One current UC Berkeley student and two alumni are among the 30 immigrants and children of immigrants chosen from 1,775 applicants from around the world to receive 2017 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.
Fellowships are awarded based on individual potential to make significant contributions to society, culture or their academic fields in the United States. Fellows will receive up to $90,000 over two years to support their graduate studies. Selection criteria emphasize creativity, originality, initiative and sustained accomplishment.
The three fellowship recipients with UC Berkeley ties are:
Kaveh Danesh, a current Ph.D. student in economics. The son of Iranian immigrants, he wrote his undergraduate theses in English and math at Duke University. After spending a year in China on a Fulbright scholarship, he attended Harvard University, studying narrative nonfiction and poetry while earning a master’s degree in statistics.
His work on the mathematical models of cancer, migrant farmworkers’ rights and how college mediates social mobility has been featured in leading news and scholarly publications.
Danesh also is taking journalism courses, and plans to document the challenges facing the poor, sick, incarcerated and otherwise disenfranchised.
Matthew Nguyen earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at UC Berkeley in 2015. While attending Berkeley he rallied global support for Syrian refugees and Ebola victims, and fought for minority voting rights in North Carolina. The native of Huntington Beach, California, graduated summa cum laude as a salutatorian and was a runner-up for the coveted University Medal.
After graduation he served as an aide to California Gov. Jerry Brown and fought to raise the minimum wage, advance education funding equity, promote environmental justice and expand healthcare access to undocumented families.
Today he attends Yale Law School, where he is the only Vietnamese American student in his 2019 graduating class.
This summer, Nguyen will work for the ACLU’s Education Equity Project and for the California Department of Justice.
Bernardo Gouveia earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley. The first person in his extended family to be born outside of Brazil, Gouveia will soon begin a Ph.D. program in chemical engineering at Princeton University.
While at UC Berkeley, he led the Berkeley Engineers and Mentors (BEAM), a student-run DeCal (Democratic Education at Cal) course in which students teach weekly, hands-on science and engineering lessons to elementary and middle school students in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He plans to continue research applying fundamental physics to solve biologically relevant problems and help others pursue their educational goals.