P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Eric Chung, 2016

JD, Yale University

Eric Chung is an immigrant born to parents from Vietnam

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law and Policy at Yale University

Eric leads the Fellowship community and its 750+ members as Chair of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellows Association. A son of immigrants from Vietnam, Eric grew up in Madison Heights, a small city near Detroit, Michigan, where he witnessed firsthand the importance of educational and economic mobility. Inspired by his parents’ sacrifices to ensure a better life for their children, and by the many undeterred students and teachers in his hometown who made the most of limited resources, Eric has made it his mission to use his own opportunities to help others access theirs.

Eric received his AB, summa cum laude, from Harvard University, where he studied comparative social policy with a focus on education, health, and welfare systems. He served as a Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellow at the US Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and organized a field study on educational equality in Finland with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Eric became certified as an educator with the Harvard Graduate School of Education and taught civics for South Boston and Boston Chinatown immigrants. He then received his JD from Yale Law School, where he was a student director of the Education Adequacy Project, a clinic representing disadvantaged youth in an educational rights case, and a member of the Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic. Eric researched at the intersection of law and policy, exploring how legal frameworks including constitutional rights and federalism can improve social policy.

Eric is now a lawyer specializing in administrative law, constitutional law, legislation, and regulation, with public service experience in all three branches of government. He is Associate Chief Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he is advising the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act, a landmark economic and national security law. In 2022, Eric served as Special Counsel to Chair Dick Durbin and the US Senate Judiciary Committee to assist with the confirmation process of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court. Eric also practiced as an appellate and public policy lawyer at Covington & Burling LLP; interned with the US Department of Justice, US Department of State, US Supreme Court, and the White House; and clerked in state and federal appellate courts. In 2017, he co-authored The Portrait Project: A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law 1.0, the first comprehensive study of Asian Americans in the legal profession. Eric received a scholarship from the Rosa L. Parks Scholarship Foundation in 2010 and was selected as its Alumnus of the Year in 2023.

Education
  • JD Law and Policy | Yale University 2017
  • BA Government, Global Health and Health Policy | Harvard University 2014
Awards
  • Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges Herbert J. Hansell Student Fellowship | 2015
  • Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies Fellowship | 2015
  • Squire Patton Boggs Foundation Public Policy Fellowship | 2015
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Law Foundation Presidential Scholarship | 2014
  • Phi Beta Kappa | 2013
  • Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowship | 2012
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