For the past 100 years, the intellectual pursuits of immigrant scholars has helped stitch together the fabric of this institution’s history. So it is fitting that Natalie Jesionka will soon find a home as a scholar at The New School by way of one of the country’s most prestigious fellowships designed to help immigrants achieve their educational goals.
Funded by George Soros’ older brother and sister-in-law, the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans was established in 1997 through a $50 million endowment, with an additional $25 million added in 2010. The merit-based award recognizes recent immigrants and their children for their abilities to contribute positively to American society across a multitude of fields. Fellows receive up to $90,000 to cover the cost of tuition and related expenses for up to two years of graduate study at a US institution.
Jesionka will come to The New School with an impressive background in activism, journalism, and education. While an undergraduate at Rutgers University, she founded the global non-profit organization, the PRIZM Project, which strives for social change through the education and empowerment of young women. After receiving a Masters of Science in global affairs, she served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand where she examined the origins of human trafficking, a topic she will continue to study as a PhD candidate in The New School for Social Research’s sociology department.
Chosen from over 1200 applicants, Jesionka is one of 30 in this year’s awards class, the first chosen since Mr. Soros’ death in 2013. Nearly 500 fellows have been named since the award’s inception in 1998. Past recipients include the US ambassador to Uruguay and the President Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General. Jesionka will be the second fellow to attend The New School. You can read more about the prize and her work here.