3 Rice alums win prestigious Soros Fellowships

Rice University News & Media

Award honors, helps facilitate immigrant contributions to the U.S.
Rice alumni Benjamin Chou ‘13, Norma Torres Mendoza ’13 and Muhammad Shamim ’14 are among 30 scholars awarded 2018 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program awards merit-based fellowships of up to $90,000 exclusively for immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing graduate degrees in the United States.
Selected from a pool of 1,766 applicants for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or their academic fields, fellows are chosen for their focus on creativity, originality and initiative in light of the challenges and opportunities that have been part of their immigration story. The fellowships were established by Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists.
Muhammad Shamim
Shamim, who earned degrees in computational applied mathematics, computer science and cognitive sciences at Rice, will use his award to support work toward an M.D./Ph.D. in bioengineering at Rice and Baylor College of Medicine, where he is currently enrolled.
The eldest of five siblings, he was born in Pakistan to physician parents and immigrated to the U.S. at 2 years old for his father’s medical residency. “My mother sacrificed her career to raise my siblings and me,” Shamim said.
His parents’ background in medicine inspired him to pursue the field, and his multidisciplinary interests developed further at The Science Academy of South Texas, an engineering magnet high school in the Rio Grande Valley.
At Rice, Shamim’s passion for research grew through several projects, such as improving echocardiogram analysis software for researchers at Texas Children’s Hospital. He was also an engineering computation lab assistant and a member of Rice Emergency Medical Services (REMS).
“It was an honor to comfort and treat patients on what was often the worst day of their lives,” he said. “REMS was an incredible part …

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