevention policy.

At Brown University, Dhruv studied public health and economics while becoming deeply involved in research, service, and advocacy. Motivated by the overdose crisis in his hometown, Dhruv joined the People, Place, and Health Collective as an undergraduate researcher, where he published academic articles and maintained real-time data resources used to inform Rhode Island’s overdose policy response. Dhruv was an outreach worker, and later co-director for Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere, a student organization fighting against homelessness and poverty in Rhode Island. He helped connect people experiencing homelessness to social resources and advocated at the Rhode Island state house for better housing and economic policy.

In 2018, Dhruv participated in the televised Jeopardy! College Championship trivia tournament, winning the competition and $100,000. In 2019, he appeared on Jeopardy! again, and gained national attention for showing support for host Alex Trebek, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He used this attention to promote a national fundraising campaign for pancreatic cancer research, raising over $100,000.

Since graduating from college, Dhruv has worked as a pre-doctoral research fellow with Economists Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Nathaniel Hendren at Harvard, studying inequalities in health and higher education. Dhruv intends to pursue a PhD in economics to study the drivers and consequences of severe marginalization such as drug overdose, homelessness, and poverty. He hopes to use his research findings to advocate for policies that uplift people from these extreme circumstances.

  • AB Public Health and Economics | Brown University
  • PhD Economics | Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Jeopardy! College Champion
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
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