P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Natalie Jesionka, 2014

PhD, The New School

Natalie Jesionka is the child of immigrants from United States and Poland

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Sociology at The New School

Born in New Jersey, to Polish immigrant parents, Natalie grew up listening to her mother tell stories about the challenges of a life under Communism. Appreciating that her mother's own dreams had been sacrificed for her family, Natalie was determined to help people around the world realize their ambitions.

As an undergraduate at Rutgers University, she founded the PRIZM Project, a global human rights education organization for young women. Natalie also worked to shed light on untold human rights stories, flying across the world to research and report on issues such as refugee rights and human trafficking.

After receiving her Masters of Science in global affairs, Natalie served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, researching stateless Hill Tribes and examining the origins of human trafficking. The work led to a partnership with Shine Global, an Oscar Award-winning nonprofit production company, on the documentary film The Wrong Light.

Natalie served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA. She penned the column Travel Mirror‚ for The Daily Muse, and is the Editor of Shatter the Looking Glass, an online magazine that focuses on ethical travel. Natalie speaks at high schools and universities around the world about how to improve voluntourism and impact travel. In 2019, she will launch Global Elective, an online platform that helps non-traditional travelers to gain access to travel experiences and global opportunities. 

  • MS Global Affairs | Rutgers University 2009
  • BA Journalism | Rutgers University 2007
  • PhD Sociology | The New School
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