Pratt Alumnus Wins Soros Fellowship

April 1, 2004

Pavan Cheruvu, a 2001 Pratt alumnus and Rhodes Scholar, has won a 2004 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and will enter the Health Science and Technology program of Harvard University and MIT in September.

Cheruvu, a triple major at Duke in electrical and biomedical engineering and chemistry, is currently pursuing M.S. degrees in Neuroscience and Computer Science at Oxford University.

He was among 30 2004 recipients of the Soros Fellowships selected from 1,300 applicants. Each fellow will receive an annual grant of $20,000 for two years and one-half the tuition cost of whichever graduate school they choose to attend.

The Soros Fellowship is available to resident aliens, naturalized citizens and children of two naturalized citizens, and recipients are chosen based on academic merit, volunteer work and leadership ability. Cheruvu was born in the United States to parents who had emigrated from South India and are naturalized U.S. citizens. Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists, established their fellowship program for New Americans in 1997 with a charitable trust of $50 million.

While at Duke, Cheruvu spent a summer in southern India, where he worked in a community hospital as the organizer of a prevention campaign concerning sexually transmitted diseases. Cheruvu, of Tampa, was involved in research on artificial hearts, and helped develop a software model for a cardiac device. He was the senior editor of a campus magazine "Eruditio," a publication for undergraduate writing, president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Engineering Honors Society and was an officer in Spectrum, the undergraduate organization that promotes diversity and cultural understanding on campus. He organized the Duke cricket team, and served as a patient advocate in the neurosurgery ward of Duke Hospital.

At Oxford, Cheruvu designed software that has been transformed into computer models of gene expression, as well as co-designed and patented a urinary biosensor that will be affordable in poor countries. He said hopes to create a nonprofit organization that tailors medical devices to rural and developing communities. He also has acted in a modern Shakespearean comedy put on by Balliol College graduates.