Now Reading
8 Indian Americans Among 30 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows for ‘Contributions to the U.S. Across Fields of Study’

8 Indian Americans Among 30 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows for ‘Contributions to the U.S. Across Fields of Study’

  • They were selected from nearly 2,000 applicants “for their achievements and their potential to make meaningful contributions” to the U.S.

Eight Indian Americans and one Sri Lankan American are among 30 recipients of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a merit-based graduate school program for immigrants and children of immigrants. Dhruv Gaur, Shyamala Ramakrishna, Jaspreet Kaur, Omair M. Khan, Nathan Mallipeddi, Arjun Menta, Vaibhav Mohanty, Shomik Verma and Ashri Anurudran were selected from nearly 2,000 applicants “for their achievements and their potential to make meaningful contributions to the United States across fields of study,” according to The Paul & Daisy Soros Foundation. They each will receive up to $90,000 in funding to support their graduate studies. 

“Immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees have and continue to make our nation stronger,” said Fellowship Director Craig Harwood. “The diverse perspectives and approaches that each fellow this year, and the many who have come before them, bring to their fields and our society is remarkable and inspiring.” The alumni network includes U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who is the first surgeon general of Indian descent and helped lead the national response to Ebola, Zika, and the coronavirus.

Dhruv Gaur is the winner of the 2018 “Jeopardy! College Championship.” A year later, he appeared on Jeopardy! again, and gained national attention for showing support for host Alex Trebek, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He used this attention to promote a national fundraising campaign for pancreatic cancer research, raising over $100,000. Gaur graduated from Brown University, where he studied public health and economics while becoming “deeply involved in research, service, and advocacy,” according to his profile on the Soros website. Motivated by the overdose crisis in his hometown, he joined the People, Place, and Health Collective as an undergraduate researcher. He was an outreach worker, and later co-director for Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere, a student organization fighting against homelessness and poverty in Rhode Island. Since graduating from college, he has worked as a pre-doctoral research fellow at Harvard, studying inequalities in health and higher education. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in economics “to study the drivers and consequences of severe marginalization such as drug overdose, homelessness, and poverty.”

Shyamala Ramakrishna will use her fellowship to support work towards a JD at Yale, after graduating cum laude from the university with a degree in ethics, politics, and economicss. A student of Carnatic music, she is the lead vocalist in her band, FORAGER. At Yale, she music directed “Shades,” a singing group “that centers on Black musical traditions and conducts vocal music workshops at underserved public schools around the United States,” her Soros profile said. She worked in legal research at the American Civil Liberties Union and in arts administration at the Asian American Arts Alliance. After graduation, she worked in Future of Work policy as a fellow with the State of New Jersey, “where she contributed to regulations addressing the discriminatory impacts of algorithmic hiring technology and co-proposed a system of portable benefits for vulnerable contingent workers,” the profile said. She also organized as a volunteer with Court Watch NYC and co-founded a national database of policy proposals to redirect police funding to critical community services.

Jaspreet Kaur is co-founder of Brown Girl Joy Productions, “which aims to create films to uplift intersectional narratives of underrepresented communities, according to its website. As a response to the xenophobia against Sikhs and Muslims post 9/11, she began creating films that challenged the stereotypical depiction of underrepresented people in mainstream media. In high school, she founded the ‘L.A. Film Summit: Shaping the Future’ which brought together 75 high school students to create short films on seven different social issues like women’s rights, poverty, and discrimination. At Harvard College, she double majored in folklore and mythology and theater, dance, and media, and graduated magna cum laude as “the only Sikh student and one of six DACAmented students in the Harvard College class of 2021,” the profile added. She produced an LGBTQ+ short film “Zindagi Dobara.” As an Artist Disruptors Fellow with the Center for Cultural Power, she wrote an original, LGBTQ+, South Asian drama television pilot. 

A child of immigrants from Sri Lanka, Ashri Anurudran, an MD student at Harvard University, emigrated from the United Kingdom and Malaysia. An aspiring physician-advocate, she is committed to advancing gender equity in global health. For almost a decade, she has committed to elevating the voices of survivors of gender-based violence through prevention, research, and advocacy. In 2016, she founded a sexual violence prevention program for adolescents in Kenya, which has trained over 2000 students in 10 primary schools. In 2019, she ran a randomized control trial of 1,200 students to evaluate her program’s efficacy — she was awarded the Harvard Hoopes Prize and the Harvard Cheng Social Innovation Fellowship for this work. In 2020, she spearheaded the COVID-19 Taskforce on Domestic Violence, a nonprofit to investigate, educate, and advocate on behalf of survivors. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in economics and global health in 2019. In 2020, she graduated first in her class from the University of Cambridge with an M.Phil in public health. She then worked at the Stanford Intimate Partner Violence Research Laboratory before starting at Harvard Medical School.

A New Orleans, Louisiana native, Omair M. Khan, is pursuing his MD/Ph.D. in stem cell biology & regenerative medicine at Stanford University. At the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), a boarding school where he received a full-ride scholarship, Khan formed an early interest in science and research. There, he published three scientific papers. At Yale, he studied molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and global health studies. Building off his research exposure in high school, he spent four years conducting basic science research in the laboratory of Professor Richard Flavell, where he studied T-cell metabolism and mucosal immunology, culminating in authorship on two scientific papers published in Nature. He also works as a senior fellow for ARTIS Ventures, a life science venture capital firm pioneering investments in TechBio, and is the inaugural Jim Valentine TechBio Fellow at the Institute of Education (IFE), a non-profit organization committed to engaging the global community to harness the power of data, innovation, and soft diplomacy.  

A UCLA graduate, Nathan Mallipeddi founded Myspeech to connect people who stutter with critical speech therapy resources. The biotechnology investor is currently an MD/MBA student at Harvard Medical School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. To date, Myspeech has impacted 30,000+ people who stutter in 25+ countries, and the services have demonstrated a 90% improvement in quality of life and 15X reduction in cost. As a founding investor of VANA Capital, he sourced multiple investments in the biotechnology space. The author of 10 publications, his research has been published in many academic journals. According to his Soros profiler, “he aspires to a career as a healthcare operator and investor focused on transforming the delivery of healthcare services for people with communication disorders.”

See Also

Arjun Menta, a MD candidate at Johns Hopkins University is an accomplished researcher leading multiple scientific and translational efforts in neurosurgery and holds multiple patents. He graduated with the highest honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s in business administration and a bachelor’s in science & arts, along with coursework and research in engineering, data science, and artificial intelligence. Currently, he is pursuing an MD at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where, in addition to his clinical training, “he leads multiple research and commercialization efforts with preeminent neurosurgical physician-innovators n an effort to improve the current medical paradigm,” said his Soros profile. Ultimately, he aims to be a physician-innovator, bridging the gaps among practical medicine, research, and innovation—serving as a conduit between developing solutions at the bench and translating them to the bedside. 

Vaibhav Mohanty, a theoretical physicist aspiring to develop novel therapeutic approaches to combat evolving diseases, is an MD/Ph.D. in chemistry at Harvard University and MIT. Accepted to Harvard College at age 15, he graduated in 2019 with a master’s degree in chemistry (theory) and a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in chemistry, physics with a minor in music. While at Harvard, he was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society as part of Harvard’s Junior 24 and received a 2018 Barry Goldwater Scholarship for his physics research. He received a Marshall Scholarship in 2019 to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical physics at the University of Oxford’s Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics. He received his first PhD (DPhil) in 2022 at age 22. A well-known composer, his national award-winning large wind ensemble and chamber works have been published widely. He also actively performs as a jazz pianist around the country. 

When Shomik Verma lost his uncle to black lung he decided it was time to devote his life to clean energy. While studying mechanical engineering at Duke University, he helped lead the Duke Electric Vehicles team to two Guinness World Records for fuel efficiency, for both battery electric and fuel cell vehicles. In the UK, as a Marshall Scholar, he worked on improving the efficiency of solar cells, completing an MPhil in materials science at Imperial College London on designing novel photon conversion materials using computational chemistry and machine learning, and at the University of Cambridge on embedding these materials in 3D printed parts that could couple with solar cells. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at MIT with Professor Asegun Henry, “where he is working on energy storage to make variable renewable energy sources such as solar more reliable, and on a next-generation power plant based on thermophotovoltaic power conversion,” per his Soros profile. After his Ph.D., Verma hopes to use his skillset to decarbonize industry and make cheap, clean, and reliable energy available to all. 

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top