23 Apr 2018

Two Future Harvard Business School Students Receive Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

$90,000 grants honor outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants for graduate studies in United States

BOSTON—The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a graduate school program for immigrants and children of immigrants, has recently announced that Seul (Kathy) Ku, who will be an MBA student at Harvard Business School after furthering her studies for an MD degree at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Angela Tian Ma, who has been admitted to Harvard’s PhD program in business economics, are recipients of Soros Fellowships to their graduate studies. They are among the 30 Fellows selected this year from a pool of 1,766 applicants for their potential to make significant contributions to US 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.

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. Selection criteria focus 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.

Seul Ku

Seul (Kathy) Ku

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Ku immigrated to the suburbs of Chicago with her family when she was three. She attended a high school with a predominantly low-income student population that spoke more than sixty different languages, and the free clinic in the basement of her high school helped to spur her interest in providing much needed resources to underserved populations.

At Harvard College, she pursued her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology (AB 2014) and her master’s in engineering (MS 2014). During her first summer break, she traveled to Uganda to teach a health course at an all girls’ academy focused on pregnant mothers. While living with a host family that often fell sick to waterborne illnesses, she was inspired to design a water filter that would be affordable, effective, and socially accepted. As a result, she took a year off from school to start SPOUTS of Water, a local manufacturer of ceramic water filters. During this time, to better understand how to distribute and deliver filters across the region and build a sustainable company, Ku also interned at McKinsey & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group.

After graduating from Harvard and overseeing a successful pilot production of filters, Ku moved to Uganda for three years, helping to build a sustainable company that has since provided more than 100,000 people with access to clean drinking water. As of 2018, SPOUTS employs more than 40 people in Uganda and continues to grow as an organization.

Now a student at Stanford Medical School, she also manages a free health clinic and conducts cost-effectiveness research to maximize care. She hopes to use her diverse experiences to help deliver health care more effectively in the future. Admitted to Harvard Business School (HBS) via its 2+2 Program, which offers deferred admission to students while they are in college or full-times master’s programs, Ku will begin her studies at HBS after she is further along in her medical school education.

Angela Ma

Angela Tian Ma

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Ma is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She says that seeing how her parents overcame language, cultural, and financial barriers to build a new home in this country has inspired to make the most of challenges and opportunities in her own life.

She became interested in economics because of its emphasis on both logic and creativity. While studying economics and computer science at Harvard College as a member of the Class of 2018, she has pursued her passion for research and teaching by building a stock bubble detector for the Behavioral Finance and Financial Stability Project, serving as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Economics Review, and working as a teaching fellow for statistics and economics courses. While economics is her great passion, she has taken courses in many other subjects and has been recognized as a John Harvard Scholar for excellence in her studies.

A ballet dancer since the age of four, Ma has been inspired by the generosity and perseverance of her ballet teachers and peers, who come from all over the world. In addition to earning Honorable Mention in the National YoungArts Competition, she has been a dancer, choreographer, and treasurer with the Harvard Ballet Company, also helping them create and fund new art on campus.

After graduation from Harvard, Ma will pursue a PhD in business economics at Harvard Business School and the Harvard Economics Department. Interested in how regulation may prevent financial crises and how the government can respond once a crisis occurs, she hopes to become an economics professor.

Connect with the Fellowship on Social Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pdsoros
Twitter: @PDSoros
Instagram: @PDSoros


Jim Aisner

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.