Alumna chosen for Soros Fellowship for New Americans

Archana Podury ’18, has been named a 2021 fellow in the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program, a merit-based graduate school program for immigrants and children of immigrants.

Podury was chosen from a pool of 2,445 applicants, the most the program has ever received. Fellows, selected for their potential to make significant contributions to the United States, will each receive up to $90,000 in funding to support their graduate studies.

“The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows demonstrate the immense contributions that immigrants of all backgrounds make to the United States,” said Fellowship Director Craig Harwood of the new Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows. “Each 2021 Fellow is a reminder of what is best about this country. Their stories and work fill me with a deep sense of hope for our nation’s future.”

Podury was born in California to parents who emigrated from India in search of educational opportunities for their children. Shortly after her birth, her family returned to India for five years so Archana could share the daily lives of her grandparents and explore her heritage.

Watching her grandmother live with neuropathic pain shaped Podury’s desire to understand complex brain networks. As an undergraduate at Cornell, she worked with Jesse Goldberg, associate professor and Robert R. Capranica Fellow in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, to study neural circuits underlying motor learning. She also worked at a syringe exchange in Ithaca, listening to patients’ stories, an experience that  paved her path toward medicine.

“My field allows me to share in people’s lives when they feel most vulnerable,” Podury said. “My field asks me to believe in and try my absolute best for each patient, no matter how they got to the hospital.”

Podury is now in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program and is interested in combining computational and social approaches to neuropsychiatric disease.

“I wanted to be surrounded by peers who think about medicine in relation to other fields—policy, philosophy, academia, industry,” she said.

The new class of Fellows have heritage in the following countries: Afghanistan, Cameroon, China, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, Syria, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Founded by Hungarian immigrants, Daisy M. Soros and her late husband Paul Soros (1926-2013), The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program honors the contributions of continuing generations of immigrants in the United States.

To read the full bios of the 2021 Fellows, visit www.pdsoros.org.

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