30 Distinguished New Americans include 6 Indian Students for Their Potential to Make Impactful Contributions to USA

Six Indian-origin students have made it to the 2024 Class of Distinguished New Americans and each of them has won the $90,000 fellowship grant for up to two years. Thus, they have entered the prestigious cohort of Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows, including Dr Vivek Murthy, the first US Surgeon General of Indian descent who played a crucial role in leading national response to epidemic outbreaks, and healthcare leader Nirav Shah who worked for US CDC.

Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, since its establishment in 1998, has supported nearly 800 New Americans – immigrants and children of immigrants – for their educational pursuits in USA. As immigrants themselves, Paul and Daisy Soros believe in the transformative impact of a single opportunity for talented individuals seeking to fulfil their potential in the land of American Dream. Every year, the merit-based graduate school program provides $90,000 fellowship grants to 30 students of various ethnic origins, with ‘potential to make meaningful contributions to the United States.’

Indian American community news, Indian immigrants USA, kids of Indian immigrants in USA

PC: Pdsoros.org

Akshay Swaminathan from New Jersey

The $90,000 fellowship grant will support Akshay Swaminathan’s Ph.D. studies in biomedical data science at Stanford University. He has developed several data-driven tools, including a suicide detection system. The budding data scientist has published 40 research papers and co-authored a book on applying quantitative methods to address healthcare-related issues. He has also built a primary care clinic in Bolivia. His current research focuses on the role of AI in healthcare.

Being a language instructor and author, Akshay Swaminathan founded ‘Start Speaking’ platform to help language learners. He led ESL programs for Chinese immigrants and published 5 textbooks. He founded ‘Start Speaking’ platform to help language learners. As a future physician, he aims to bolster the healthcare system in marginalized regions. The third-generation Indian American born in a Tamil family practices Carnatic music as a way of nurturing his cultural roots.

Shubhayu Bhattacharya from Los Angeles

Kolkata-born Shubhayu Bhattacharya noticed common healthcare challenges in his community across India and California. Deeper research and a quest for solutions led him to found a startup, Auditus Technologies, to roll out hearing devices for adults suffering from dementia. He was pursuing a double degree in biomedical engineering and applied mathematics and statistics from Hopkins University at the time.

Later, he invented the first computational bedside system to monitor and classify motor functions in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients. His Ph.D. thesis on AI methods for effective TBI treatment was published in leading health journals, and he was invited to deliver a keynote at international conferences. An MD student at Harvard, Shubhayu wants to become a physician-engineer in neurocritical or neurosurgical care. He aims to harness big data to improve the effectiveness & accessibility of brain injury care.

Malavika Kannan from Pennsylvania

One of the $90,0000 Paul & Daisy Soros fellowship winners in 2024, Malavika Kannan will fund her Master’s program in Fine Arts (Fiction) with the grant. Currently a senior at Stanford University, Malavika is a published author of ‘All the Yellow Suns’, a coming-of-age novel narrating the emotional journey of a queer Indian American girl as she explores her identity, engages in activism, and finds love. Her fictional pieces surrounding the themes of identity, culture and politics have been published in The Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She aspires to be a novelist and a professor of literature.

Keerthana Hogirala from Chicago

Keerthana’s family moved to the US from Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh when was 6. Her family endured a prolonged period of uncertainty during the wait for naturalization. The experience motivated Keerthana to make the most of the opportunity available to her amid the green card backlog. After graduating in neuroscience, she became a special education teacher at DC Public Schools.

She was instrumental in leading DC schools’ response to COVID-19 pandemic. She gradually overhauled operations with her innovative approaches. Her subsequent role as chief of staff put her in charge of the DC schools’ multi-year digital transformation initiative. She earned a full-tuition merit scholarship for MBA and 90% tuition merit scholarship for MPP. Keerthana is now pursuing an MBA and MPP dual degree at the University of Chicago. Her future goal is to address pressing public needs and drive social development in underprivileged communities.

Ananya Agustin Malhotra from Georgia

Ananya Agustin Malhotra of Indian and Filipino descent developed a deep interest in global history and international relations owing to her multiethnic background. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University. She was a Rhodes Scholar while pursuing an MPhil in modern European history at Oxford University. Ananya actively advocates for women rights as well as peaceful foreign policies with focus on nuclear disarmament and risk reduction.

She has authored/co-authored several policy briefs. Her research papers, writings on world history, international law and order, security, peace and other works were published in popular media such as Global histories, American Oxonian, and Oxford Review of Books. She has effectively collaborated with her alma matter – Princeton University – on projects of science and global security. She is currently enrolled in the Juris Doctor Program at Yale University.

Aayush Karan from Wisconsin

A summa cum laude graduate pursuing Ph.D. in Quantum Science and Engineering at Harvard University, Aayush Karan has been exceptional at academics since childhood. His research skills are remarkable too. From his high school research in low-dimensional topology to undergraduate research involving application of mathematical concepts to solve scientific problems, his work earned him several rewards, including Davidson fellowship and Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Aayush inherited his passion for scientific research from his parents, who moved to USA from India for advanced research in cancer biology. In future, he aims to contribute towards safe and effective utilization of AI technology. If not research, he immerses himself in creative pursuits, exploring various mediums of storytelling, from music to writing.

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