P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Lorenzo Sewanan, 2017

MD/PhD, Yale University

Lorenzo Sewanan is an immigrant from Suriname

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MD/PhD in Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Yale University

Lorenzo Rakesh Sewanan was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, to Indo-Caribbean parents who migrated there in the 1970s from Guyana to escape the economic and political unrest of the Socialist regime. Lorenzo spent his first sixteen years in the former Dutch colony, exploring his neighborhood, reading books of places real and fantastic, and working at his family's store.

In 2008, the family left Suriname and moved to the United States to pursue a better future. Lorenzo attended Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, for two years and then Trinity College as a QuestBridge College Match Scholar. He majored in physics and mechanical engineering with a minor in writing and rhetoric. He studied abroad in Australia and Asia, engaged with the community through educational and public service initiatives, and conducted research on electric fish neuroethology with Kent Dunlap. He was awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship for his research on intervertebral disk biomechanics in the lab of Nadeen Chahine at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Now at the Yale School of Medicine, Lorenzo is pursuing a PhD in biomedical engineering and an MD in the joint degree medical scientist training program. His current research combines approaches from tissue engineering, molecular mechanics, and computational modeling to understand the biomechanics and mechanobiology of inherited cardiomyopathies. Working with the community on issues of healthcare access, Lorenzo was a cofounder of the Students for a Better Healthcare System campaign and the Primary Care Patient Navigation Program.

Lorenzo is also a published poet and has looked for ways to be involved in humanities-in-medicine projects, such as Murmurs literary magazine and reflective writing workshops. In the future, he aims to practice cardiology as a dedicated, compassionate patient advocate, and to investigate human disease as a rigorous, imaginative scientist.

  • Lorenzo Sewanan GIF
  • BS Engineering (ABET) and Physics, Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Art | Trinity College 2012
  • MD Biomedical Engineering | Yale University
  • PhD Biomedical Engineering | Yale University
  • Trustee Award for Student Excellence, Trinity College
  • President's Fellow for Physics, Trinity College
  • Yale-UCL Collaborative Poetry Competition (1st Prize), Yale-UCL Collaborative
  • Marguerite Rush Lerner Award - Poetry (1st Prize), Yale School of Medicine
  • First Prize (Poetry) Annual Creative Arts Contest
  • Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honors Society
  • Barry Goldwater Scholarship
  • Questbridge Scholarship
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