Four Stanford alumni are among 30 recipients of this year’s Soros Fellowships for New Americans, which support graduate study for immigrants and immigrants’ children.
Fellows receive up to $90,000 over two years to attend any graduate school in the U.S. The Soros program aims to both assist promising young people with their education and increase awareness of immigrants’ contributions to America. The fellowship was founded in 1997 by the late Paul and Daisy Soros, who immigrated to the U.S. from Hungary.
The Stanford alumni recently honored include Amin Aalipour ’14 M.S. ’14 M.D. ’18, who will pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in Stanford’s Bioengineering program; Ellora Thadaney Israni ’14, who will study at Harvard Law School; Peter Hong ’12, pursuing a degree in business administration at Harvard Business School; and Andrey Sushko ’16, pursuing a Ph.D. in experimental physics at Harvard.
Aalipour’s fellowship will go toward his participation in an interdisciplinary program hosted by both Stanford’s School of Engineering and its School of Medicine. Raised in California by parents from Iran, Aalipour’s interest in science was stoked early on by his mother and father’s own STEM
As an undergraduate and later a master’s student at Stanford, Aalipour studied the interaction between cells and engineered nanomaterials. In 2013, he received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for his lab research. Now, Aalipour works in the lab of Professor of Radiology Sanjiv Gambhir, where he is helping to develop immunotherapies and technology to detect cancer early on.
Israni, whose parents immigrated from India, hopes to improve justice in the U.S. by working at the interdisciplinary overlap of tech and law.
Israni studied computer science at Stanford before working as a Facebook software engineer. Her team at Facebook focused on civic engagement, working to increase diversity in engineering and helping 2 million citizens register to vote.
During her time at Stanford, Israni co-founded she++, a conference-
turned-global-nonprofit aimed at empowering underrepresented groups — women and minorities — in technology fields. A documentary about the project titled “she++: The Documentary” is currently part of the State Department’s American Film showcase.
Hong was raised in Michigan by parents from South Korea. He graduated
from Stanford with a degree in political science,
participating in the Center for International Security and Cooperation’s honors program. He was active in Stanford in Government as well as the Haas Center for Public Service.
While still an undergraduate, Hong left school temporarily to work at Google, the State Department and various laboratories — jobs that Hong said led him to eventually join Palantir Technologies out of a desire to combine technology and civic service. At Palantir, Hong worked on a wide
variety of software, such as tools for data sharing in the wake of disasters.
Sushko, who was born in Russia, moved to London and later Washington state as a teenager. Early on, he showed a passion and knack for science: An electric motor he created in high school earned him an award from the Intel Science Talent Search.
Sushko studied physics and mathematics at Stanford and won the physics department’s Award for Excellence in Honors Thesis Presentation. He also received the 2016 Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement, which honors “exceptional accomplishments” in research, academic competitions, presentations, publications or the arts.
Contact Hannah Knowles at hknowles ‘at’ Stanford.edu.