P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Michelle Kuo, 2007

Faculty, American University of Paris

Michelle Kuo is the child of immigrants from Taiwan

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law at Harvard University

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Michelle is the daughter of two naturalized US citizens who were born in Taiwan.

Michelle graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in Harvard College in 2003 with a B.A. in Social Studies and Women's Studies. A Truman Scholar, Michelle served as the volunteer director of the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, the only student-run shelter in the nation. Following graduation, Michelle moved to the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, and taught English at an alternative school for kids who were expelled from other schools.

Michelle graduated from Harvard Law School in 2009, where she received the Outstanding Clinical Student Award for her advocacy of children with special needs and the Derek Bok Distinction in Teaching. Michelle worked as a student attorney at the Criminal Justice Institute, a domestic violence and family mediation clinic, and the Education Law Clinic/Trauma Policy Learning Initiative.

Michelle worked as an immigrants' rights lawyer at Centro Legal de la Raza, located in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California. She advocated for tenants facing evictions, workers stiffed out of their wages, and families facing deportation. Supported by a Skadden Fellowship, Michelle's clients included day laborers, restaurant workers, gardeners, nannies, and home care workers.

Michelle clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan at the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit. She has also taught courses at San Quentin through the Prison University Project, the only college-degree granting program at a state prison in California. 

Currently, Michelle teaches in the History, Law, and Society program at the American University of Paris on issues related to race, punishment, immigration, and the law. She won the 2016 Board of Trustees Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Michelle's book, Reading with Patrick, will be published by Random House in July 2017. A mix of memoir and history, it is a story of race, inequality, and the power of literature in the rural South. 

Michelle is married to the wonderful Albert Wu, a historian of Europe and East Asia. 


  • JD Law | Harvard University 2009
  • MPhil Developmental Studies | University of Cambridge 2004
  • BA Social Studies and Women's Studies | Harvard University 2003
Select Publications
  • http://www.randomhousebooks.com/campaign/reading-with-patrick/
Work History
  • American University of Paris, Faculty
Related Articles

Michelle Kuo’s Memoir on Race and Equality

After two years as a Teach for America Corps member in Arkansas, Michelle Kuo (2007 Fellow) headed to Harvard Law School to continue on with her career. But just before she graduated she found out that one of her favorite students had been accused of...

Read More

2016-2017 Edition: The New American

The New American features stories about Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows making an impact across sectors and across the country. Read about immigrants and children of immigrants and how they are giving back to the United States.

Read More
transform="translate(188.000000, 15.000000)"