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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Roxana Daneshjou Begins Chairship of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans' Fellows Association (PDSFA)

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Roxana Daneshjou has begun her term as the new chair of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows Association (the PDSFA), the alumni organization of the fellowship program. Roxana is a 2014 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow and a 2016 graduate of the MD/PhD program at Stanford Medical School. She has been involved with the PDSFA since her second year of the fellowship program. As chair of the PDSFA, Roxana will not only lead alumni activities for all 625 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows, she will also join the board of trustees of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Eva Luo (2012 Fellow) will join the board as the new East Coast activities coordinator, and Eric Chung (2016 Fellow) and Lorenzo Sewanan (2017 Fellow) will join the board as co-coordinators of technology and communications.

“I’m thrilled to be taking on the chair position of the PDSFA. The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships community is a real family—we are all immigrants and children of immigrants in the pursuit of giving back through our work—we have so much in common despite being from all over the country and world,” Roxana explained. “Daisy Soros has given us this incredible family and it's an honor to serve that community.”  
 
Roxana has worked closely with outgoing PDSFA Chairs Alex Iftimie (2009 Fellow) and Dena Simmons (2010 Fellow) since 2015. Dena was the chair from 2014-2016 and Alex and Dena were co-chairs of the organization from 2016-2018. "We have been so fortunate to have had Dena and Alex at the helm of the PDSFA," Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships Director Craig Harwood commented. "From stewarding a new PDSFA grants program to their leadership on the board of trustees and on the 20 Year Reunion, they have truly demonstrated outstanding service to this organization.”
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    The PDSFA presents at the 2018 Fall Conference.

As the coordinator of West Coast activities from 2016-2018, Roxana brought together Fellows from across the region and was particularly focused on the Bay-Area where she is based. Roxana organized a Bay-Area speaker's series, which has included talks by CareMore Health CEO Sachin Jain (2004 Fellow), NPR Tech Reporter Aarti Shahani (2010 Fellow), and FootHill Community College President Thuy Thi Nguyen (1999 Fellow). In 2016 and 2017, Roxana worked with six Fellows from her class on the Fabric of America social media campaign, which celebrated the stories of immigrants and their families.

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In addition to Alex and Dena, Juan Jofre (2011 Fellow) and Jason Kim (2011 Fellow) will also transition off of the PDSFA board. Juan and Jason have worked on the PDSFA's mentorship program and co-coordinated the East Coast activities position. In addition to organizing the New York City Speaker’s Series, they developed a PDSFA Nerd Night, which featured stories by several Fellows from various fields, and eventually became the biennial Fall Conference StorySlam. Juan and Jason co-led the mentorship coordinator position from 2014-2016.

Nina Rastogi (2007 Fellow) will continue to serve on the PDSFA board as the West Coast activities coordinator. From 2014-2018, Nina served as the technology & communications coordinator on the board. Working closely with the program’s communications director on staff, Nina has put her expertise in writing, marketing, and technology to work to improve the program’s alumni network, including the use of listservs, Salesforce, website profiles, and social media. In addition, Nina took a leadership role in organizing the community around DACA in 2016 and 2017.

Shirag Shemassian (2010 Fellow) will continue in his role as mentorship coordinator, a position that he has held since 2016. Shirag has worked to pair each new Fellow with someone from the alumni community based on their shared interests, geographic location, or professional field. From 2014-2016, Shirag was the treasurer of the PDSFA. 

Eric Feigl-Ding (2008 Fellow) will continue in his role as treasurer of the PDSFA board, which he has held since 2016. As treasurer, Eric oversees the PDSFA’s annual $10,000 budget and the PDSFA Community Service Grants program. The PDSFA Community Grants program supports initiatives that foster connections among the alumni community, contribute to American society, or help get alumni ideas and achievements out into the wider world.

Founded by Nusrat Choudhury (2004 Fellow), Prabhjot Singh (2005 Fellow), Rajesh Vedanthan (1999 Fellow), and Mikhail Shapiro (2004 Fellow), the PDSFA fosters friendships, mentorship, and professional relationships amongst recipients of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. The PDSFA seeks to strengthen the community of Paul and Daisy Soros Fellows and alumni and thereby promote recognition of the vital contribution of New Americans to the United States.

Past PDSFA board members, in addition to those previously mentioned, include Andres Idarraga (2009 Fellow), Hani Elias (2005 Fellow), Adel Elsohly (2009 Fellow), Eduardo Hariton (2012 Fellow), Sejal Hathi (2013 Fellow), Hsing-ay Hsu Kellogg (1999 Fellow), Sumir Meghani (2007 Fellow), Vivek Murthy (1998 Fellow), Mariana Ofosu (2009 Fellow), Abbas Ravjani (2006 Fellow), Camilo Romero (2010 Fellow), Katarina Ruscic (2010 Fellow), and Gaurav Singal (2007 Fellow).