Rice alumna awarded Soros Fellowship

Alumna Roxana Daneshjou ’09 is one of 30 scholars awarded a 2014 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

Roxana Daneshjou, Soros Fellowship

Roxana Daneshjou

Selected from more than 1,200 applicants in a national competition, Daneshjou will receive a $90,000 grant to pursue graduate studies at a U.S. university.

The Soros Fellowships are awarded annually to the most accomplished and promising immigrants and children of immigrants in American graduate education. Criteria focus on creativity, originality and initiative in light of the challenges and opportunities that have been part of the applicant’s immigration story.

Daneshjou’s parents immigrated to the United States from Tehran in the late 1970s when the Iranian Revolution was gaining momentum. Inspired by her father’s love of science, Daneshjou attended the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science and was named a semifinalist in the Siemens Westinghouse Technology Competition.

She then attended Rice and received a Goldwater Scholarship, considered the most prestigious national award for undergraduate students in science and engineering. While working on a B.S. in bioengineering, she joined Rice’s Beyond Traditional Borders program and helped develop the diagnostic lab-in-a-backpack. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, an honor recognizing outstanding achievement in the liberal arts and sciences.

Daneshjou is currently an M.D./Ph.D. candidate at Stanford Medical School. For her work on anticoagulant sensitivity in African-Americans, she was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Fellowship. She is the lead researcher on the Iranian Genomes Project, the first project to study Iranian ancestry through whole-genome sequencing. She also is an active member of Education Under Fire, a global campaign to protest the Iranian government’s policy of expelling Baha’is from universities.

The Soros Fellowships are funded by Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists who wanted to give back to the country that had afforded them and their children such great opportunities and to call attention to the extensive and diverse contributions of New Americans to the quality of life in the U.S.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.