HMS Students Awarded 2019 Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Recipients interested in health care coverage, care for refugees, and the connection between health and business

ahmed, batool, guo

From left: Ahmed Ahmed, Sana Batool and Natalie Guo

A Harvard Medical School student and two admitted HMS students are among 30 recipients of 2019 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a graduate school program for immigrants and children of immigrants.

Selected from an applicant pool of 1,767 for their potential to make significant contributions to United States society, culture or their academic fields, each recipient will receive up to $90,000 in funding for the graduate program of their choice.

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Ahmed Ahmed was born in a refugee camp in Mombasa, Kenya, after his family fled civil war in Mogadishu, Somalia, and he and his family immigrated to the U.S. when he was one year old. Ahmed earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, magna cum laude, with distinction in research from Cornell University. As an undergraduate, in addition to researching the development of more sustainable plastics, Ahmed worked as a teaching assistant and student advisor, receiving awards for teaching, student excellence and service. He went on to pursue an master of medical science degree in education as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. His work has been published in the Washington Post, the Journal of Academic Medicine and the Oxford Student; he contributed to a book, Journeys: An American Story, which highlights immigration as the bedrock of America. Ahmed is currently pursuing master in public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and serves as the junior dean of Hertford College at the University of Oxford. He plans to pursue an MD at HMS and hopes to work on projects that increase healthcare coverage and efficiency.

Born in Quetta, Pakistan, Sana Batool and her family migrated to the U.S. in 2013 to escape persecution against the Hazara minority ethnic group. Batool earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, summa cum laude, from the William E. Macaulay Honors College at Lehman College, commuting four hours every day and sewing clothes to support her family’s income. While attending college, she conducted cancer research in the lab of Prabodhika Mallikaratchy, designing and synthesizing novel, multifunctional oligonucleotides for biomedical applications, which resulted in five peer-reviewed publications. After graduating, Batool volunteered, taught and did research resulting in three additional manuscripts. She plans to pursue an MD at HMS and hopes to make lasting contributions to the Hazara community and to work with vulnerable refugees and asylees as a health professional on a global level.

Natalie Guo’s parents were born in China during the Cultural Revolution and came to the U.S. to be physician-scientists. Guo was inspired by spending time in her parents’ lab as a child. At Princeton University, she was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for sequential research projects in organ regeneration and the tumor microenvironment. After becoming fascinated in the economics of health care, Guo worked with management teams at Goldman Sachs and TPG and gained insight into balancing mission and profits. She recently completed her MBA at Harvard Business School, where she cofounded a specialist referral service to physicians caring for underinsured patients. At HMS, she aims to unite her business experience with the perspective and values of being a physician to restructure problems of coordination between institutions, caregivers and their patients.

“It’s thrilling to see what these brilliant young minds from around the country and world are working on—these young New Americans will amaze you,” said Craig Harwood, who directs the fellowship program. “Paul and Daisy Soros Fellows are all passionate about giving back to the country and remind us of the very best version of America.”

The 2019 Fellows are all the children of immigrants, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, green card holders or naturalized citizens. Founded by Hungarian immigrants Daisy M. Soros and her late husband Paul Soros (1926-2013), the fellowship program, now in its 21st year, honors continuing generations of immigrant contributions to the United States. The program has also released new eligibility requirements which broaden the definition of “New Americans.”

Adapted from a Paul and Daisy Soros news release.

Published April 11; updated May 2.