2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Mussab Ali holding the New York Times with the announcement of the new class. Mussab stands with his parents in front of Jersey City's City Hall. Mussab became one of the youngest Muslims elected to office in America in Jersey City when he was elected to the Jersey School Board.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Osaremen Okolo on the White House lawn holding the New York Times announcement of the new Fellows. Osaremen is a policy advisor for the White House Office on COVID-19 Response and will begin her PhD at Harvard as a Presidential Scholar.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Andrea Alejandra Deleón Cruz holds the New York Times announcement advertisement in the Yale Law School courtyard. Andrea was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador and immigrated to the United States when she was six.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Laura Nicolae, the daughter of Romanian immigrants, on the steps at Widener Library in Harvard Yard. Laura is pursuing her PhD in business economics.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Katarina Richter-Lunn was born in Spain and is the child of British and German immigrants. Here she is holding the announcement of the 2022 Fellows in Harvard Yard. Katarina is now in the doctoral design program at Harvard. Her work today focuses on using technology, neurological and physiological metrics, and existing research in cognitive psychology to quantify the built environments effect on mental health.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Tania Fabo is an immigrant from Germany of Cameroonian heritage. Tania is currently an MD/PhD student at Stanford where she is focused on genetics. This photo captures her in lab after a morning of medical school classes. She's holding the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships New York Times Announcement of the 2022 Fellows.
Born in Shijiazhuang, China, 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Wenjie Gong holds a copy of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships Class of 2022 New York Times announcement. She is in front of Annenberg Hall at Harvard University where she is a college senior. In the fall of 2022 she will begin her PhD in physics at MIT.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Syamantak Payra holds the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships 2022 New York Times Announcement on the MIT campus in front of "Alchemist," a sculpture by Jaume Plensa. Syamantak is the child of immigrants from India, a senior at MIT, and he will be pursuing his PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford University beginning in the fall of 2022. Syamantak wrote an ekphrastic poem about the Alchemist in 2019, which was featured in a Houston-area juried anthology and reading in 2019.
“The Alchemist” is a sculpture by Jaume Plensa, on permanent public exhibition at the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA. It shows a man with knees drawn to his chest, the structure “created from numeric symbols as an ‘homage to all the researchers and scientists’ who have contributed to scientific and mathematical knowledge.” (MIT Visual Arts Center)
Alone he sits, and waits, and bates
his breath, that he might know the world.
For in his mind he calculates,
and secrets ancient come unfurled.
Amidst ancient pillars and stone firmaments,
wizened professors with unruly hair shake fistfuls of paper,
earmarked with circular coffee-stains and circuitous footnotes.
Fountain pens scratching with worn nibs.
A flourish of ink, a flurry of revelation.
He looms afar; a lump of steel,
with concrete pressing at his heel,
The Alchemist, his world dissolves
into the numbers that he solves.
Worker-ant sleep-deprived students
nod their heads, jot down the ideas within.
Children, faces emblazoned with those same dark rings,
their eyes like peering into a mug of black coffee,
the coffee that has become their soul.
But step inside and look around:
the sky takes on a sculpted lens,
and thoughts with numbers do abound
as scribbled by the thinkers' pens.
Like the smell of worn library-book pages,
the must of printed paper
with traces of fingers that once held them.
Gone, but never lost.
Gone, but not forgotten.
What is art, if not a product of the mind?
Then is not product all a work of art?
For scientists do seek, and they shall find,
Their quest a matter of mind, hand, heart.
"Knowledge is all around us," it seems to say.
"And as you are within it, it is within you."
A supplicant at wisdom's gates,
what little we do know for sure -
Alone he sits, and waits, and bates
his breath, that he might think some more.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Fernanda De La Torre spent her early childhood with her younger sister and grandmother in Guadalajara, Mexico. She immigrated to the United States when she was 12. Now she is an MIT PhD student studying brain and cognitive sciences. Here she is pictured with Kimberly Benard, the associate dean and director of distinguished fellowships and academic excellence at MIT.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Alexander (Olek) Pisera grew up in Bedford, Massachusetts. Olek’s parents immigrated from Lodz, Poland while it was still under a communist regime, seeking opportunities beyond what was possible there. Overstaying a visa and getting citizenship through a lottery they found a place in America. Now, a PhD student at UC Irvine, he is working in Professor Chang Liu’s lab where his research is in building synthetic biological systems and in directed evolution. He is developing a system that could allow for discovery of antibodies against classes of mammalian cell surface proteins that have been inaccessible with current technologies.
Despite being born in the United States, 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Patrick Collard grew up in Guerrero, Mexico. Patrick and his father moved to the United States in 2013 when Patrick was 15 years old. The contrast between Mexico and the US was stark and sparked Patrick’s early interest in development economics. Since graduating from college, Patrick has worked as a pre-doctoral research fellow with Economist Amy Finkelstein at MIT. While working on health economics projects at MIT, Patrick has become increasingly aware of the flaws of the American healthcare system and hopes to investigate ways to improve access and quality of care for individuals with especially complex backgrounds. Patrick will obtain a PhD in economics and hopes to contribute to our society’s understanding of poverty and the policies in and outside of the US that shape lives like his own.
Born and raised in Torreón Coahuila, México, 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Arturo Macías Franco always dreamt of being a cowboy. He spent most of his childhood visiting his grandfather’s parcel—admiring nature and the arid agricultural operations of Northern México helped formalize his passion for agriculture. At 17, pursuing a better education and life, Arturo immigrated to the United States, escaping the inhabitable violence brought by the drug wars. Though challenging, his experiences as an immigrant, specifically, those in higher education allowed Arturo to find his path and give back. At times working three jobs to pay for his tuition and living expenses, Arturo attended Napa Valley Community College prior to transferring to the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). At UNR, Arturo was able to relive many of his childhood memories by attending an institution with a heavy emphasis on dryland agriculture systems. He completed his BSc degrees in agriculture and in veterinary science where he was recognized as the Outstanding Graduating Senior. Arturo’s current work addresses global issues relevant to dryland agriculture systems. He is interested in supporting agricultural communities by developing tools that allow producers to feed themselves and their communities more sustainably.
Born in Kogi State, Nigeria, 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Christeebella Akpala moved to Dallas, Texas at the age of 17 as an immigrant due to the civil unrest and instability brought on by the Boko Haram terrorist group. Thrust into a whole new life and all by herself, Christeebella began working at Subway to save for college so she could pursue her dream of being a doctor. Despite being promoted to a shift supervisor and starting community college classes, Christeebella lived in and out of a homeless shelter because of the high cost of education and rent. After translating for the US Navy, she was able to attend college, get her nursing degree, and become an RN. Now, she is pursuing her MD at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Tao Hong was raised by his grandparents in Zhoushan, a small island city in the East China Sea. After graduating from high school, Tao chose to work in an auto repair shop to support his family because his mother was diagnosed with a stage II breast cancer. After working for two years, he immigrated to the United States with his family in 2014 when he was 21. Tao started studying English and engineering at CUNY’s Queensborough Community College where he picked up his childhood dream of becoming a college professor while conducting nanomaterials research with Professor Moni Chauhan and learning organic chemistry from Professor Paris Svoronos. He later transferred to and graduated from Cornell. Tao is currently a PhD student at the Interdisciplinary Material Science program at Vanderbilt University where he is co-advised by Professor Jason Valentine and Professor Deyu Li. He is working to develop a portable device for certain cancer diagnosis enabled by integration between nanophotonics, microfluidics, and machine learning. He hopes his work will accelerate and extend portable cancer diagnosis instrumentation to help patients like his mother.
A native New Yorker who was raised in Brooklyn, 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Edward Friedman (he/him/his) is the first child of Oskar and Diana Friedman. His parents are Jewish refugees who met in Brooklyn after each immigrating to the United States with their families in 1989 as teenagers from Moscow and Kyiv respectively in the former Soviet Union. Born with cerebral palsy in New York City and a power (motorized) wheelchair user, Edward is a passionate disability justice advocate. Prior to entering Yale Law School, he was the policy and intergovernmental affairs coordinator at the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. In that role, Edward was the main contact for stakeholders, including high-level New York City and State partners, on all policy and legislative matters related to people with disabilities.
Born and raised in Redmond Washington, 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Audrey Chen is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants from Taichung who immigrated to the United States in pursuit of further education. Through the support of her parents and a robust elementary school orchestra program, Audrey found her way to the cello and was challenged and inspired by its possibilities. As an undergraduate at Harvard University, Audrey studied molecular and cellular Biology while she took lessons at the New England Conservatory (NEC) as part of the Harvard/NEC Dual Degree Program. During her years at Harvard, she sought to better understand how to foster connections between people from different fields through shared musical experiences. Audrey has been featured at festivals including Music@Menlo, Perlman Music Program, Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Youth Music Cultural Guangzhou, Tanglewood Music Center, and Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival.
Audrey is currently pursuing her doctorate in musical arts at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaching at Hunter College, CUNY in New York City. She aims to combine performance with education and her research on the systems that underlie classical music’s culture in order to better share and expand classical music to all.
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Rishi Goel is the child of immigrants from Lucknow, India. Rishi is currently an MD student at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his clinical training, he is a research fellow in the laboratory of E. John Wherry who he is pictured with here. Rishi's recent work focuses on understanding immune responses to viral pathogens and has led to new insights into the development of immune memory after SARS-CoV-2 infection and mRNA vaccination. More broadly, he has been involved in launching the Immune Health Project at Penn, which aims to bring immune profiling into the clinic to better diagnose, treat, and prevent disease.
Rishi has published more than 20 academic papers, including first-author publications in Science, Cell, and Nature Medicine. During the pandemic, he has also been a leading science communicator on COVID vaccines, with regular contributions to major news outlets such as The Atlantic, Nature News, and NPR. He hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist, using the latest innovations in immunology research to improve patient care.
Growing up, 2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Rishi Goel was inspired by his grandfather (pictured here)—a professor of civil engineering - who brought scientific curiosity and wonder to everyday household tasks. In particular, they found a shared excitement in baking and spent their weekends together experimenting with new ingredients and methods to perfect their recipes.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Hari Srinivasan was born in the San Francisco Bay area to parents from India. As a bright eyed and social toddler living in a well ranked school district, Hari was expected to follow the successful educational path of his peers. However, between 18 months and age 2, Hari lost all his developmental milestones, including his ability to speak. He was diagnosed with autism and ADHD at age three. His parents were now faced with not only the traditional challenge of cultural assimilation, but also the daunting task of trying to understand their child's autism and the maze of disability services, therapies, and treatments. Existing discrimination towards the disabled often meant cultural isolation and exclusion from their own immigrant community.
Hari is now a senior at UC Berkeley, where he is majoring in psychology and minoring in disability studies. While at college, Hari has written over 50 articles on autism for the Daily Californian, worked for various research labs, and taught a class on autism as a student instructor that he designed for eight semesters. Next year, he will begin his PhD in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Lawrence Wang was born in Rochester, New York, and raised in the multicultural San Francisco Bay Area. Lawrence’s first memories are of his godparents, whose nurturing care imbued him with the kindness and optimism that are at the core of his psyche. These traits were further developed by his mother (pictured here), an immigrant from Taipei, Taiwan, who raised Lawrence as a single parent. She always worked to provide him with all the opportunities she lacked growing up in post-war Taiwan, including supporting his attendance of the selective private high school, Bellarmine College Preparatory, where he received a rigorous education instilled with Jesuit moral values that kindled his desire to serve those less fortunate than himself. Lawrence is currently finishing his Doctor of Philosophy in biomedical sciences at the University of Oxford and the NIH. He researches antimalarial monoclonal antibodies in the labs of Simon Draper and Robert Seder, respectively. The highlight of Lawrence’s graduate school experience was his discovery of a monoclonal antibody that potently prevents malaria, which completed Phase I testing at the NIH and is undergoing further clinical trials in Africa.
2022 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows and Yale Law School students Andrea Alejandra Deleón Cruz and Edward Friedman together with the New York Times advertisement.