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2018 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow

April 17, 2018

Drexel Celebrates First Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow, Jennifer Shin '13, Honors

By: Emily Coyle

Jennifer Shin imageDrexel alumna Jennifer Shin (BA Architecture ’13, Honors) has been named a 2018 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow in recognition of her potential to make significant contributions to American society, culture, and her academic field. Jennifer is one of just 30 fellows selected from across the country and the first person from Drexel to receive the award. Only 2% of applicants receive the highly prestigious award that supports immigrants, children of immigrants, and DACA recipients pursuing graduate school in the United States with up to $90,000 in funding.

Through the fellowship application process, Shin found herself pushed to explore her New American identity more deeply. “To have been named a 2018 PD Soros Fellow is a true honor,” she says. “It has given me courage to dream greater dreams than I could have imagined as a child, and reminds me of the promises and real potential of our nation.”

For Shin, being a New American means balancing her American and Korean identities. Shin’s grandparents fled from North Korea to South Korea in 1953. They eventually immigrated to the United States where Shin was raised in Ocean, New Jersey by her mother. In New Jersey, Shin navigated the difficulty of moving between Korean and American cultures, finding her identity, and “not feeling a sense of belonging in either culture.” Growing up in a single parent household only added to the challenge, but she asserts, “I have a sense of gratitude for the challenges I faced because they necessitated that I find the tools to be able to navigate my varied identity outside of my heritage or family background. The specifics of my childhood, though challenging, have given way for me to be able to investigate who I am and how I might sit across multiple worlds, and thus articulate myself as part of the larger human story."

Shin later found another home, this time at Drexel University, in the school’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. She was drawn to Drexel’s architecture program because it allowed her to “pursue a longer professional degree that equipped [her] with practical, real-world tools.”

Shin was also a member of the Honors Program in the Pennoni Honors College at Drexel where she was actively involved and relished taking the honors seminar courses that “provided diverse outlets for creative thinking and academic exploration.” Shin completed the Students Tackling Advanced Research (STAR) Scholars Program in Summer 2008 and worked under the mentorship of Paul Hirshorn, FAIA, Professor Emeritus. Professor Hirshorn wasn’t surprised to hear that Shin has received such a highly prestigious award and has been named a 2018 PD Soros Fellow, explaining, “As her studio instructor in her early years, her STAR program advisor, and her department head, I was keenly aware that Jen always set the highest standards for herself, invariably reaching them.  When I hear about her successes I am pleased, but never surprised.”

Following graduation from Drexel in 2013, Shin co-founded the Raymond Farm Center for Living Arts & Design, a nonprofit arts organization in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that serves as a cultural arts center and artist residency. Along with preserving the farm and legacy of Noémi and Antonin Raymond, the center provides opportunities for students and artists while cultivating a connection to nature.

Now at Yale University, Shin is pursuing joint degrees in architecture and environmental management. Her future career goals are still taking shape, but she knows she wants to marry her dual interests: “I do know that I want to leverage my rigorous architecture background with my environmental studies. This may take the form of ecological urbanism, ecological regional planning, or environmental land use management.”

PD Soros image

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Contact: Nikka Landau. 215-720-4648,

Thirty Outstanding Immigrants and Children of Immigrants Each Awarded $90,000 for Graduate School Studies in USA 

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program announces 2018 Fellows; Expands eligibility requirements to former DACA recipients should program be rescinded

 NEW YORK - Today, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a graduate school program for immigrants and children of immigrants, announced their 2018 Fellows. Selected from a pool of 1,766 applicants for their potential to make significant contributions to United States society, culture, or their academic fields, the 2018 Fellows are all the children of immigrants, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, green card holders, or naturalized citizens.

 “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.

In addition to receiving up to $90,000 in funding for the graduate program of their choice, the new Fellows join the prestigious community of recipients from past years, which includes individuals such as former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy; Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist of artificial intelligence and machine learning at GoogleCloud; Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib of Washington; composer Paola Prestini; award-winning writer Kao Kalia Yang, and nearly 600 other New American leaders.

The program also released new eligibility requirements for the 2019 Fellowship. While the Fellowship has been open to DACA recipients since 2014, it has now expanded its requirements to include former DACA recipients should the government program be rescinded.

“We wanted our eligibility requirements to reflect our continued support of DACA recipients, regardless of the politics that may play out in the coming months. We’ve seen firsthand how DACA recipients are achieving at the highest levels and giving back to this country. We want to help them do that,” explained Harwood.

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 continuing generations of immigrant contributions to the United States.

“The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship liberated me from the traditional path I was expected to follow,” said 2009 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow Shantanu Gaur, the cofounder and CEO at Allurion Technologies. “Unburdened from debt and energized by peers who were taking the road less traveled, I have been able to thrive.”

To read the full bios of the 2018 Fellows, visit


2019 Application Now Open

Individuals can learn more about the Fellowship, the current Fellows and the application, as well as sign up for the Fellowship’s e-mail list and an informational session webinar, at the program’s website: The 2019 application is now open, and is due on November 1, 2018 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time (ET).

Selection criteria focuses on accomplishments that show creativity, originality, and initiative in light of the challenges and opportunities that have been part of the applicant's immigration experience. The application is open to college seniors, students in the early stages of their graduate career, and those in the workforce who are seeking graduate training. All applicants must be 30 or younger as of the application deadline. There is no minimum age requirement. Applicants can find full eligibility requirements here.

Connect with the Fellowship on Social Media

  1. Facebook:
  2. Twitter: @PDSoros
  3. Instagram: @PDSoros

The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans is a highly prestigious fellowship that honors and supports the graduate educations of 30 New Americans each year. Fellows are selected for their potential to make significant contributions to US society, culture, or their academic field, and they will each receive up to $90,000 in funding over two years.

To learn more about the fellowship and how to apply at Drexel, visit our Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship page or email!