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Daniel Duzdevich - Recipient of the 2012 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for new Americans

Biology PhD student, Daniel Duzdevich, is a recipient of the prestigious 2012 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for new Americans.
Daniel's bio from

Award to support ongoing study toward a Ph.D. in biological sciences at Columbia University

DANIEL DUZDEVICH was born in New York City to a Hungarian mother and Croatian father. As an undergraduate research assistant in Eric Greene’s laboratory at Columbia University, he showed remarkable talent with highly technical studies of interactions of single molecules. On graduation, Daniel received a prestigious Cambridge European Trust Fellowship to pursue his master’s degree at the University of Cambridge. Working in the labs of Robert Henderson and Michael Edwardson with atomic force microscopy, he studied the unusual, repetitive DNA structures that appear in patients with Huntington’s disease. That work led to lead authorship of a paper published in a major academic journal. Returning to Prof. Greene’s lab as a Ph.D. candidate, Daniel is now aiming to devise a way to visualize DNA replication and repair at the molecular level. In his first year he won the James Howard McGregor Award, given to “the graduate student [who] shows unusual promise as a teacher of zoology.” Daniel also has a deep interest in making biology accessible to a general audience. His “translation” of Charles Darwin’s “surprisingly difficult” Victorian prose in the Origin of Species into “clear modern English” will be published by Indiana University Press in early 2013. He plans a career in basic research as well as in popular science writing about biology.


SOURCE Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

NEW YORK - A Guatemalan-American who sought asylum in the U.S. when she was 11 and is now pursuing her doctorate in biology at Harvard; a Somali-American who spent 16 years in refugee camps and is beginning work toward his Master's degree in Public Policy; and a Mexican-American who is returning from a Fulbright fellowship studying traditional Korean architecture to pursue advanced degrees in East Asia and art history at Harvard are just three recipients of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.

Announced today, thirty new Americans - immigrants and children of immigrants from 20 different countries - have won the prestigious fellowships to pursue advanced degrees. Each award provides up to $90,000 in tuition and maintenance support for two years of graduate study in the United States in any field of study.  

Daisy M. Soros, Chair of the Board of the Fellowship Program, said of the new Fellows, "They have been selected because of their accomplishments, drive, and vision.   Paul and I are confident that they - like their 415 predecessors as Soros New American Fellows - will enrich and strengthen American society and institutions.    They remind us of the key role that immigrants have played in the past and will continue to play in the future of this nation."

Of the 30 new fellows, half are themselves immigrants and are now either naturalized citizens or permanent residents.  The other half - children of immigrants - also demonstrate extraordinary commitment to education and achievements that will significantly impact American society.  In addition to the individuals described above, other new fellows include:

  • A woman of Hungarian descent who fled Romania when she was 14, was placed in foster care, put herself through two undergraduate programs, and will begin work in the fall on a PhD in medical sociology at the University of California at San Francisco.
  • A Guatemalan-American who crossed Mexico to California when he was 15, spent 4 years acquiring legal status, put himself through college and is now, as a leading figure in the deciphering of Maya glyphs, pursuing work leading to a PhD in Archeology.
  • An Azerbaijani who fled Baku when she was an infant, returned 22 years later as a Fulbright scholar, and will begin work on a Master's in post-Soviet Area Studies at Harvard in the fall.
  • An Indian-American who immigrated when he was 14 and now serves as student representative on the Stanford Board of Trustees, will enter the Mayo Clinic Medical School in the fall.

Inaugurated in 1998, the Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellowships have rapidly achieved recognition as prestigious awards that are comparable in competitiveness to the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.  Mr. and Mrs. Soros, themselves immigrants from Hungary who struggled to support their graduate studies, have chosen to honor the continuing promise of immigrants by funding these awards.   The current class brings to a total of 445 the mutually-supportive community of New Americans who are pursuing their individual American dreams in the sciences and humanities, medicine, law, business, public policy, and the arts.  The program emphasizes the special significance for immigrants of active citizenship and the continuing importance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights in American political and civic life.  Biographical sketches and pictures of the fellows are available at