P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Meena Jagadeesan, 2020

PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Meena Jagadeesan is the child of immigrants from India

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley

Born in Naperville, Illinois, Meena is the daughter of Indian immigrants who immigrated separately to the United States and met years after arriving. Her father immigrated to pursue a PhD in computer science, and her mother immigrated as a child when her parents started mathematics PhD programs in New York. As a result, Meena grew up surrounded by math. Her grandparents taught mathematics, her parents are computer scientists, and her brother went on to become an economist. Meena’s family has always encouraged her to be curious about mathematical questions and this curiosity eventually developed into her passion for computer science research.

Meena is currently a senior at Harvard University, in her final year of a joint bachelor’s and master’s program. She studies computer science, mathematics, and statistics, and has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Meena is broadly interested in research in algorithmic questions, especially those arising in machine learning and economics. She has coauthored six publications in diverse topics in computer science and discrete mathematics. One of her papers, which studies a dimensionality reduction scheme, was selected as an oral presentation at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS). Meena has been awarded the Computing Research Association Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award, and both a Siebel Scholarship and Barry Goldwater Scholarship for her undergraduate research. Outside of her research, she has served as a teaching fellow for a systems programming course at Harvard, where she enjoyed working with students from diverse backgrounds and earned a prize for excellence in teaching.

Meena is pursuing a PhD in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. In the long run, she hopes to pursue a research career in computer science, either in academia or in industry.

  • MS Computer Science | Harvard University 2020
  • AB Computer Science and Mathematics | Harvard University 2020
  • PhD Computer Science | University of California, Berkeley
  • Siebel Scholar, 2020
  • Computing Research Association Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher, 2020
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, 2018
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