Eric Chung is the new chair of the alumni organization of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, the premier graduate school fellowship for immigrants and the children of immigrants in the United States. Eric is a 2016 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow and a 2017 graduate of Yale Law School, where the Fellowship supported his studies. An appellate and public policy lawyer at Covington & Burlington LLP, Eric has been a member of the alumni board since 2019, and most recently served as the co-coordinator of communications and technology.
In addition to leading the alumni organization, called the PDSFA, Eric will join the Fellowship’s board of directors as a representative of the Fellows. In his role as chair of the PDSFA and as a member of the board of directors, Eric’s primary duty will be to represent the Fellows community, which now includes over 700 members, and ensure the continued success and strength of the lifelong community that so many Fellowship recipients look to throughout their lives.
"The Fellowship is one of the most vibrant communities I have ever been privileged to be a part of, with Fellows from all backgrounds and disciplines. I’ve grown so much and met some of my closest friends here," said Eric. "It’s a true honor to be able to represent and give back to such a wonderful community and support its commitment to lifelong learning and collaboration."
Eric will be taking over the chair position from past PDSFA Chair Roxana Daneshjou (2014 Fellow), who has worked closely with Eric since she recruited him to the PDSFA board when she began as chair in 2019.
Under Roxana’s leadership, the PDSFA streamlined events to make it easier for Fellows to propose and hold events and attend events that featured Fellows. The PDSFA also held author events featuring Fellow writers like Sunita Puri (2004 Fellow), Meera Deo (2005), and Sanjena Sathian (2017 Fellow), and the PDSFA helped Fellows gather over meals across the country, from Houston, to San Diego, and from Boston to San Francisco. Barely missing a beat, Roxana and Eric brought the Fellowship community’s events online in 2020 in response to the pandemic. They’ve hosted dozens of events since the pandemic began, including a monthly virtual book club organized by West Coast Activities Coordinator Nina Rastogi (2007 Fellow), welcome events for new Fellows, and conversations that gather the alumni in an informal way to learn from one another.
"The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship is truly like a family. I feel honored to have been able to serve this amazing community, which has given so much to me over the years. I've made some of my dearest friends through this fellowship," Roxana explained. "I feel especially grateful to the Soros family and the members of the PD Soros fellowship team—Craig Harwood, Yulian Ramos, Nikka Landau, and Saidou Camara for helping us build such an amazing community."
"Roxana and Eric have given so much of themselves to this Fellowship community. I can’t thank Roxana enough for her remarkable leadership before and through the pandemic, and I’m very much looking forward to continuing to work with Eric," said Fellowship Director Craig Harwood. "Our Fellowship supports young leaders and the community they find in this Fellowship can be critical to their success in navigating their careers and lives. It truly is an honor to see such remarkable Fellows like Eric and Roxana recognize that and step up to ensure the community’s strengths."
Roxana will continue to have a strong presence in the PDSFA as she takes on a new role on the board focused on the Bay Area where she resides. Eva Luo (2012 Fellow) will stay on the PDSFA in her role as East Coast activities coordinator, Lorenzo Sewanan (2017 Fellow) will transition from communications and technology co-coordinator to treasurer, and Shirag Shemassian (2010 Fellow) will stay on in his role as mentorship coordinator. Eric Feigl-Ding (2008 Fellow) and Nina Rastogi (2007 Fellow) will transition off the board after having served respectively as treasurer and West Coast activities coordinator.
Born to Chinese parents who emigrated from Vietnam to Canada and then to the United States after the Vietnam War, Eric grew up in Madison Heights, a small city near Detroit, Michigan, where he witnessed firsthand the importance of education as a life-changing source of mobility.
Inspired by his parents’ sacrifices to ensure a better life for their children, and by the many undeterred students and teachers in his hometown who made the most of limited resources, Eric has made it his mission to use his own education to help others access theirs.
Eric received his AB, summa cum laude, from Harvard University, where he studied comparative social policy with a focus on education, health, and welfare systems.
Now, as a lawyer, Eric specializes in litigation and regulatory matters involving administrative law, constitutional law, legislation, and public policy at the local, state, and federal levels. In the spring of 2022, Eric served as special counsel to the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary for Chair Dick Durbin to assist with the confirmation process of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the US Supreme Court. He has also worked on legal and policy issues with a range of other government institutions, including the White House, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State, and state and federal courts.
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 among 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), Alex Iftimie (2009 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), Dena Simmons (2010), and Gaurav Singal (2007 Fellow).