Lehman Alum Awarded Soros Fellowship to Pursue Graduate Education
Before earning acceptance to medical school, Sana Batool commuted four hours every day to the Lehman campus in the Bronx to pursue her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and become the first college graduate in her family.
Now Batool, who migrated from Quetta, Pakistan, with her family in 2011, has been named a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. The fellowship offers awardees up to $90,000 in funding for the graduate program of their choice.
Selected from a pool of 1,767 applicants for their potential to make significant contributions to United States society, culture, or their academic fields, the 2019 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows are all immigrants and children of immigrants, green card holders, naturalized citizens, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients.
During her time at Lehman, Batool conducted cancer research in Assistant Professor of Chemistry Prabodhika Mallikaratchy’s laboratory, where she designed and synthesized novel, multifunctional oligonucleotides for biomedical applications.
Mallikaratchy highlighted Batool’s initiative and hard work, saying, "in four months she had mastered her laboratory skills, which were comparable to a second-year graduate student…she is a contributing author in four major research manuscripts published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and one review article."
Batool graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College at Lehman in 2018, then took a gap year to volunteer, teach as an adjunct at Lehman, and engage in research that resulted in three more manuscripts.
"In addition to Sana’s outstanding research, the creativity, spirit and drive that underlies her work captivated our team of readers and panelists," said Craig Harwood, who directs the Soros Fellowship program.
"Sana Batool is a wonderful example of a young person who arrived in our country and succeeded beyond her own expectations with talent, determination and the support of a great public university that welcomed her with open arms," said CUNY Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz. "Sana’s story is CUNY’s story, and an American story. We couldn’t be more proud of her Soros Fellowship and her acceptance to medical school."
Batool joins a distinguished group of fellowship recipients, including former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Stanford AI leader Fei-Fei Li, Lieutenant Governor of Washington Cyrus Habib, composer Paola Prestini, and award-winning writer Kao Kalia Yang.
"It’s thrilling to see what these brilliant young minds from around the country and world are working on—genetics, fiction, computer science, law, medicine, music—these young New Americans will amaze you," said Harwood. "Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows are all passionate about giving back to the country and remind us of the very best version of America."
Founded by Hungarian immigrants, Daisy M. Soros and her late husband Paul Soros, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program honors continuing generations of immigrant contributions to the United States. Batool’s award is the second time a Lehman graduate has been selected as a Soros Fellow.