Three HMS students awarded 2018 Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Recipients plan to study medical oncology, environmental health and disparities in health care

From left: Asmaa Rimawi, Jamaji Nwanaji-Enwerem and Suchita Nety

Three HMS students were named among the 30 recipients of the 2018 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a graduate school program for immigrants and children of immigrants.

Chosen from an applicant pool of 1,766 for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or their academic fields, each recipient will receive up to $90,000 in funding over two years. Since the program began 20 years ago, the fellowship has supported more than 50 fellows at HMS.

London Society student Suchita Nety was born in California to immigrants from India who came to attend graduate school in the U.S. Nety worked on science projects throughout middle and high school, including cancer imaging research conducted at Stanford, earning regional and national awards. She earned a BS in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and spent four years in the lab of Mikhail Shapiro. Nety’s work with protein-based reporters for ultrasound imaging resulted in a patent, publications, presentations and awards, including Caltech’s highest honor for undergraduate academics and research. After completing MD-PhD training, Nety hopes to serve patients as a medical oncologist while developing molecular tools to engineer robust and safe cell-based therapies.

Born in Nigeria, Peabody Society student Jamaji Nwanaji-Enwerem immigrated to North Carolina with his parents when he was an infant. Nwanaji-Enwerem’s interactions with people suffering from preventable illness in Nigerian and American communities coupled with early research experiences in industry, academia and the clinic fueled his passion to become a physician-scientist. He completed a BS in biology at Morehouse College. As an MD-PhD student at HMS, his research focuses on better understanding how environmental pollutants impact vulnerable human populations such as the elderly. He has been first author on five peer-reviewed publications and received a grant from the National Institute on Aging. As a future leader in medicine and environmental health, Nwanaji-Enwerem aspires to make lasting contributions so that fewer people have to experience illness themselves to appreciate the connection between the environment and their health.

Peabody Society student Asmaa Rimawi is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who came to the U.S. in 1982. Rimawi became the first graduate of her high school, a gender-segregated Islamic school, to attend Harvard University. After college, she received a master’s degree in Middle Eastern and Asian philosophy at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. At HMS, Rimawi serves on the Dean’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion and is involved in the recruitment of minority students. Rimawi plans on using research to understand the struggles Arab and Muslim communities face within the field of health, and specifically, to understand the impact of discrimination on health.

“Whether it is through scientific discovery, business, literature, medicine, or law, immigrants enrich our everyday lives in the United States in profound ways. As a country, we need to refocus our attention on immigrant contributions,” said Craig Harwood, who directs the fellowship program, which is celebrating its 20-year anniversary.

The 2018 Fellows are all children of immigrants, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (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 honors continuing generations of immigrant contributions to the United States.

Adapted from a Paul and Daisy Soros news release.