P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Jessica Hwang, 2014

PhD, Stanford University

Jessica Hwang is the child of immigrants from Taiwan

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Statistics at Stanford University

Born in Washington, D.C., Jessica grew up tagging along to the laboratories of her Taiwanese immigrant parents, both scientists. While her parents tended to whirring centrifuges, she would tackle the advanced math problems her mom had set her. On Sundays she attended Chinese language school, an experience that gave her a lifelong love of languages and poetry. Ultimately, though, it was statistics that captured her heart.

As a Harvard undergraduate, Jessica achieved top honors in PhD level classes and worked as a teaching fellow for an introductory probability class. Rather than attracting the typical five to ten students, her section drew over a hundred people and a larger room had to be found. She was subsequently invited to co-author a statistics textbook with her professor. Her work on the textbook won her the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for best senior thesis. She accomplished all this while managing a fifty-person student orchestra and tutoring immigrant students.

Last year, Jessica enrolled in the Statistics PhD program at Stanford University. A member of the university's Statistics for Social Good working group, she aims to partner with advocacy groups and explore how statistics can be used to identify and address social problems.
  • BA Statistics | Harvard University 2013
  • MA Statistics | Harvard University 2013
  • PhD Statistics | Stanford University
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