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Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships  Every week a different Fellow takes over our IG account to share their New American story. #immigrants #NewAmericans #immigrantkid


Hey there! This is Akash Patel and I'm a 2016 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. I look forward to sharing my New American story this week!

My faith in Jesus Christ and my experiences as a New American have profoundly shaped who I am today. I feel very fortunate to be able to pursue my faith freely in America, where we don’t have to worry about someone knocking on the door because of our personal beliefs. Recent political events may cause some to ponder whether being both a Christian and an immigrant can be a thing. I believe this is a constant reminder of the challenge our societies have faced throughout history: true faith should never be used as a wedge to divide us. My faith has taught me how to love my neighbors and even more so my worst enemies. It has challenged me to pray not simply for my loved ones, but especially for people I have yet to love. It has shown me that true richness doesn’t come in the form of power or wealth or opportunity, but rather it is born out of an active willingness to lay down our time and resources for those in need. I am incredibly grateful for the platform the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship has given me to express my gratitude for my New American experiences! - Suan Tuang, 2016 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow #NewAmerican #religion #pray #christianity #freedomofreligion #iamanimmigrant #ihm2017 #immigrantheritagemonth

This picture is from a Southeast Asian cultural night at MIT. I'm wearing a Zo costume (my ethnic group in Myanmar) singing a Burmese song on my guitar. Part of being a New American for me is celebrating the diversity and the richness of the many heritages we have here. It's like everyone is contributing to the mosaic art, piece by piece. This is definitely a balancing act. In one aspect, we all want to preserve and hold on to our own heritage and traditions that have been passed on for generations by our ancestors. On the other hand, we also want to participate in the greater American culture in unity with our fellow Americans. It's been almost nine years since I've immigrated to the US and I'm still perfecting how to best do that. I'm excited to see how things will play out (no pun intended)! - Suan Tuang, 2016 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow #immigrantexcellence #immigrantheritagemonth #ihm2017 #iamanimmigrant #NewAmerican #MIT #music

Another favorite line from Obama's 2004 DNC speech: "[my parents] imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential." This line perfectly captured my New American experience thus far. I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue my higher education in America. Pictured is me at graduation at MIT and at the white coat ceremony with my family at Harvard Medical School. - Suan Tuang, 2016 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow #iamanimmigrant #immigrad #immigrantexcellence #immigrantheritagemonth #fabricofamerica #Myanmar #Burma

July 10, 2014. I became a US citizen at the historic Faneuil Hall in Boston. As an immigrant trying to process what being a New American meant, I often watched President Obama’s 2004 DNC speech over and over again. It was almost like my pump-up speech for a pregame routine. I felt it spoke to me the endless possibilities of my new home that is America. One of my favorite lines was “[the greatness of America is] a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe.” Having grown up in a country where these things were not possible, I feel fortunate to have been able to pursue my own American Dream. I am a New American as I am shaped by the rich experiences of my past and the future opportunities to follow my aspirations. – Suan Tuang, 2016 Fellow #NewAmerican #immigrant #iamanimmigrant #immigrantheritagemonth #immigrantexcellence #Obama #citizenship #USA #🇺🇸

Hi everyone! I’m Suan Tuang, a 2016 fellow and current MD-PhD student at Harvard/MIT. I’m excited to share with you snapshots of my experiences as a New American this week! I was born and raised in Myanmar (formerly called Burma) and immigrated to the US with my family in 2008 at the age of 16. I’d like to start off with my family picture. I am that grumpy little kid between my two older sisters. Like most New Americans, family means a lot to me. Growing up in a village in a third-world country like Myanmar, we did not have much. There were times when things were not certain. However, I always knew my family would always be there. It was that constant factor in my life. I would not be where I am today without their support and sacrifices. More soon! – Suan Tuang, 2016 Fellow #family #familyfirst #medicine #immigrant #iamanimmigrant #immigrad #immigration #immigrantheritagemonth #Myanmar #Burma #siblings #kids

Raised in Southern California, Amin Aalipour is the son of Iranian Muslim immigrants who came to the United States in pursuit of higher education. Inspired by his parents’ struggles with financial hardship and his Muslim faith, Amin learned early on about the values of simplicity, fearlessness, and sacrifice. Fueled by his mother’s emphasis on mathematical problem solving and his father’s demos with electrical circuits, Amin developed an obsession with the how and why of science. In high school, he joined a lab at the Scripps Research Institute, where he quickly discovered a passion for scientific research. As an undergraduate at Stanford, Amin studied how engineered nanomaterials interact with living cells. His work in a lymphoma clinic and as an HIV counselor inspired him to think about the medical applications of his research, and he became committed to a career as a physician-scientist. Amin earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a combined four years, graduating first in his major and with highest honors from the School of Engineering. He also coauthored six publications, including three first-author papers, and earned the Barry Goldwater Scholarship for his work in the lab. Amin is currently an MD/PhD student at the Stanford University School of Medicine and is working to develop early cancer detection technologies and immunotherapies in the lab of Dr. Sanjiv Gambhir. He also works as a Fellow at Life Science Angels and evaluates potential investments in early stage clinical diagnostics companies. Amin strongly believes early disease detection can fundamentally change the practice of medicine, and he hopes to dedicate his life to this vision. #pdsoros #education #opportunity #immigrad #immigrant #iamanimmigrant #immigrantkid #immigrantheritagemonth #immigrantexcellence #Iran #science #STEM #engineer #medicine

2017 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow David Adewumi’s immigration story begins with his grandparents, both educational reformists from Nigeria, who immigrated to the United States in the late 1970s to complete doctoral programs at Columbia University. After graduating, they returned to Nigeria, where they raised David’s mother and her siblings with a focus on education and hard work, as well as with a deep admiration for the United States. Following in their footsteps, David’s mother and father eventually immigrated to the US and settled in New Hampshire, where David was born. When David was introduced to the trumpet, in his fourth-grade music class, he was immediately drawn to the instrument. But it wasn’t until he heard the music of Roy Hargrove, Miles Davis, and Wynton Marsalis that he decided to dedicate his life to exploring the mysteries and intricacies of jazz. Proving to be the ultimate test of his discipline—he spent countless hours practicing—jazz became David’s second language. His hard work led to many appearances at music festivals and ultimately his acceptance to New England Conservatory. While working on his undergraduate degree there, David began crafting his artistic vision with guidance from the school’s jazz faculty, including Laurie Frink, Ralph Alessi, Jason Moran, Frank Carlberg, John McNeil, and Ran Blake. In 2015 David was one of twenty-four musicians accepted to Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as well as the Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music in Alberta, Canada. In 2016 David was one of five musicians accepted to the Juilliard School’s Jazz Department and is continuing to develop his voice in New York City’s renowned jazz scene. He attributes his success to a loving family that taught him the value of education, dedication to his craft, and faith in Christ. #iamanimmigrant #immigrad #immigrants #immigrantkid #Nigeria #NigerianAmerican #trumpet #jazz #newhampshire #music #opportunity #education

Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2017 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Mayesha Alam always looked up to her father, an engineer, and her mother, who was among the first generation of women in the Bangladesh civil service. When Mayesha was a child, her family moved to Jakarta, where they lived under the Suharto regime. Witnessing Indonesia’s volatile transition to democracy shaped Mayesha’s worldview and solidified an interest in peace building and diplomacy, which led her to Mount Holyoke College for a bachelor’s degree and Georgetown University for a master’s. Mayesha cofounded the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, which she dedicated herself to for five years. She has also worked with the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Her 2014 book, Women and Transitional Justice: Progress and Persistent Challenges in Retributive and Restorative Processes, was inspired by her work at the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kenya and by her parents’ experiences surviving the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Mayesha is now pursuing a PhD in political science at Yale University. She intends to be a public intellectual and stateswoman who shapes civic discourse on human rights and leads principled and effective national security and foreign policy engagement. Her doctoral studies are driven by a desire to bridge theory and practice on questions related to international politics and international law, specifically related to preventing, resolving, and rebuilding after violent conflict. #iamanimmigrant #immigrad #immigrant #Indonesia #Bangladesh

By the age of twelve, Laura Chang had attended public school in McLean, Virginia; a strict private school in Annandale, Virginia; a modest school in rural Pingtung, Taiwan; and an innovative school in Tainan, Taiwan. Two things stayed constant from school to school: her affinity for science and her urge to find her identity between two countries as an American-born daughter of Taiwanese parents. After graduating from high school, Laura decided to return to the United States to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she was born. She majored in physics and pursued research in experimental atomic, molecular, and optical physics (AMO). She carried that focus to Princeton University, where she received the Centennial Fellowship, the Joseph Henry Merit Prize, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She spent the first year of her PhD program continuing research in AMO. Interested in the cross section between AMO and theoretical high energy physics, Laura shifted her concentration to dark matter phenomenology. She hopes to search for and understand the nature of dark matter, and how it fits into established frameworks within physics. At Princeton, Laura is coleader of the Women in Physics Group, whose mission is to foster support and mentorship among women graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the Physics Department. She is also a member of the Women in STEM Leadership Council, a group of graduate students and postdocs from various STEM departments that seeks to effect change in diversity issues and policy at the university. One of Laura’s proudest achievements has been cochairing the organizing committee for the American Physical Society Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Princeton. Over 230 undergraduates from various institutions participated in the conference, aimed to encourage young women to continue in physics. #physics #STEM #womeninscience #womeninstem #Taiwan #Taiwanese #taiwaneseamerican #immigrant #immigrad #iamanimmigrant

Born in Bellevue, Washington, 2017 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Kaveh Danesh is the son of Iranian immigrants. His parents had a rough start in the United States: his father ran out of tuition money for community college, and his mother had severe complications while giving birth. They persevered in hopes that the American Dream would come true for their children. Torn between the arts and sciences, Kaveh attended Duke University and wrote undergraduate theses in English and math. After a postgraduate year in China on a Fulbright Scholarship, he attended Harvard University, where he studied narrative nonfiction and poetry while earning a master’s in statistics. His work—on mathematical models of cancer, the lived experience of cancer patients, the role of college in mediating social mobility, and migrant farmworkers’ rights—has been featured in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Harvard Advocate, New York Times, and Sacramento Bee. He has also served on Duke’s Board of Trustees and interned as a writer at the White House, where he helped President Obama respond to the ten letters put in his briefing book each night. Now at the University of California, Berkeley, Kaveh is working on a PhD in economics while taking journalism courses. Indebted to his parents’ perseverance, he plans to document the obstacles facing society’s most vulnerable people—the poor, sick, uneducated, incarcerated, or otherwise disenfranchised—through applied economics and narrative writing.

Born in Guyana, 2017 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Ivan Forde was two when his mother immigrated alone to the United States so that she could better support her family. Eight years of weekly phone calls and a five-hour plane ride later, Ivan and his four older siblings finally met the cold winter air of New York, their new home. Ivan will never forget the feeling of arriving and the moment of reuniting with his mother. Growing up in Harlem, he made collages as gifts for his mother, who struggled to support her children and help them adjust while working two jobs. During high school, Ivan’s sister recognized his artistic curiosity and gave him a camera. Soon he began capturing his family, friends, and neighborhood in photographs. A career in art became tangible after working with highly accomplished artists and curators on his first group exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem. At Purchase College, State University of New York, Ivan immersed himself in classic poetry to become a stronger reader, earning a bachelor’s degree in literature with an award-winning thesis of self-portraits representing the reader of Paradise Lost. After graduation, he returned to the Studio Museum, among other nonprofit spaces, where he worked with immigrant and first-generation students using photography, literature, and technology to visualize their stories. Ivan’s work has been recognized by the New York Times, the Whitney Museum, Pioneer Works, Vermont Studio Center, and the Lower East Side Printshop. Now pursuing an MFA in visual art at the Columbia University School of the Arts, Ivan is using printmaking, electronic media, and sound installation on a range of projects, such as illuminating the exciting new chapter of the Epic of Gilgamesh uncovered in December 2015. After his training, Ivan hopes to reveal multiplicity and diversity in epic poetry through an immersive exhibition practice. #arts #artist #immigrantheritagemonth #immigration #immigrad #iamanimmigrant #guyana #opportunity #education #firstgen #photography

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