Paul & Daisy Soros Program Awards $2.7 Million to Support Education for New Americans

Recipients include children of refugees, a national leader in immigration reform, and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan

Apr 30, 2014, 09:00 ET from Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

NEW YORK, April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thirty scholars, all of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants, will receive $90,000 grants each to pursue graduate studies at U.S. universities, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans announced today.   

"These remarkable scholars are poised to make significant and lasting contributions to American life," said Dr. Craig Harwood, who directs the program and mentors fellows as their academic, professional, and artistic careers evolve. "The 2014 fellows underscore the remarkable diversity that New Americans represent. They include future leaders in science, medicine, music, documentary film, law, and politics."

This year's recipients include scholars whose families came to the U.S. in order to escape persecution. One young woman, earning her Ph.D. in performance studies at Northwestern, has parents who were boat refugees during the Vietnam War. Another is a talented composer graduating from Juilliard whose family fled Russia to avoid religious persecution; he will be starting a Ph.D. in music composition.

Many of the fellows overcame great odds to pursue their education. They include a woman from the Philippines currently studying at UCLA Law School who, following her mother's death, raised her younger sister and cared for her ailing grandmother; and a woman from Mexico studying at NYU Law School who, after her father was arrested and deported, became a national leader in immigration reform and a community organizer.

Some of this year's recipients have already made significant contributions to society including a Lebanese-American who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan and will be starting Yale Law School in the fall and an artist who has donated eight million dollars to charity from the sale of his art and who will be pursuing his MBA. Another fellow, a Polish-American woman, will be pursuing her Ph.D. in sociology after partnering with an Oscar Award-winning nonprofit production company on an upcoming documentary film about human trafficking, Selling Our Daughters.

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows were selected in a national competition that attracted over 1,200 applications. Selection criteria focus on accomplishments that show creativity, originality, and initiative in light of the challenges and opportunities that have been part of the applicant's immigration story. 

The program is open to college seniors, students in the early stages of their graduate career, and those in the workforce who are seeking graduate training.

SOURCE Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans