P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Stephanie Speirs, 2015

Co-Founder and President, Solstice Initiative

Stephanie Speirs is the child of immigrants from Laos and South Korea

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MBA in Business at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Stephanie was born in Hawaii to a father who was adopted from China and a mother who emigrated from Korea to attend school in the United States. Stephanie's mother escaped an abusive marriage, and found herself struggling to both raise her three kids alone and pay for the one-bedroom apartment that they all shared. She instilled in Stephanie a reverence for hard work, and Stephanie threw herself into school and jobs to help pay for expenses at home.

Stephanie went on to receive a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a master's degree in public affairs with a focus on international development from Princeton University. Stephanie's education and professional experiences have been guided by a belief in social progress. She managed field operations in seven states for President Barack Obama's campaign and developed Middle East policy as the youngest-ever director at the White House National Security Council.

Seeking to pivot towards issues that affect households on a daily basis, Stephanie will earn an MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management and work to expand clean energy access to low-income households. She is currently a global fellow with Acumen, a nonprofit venture fund, and the innovation manager in India at d.light, a solar company powering rural villages without reliable electricity. While at MIT, she will continue building Solstice Initiative, the first-of-its-kind social enterprise she co-founded to transform the number of Americans that can access solar power.

  • MBA Business | Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2017
  • MPA Public Policy | Princeton University 2014
  • BA History, International Studies | Yale University 2013
Work History
  • Solstice Initiative, Co-Founder and President | January 2014 - PRESENT
  • Acumen Fund, Global Fellow, Summer Portfolio Associate | June 2013 - September 2015
  • White House National Security Council, Director for Yemen | May 2010 - July 2012
  • Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Secretary, Special Assistant | May 2009 - May 2010
  • Obama for America, Deputy Field Director | June 2007 - November 2008
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