May 2018: Hope for the Future

May 2018: Hope for the Future

Hope for the Future: The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans – 2018 Winners

Celebrating the Contribution of Immigrants to American Life and Prosperity

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program supports the graduate education of 30 New Americans—immigrants and children of immigrants—“who are poised to make significant contributions to US society, culture or their academic field.” Below are brief descriptions of four women who have won scholarships in 2018.

1. Seul (Kathy) Ku
Immigrant from South Korea

After graduating from Harvard and having a successful pilot production of filters under her belt, Kathy moved to Uganda fulltime for three years, helping to build a sustainable company that has since provided more than 100,000 people with access to clean drinking water. As of 2018, SPOUTS employs more than forty people in Uganda and continues to grow as an organization.

At Stanford University, Kathy manages a free health clinic and conducts cost-effectiveness research to maximize care. She hopes to use her diverse experiences to help deliver health care more  effectively in the future.

2. Suchita Nety
Parents immigrated from India

Suchita is interested in forms of storytelling and healing that complement her future role in medicine. While at Caltech, she pursued her love for literature and obtained an English minor, won writing prizes, tutored in the campus writing center, and volunteered for a literacy nonprofit. She attained professional status in Bharatanatyam, a style of Indian classical dance, and is an avid hip hop choreographer.

After completing MD/PhD training at Harvard and MIT, Suchita hopes to serve patients as a medical oncologist, while developing molecular tools to engineer robust and safe cell-based therapies.

3. Wazhma Sadat
Immigrated from Afghanistan

Wazhma has worked on various initiatives across Afghanistan that improved women’s access to education and furthered the economic empowerment of Afghan women.

She is the first Afghan woman to graduate from Yale College. Soon after college, she cofounded Firoz Academy, an ed-tech startup that aims to provide educational and e-employment opportunities for the less privileged in war-stricken countries such as Afghanistan.

Currently, Wazhma attends Yale Law School by day and teaches students in Afghanistan by night. She believes her life’s work will be to advocate for and provide educational opportunities for the less privileged in the Muslim world.

4. Yessica Martinez
Immigrated from Colombia

As a high school sophomore, she joined other undocumented students in their struggle to secure the passage of the DREAM Act, a grassroots effort she continued at Princeton University where she led the creation of a scholarship program for undocumented youth, planned lobbying visits, and coordinated efforts to stop the deportation of a Salvadorian migrant.

Yessica majored in comparative literature and creative writing in order to uncover marginalized peoples’ perspectives and push back against dominant narratives. Advised by current United States poet laureate Tracy K. Smith, Yessica traveled along the US-Mexico border and developed a poetry collection on state violence and migration. Her academic work and activism earned her the Moses Taylor Pyne Honor Prize, the highest distinction conferred by the university on an undergraduate.

As an educator, community organizer, and writer, Yessica hopes to empower marginalized  communities by affirming their strength, resilience, and creativity.

For more information about the fellowships, visit: