Three Georgia students received $90,000 graduate scholarships from The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a fellowship for immigrants and children of immigrants.
A total of thirty U.S. recipients were selected for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture, or their academic field, and were selected from a pool of 1,443 applicants.
The Georgia students include Abubakar Abid, who went to Walton High School in Cobb County and then onto the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sharada Jambulapati of Cairo, Ga., who is in law school at the University of California-Berkeley; and Binbin Chen who went to school in LaGrange, then to Georgia Tech and is now in medical school at Stanford University.
Each of the Georgia students has an interesting background and distinguished themselves academically and in their communities.
Abubakar has worked studying problems in biology and medicine, developing new kinds of probes to read neural signals and working on ways to make it easier for doctors to diagnose respiratory conditions by developing new, noninvasive, and easy to perform tests. As a student at Stanford, Abubakar will work on building medical devices that can stay in the human body for extended periods of time to provide unique, patient-specific biomedical information that can help diagnose diseases and provide real-time feedback to patients.
He also started a mentoring program for immigrant high school students in the Boston-area, and he helped create an online interface to pair high school and college students that has allowed the program to spread to other universities, including Rice, Columbia, and Harvard.
Sharada is the daughter of Indian immigrants who came to the United States and struggled to acclimate to the South as her father worked as the only immigrant farmer in the Cairo region and her mother worked as a factory seamstress, janitor and nanny.
Her experiences in the South imbued Sharada with a deep commitment to pursue civil rights and racial justice work. At Stanford, she mentored high school students with college applications, created awareness on campus about immigrant human rights, and researched the civil rights abuses of immigration enforcement programs.
When Binbin was ten years old, his father was imprisoned by the Chinese. His mother fled to the United States. After seven years, Binbin was able to obtain his US visa and join his mother. Soon after arriving, Binbin entered Georgia Tech, where he was a biomedical engineering major. Binbin helped organize the first LGBT graduation reception for Georgia Tech.
After graduating, Binbin conducted research in Johannesburg, South Africa, investigating a bimolecular method to assess HIV patients’ drug adherence and observed the social stigma against HIV patients and those who identified as LGBT. This experience led to his advocacy for LGBT health during his medical school training.
Binbin is now in medical school at Stanford, where he is developing bioinformatics tools to understand patient responses to immunotherapy.
Daisy M. Soros and Paul Soros (1926-2013) founded the Fellowship program in 1997, which has awarded more than 550 Fellowships over its 18 year history. The couple, both Hungarian immigrants, has contributed $75 million to the organization’s charitable trust.