Four Undergrads Receive Soros, Udall, and Truman Recognition

Zijian (William) Niu, C’24, Joey Wu, C’25, Aravind Krishnan, C’25, and Tej Patel, C’25

Zijian (William) Niu, C’24, received the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans; Joey Wu, C’25, ENG’25, received the Udall scholarship; and Aravind Krishnan, C’25, W’25, and Tej Patel, C’25, W’25, received the Harry S. Truman Scholarships. Read more detail about the recognition below.
Soros Fellow
Niu is one of two Penn students to receive the 2024 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a merit-based program that provides graduate school funding for immigrants and children of immigrants to the United States. Niu is majoring in biochemistry, biophysics, and physics as a Roy and Diana Vagelos Molecular Life Sciences Scholar. The other honoree is Min Jae Kim, a graduate student pursuing an M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine. They are among the 30 chosen from 2,323 applicants. Each Fellow receives as much as $90,000 for graduate studies.
Born in Kaifeng, China, Niu spent much of his early childhood in Shanghai. His family immigrated to the U.S. when he was 8, and he grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts. At Penn, Niu works in the lab of Arjun Raj in the School of Engineering and Applied Science to develop new computational methods for biomedical image analysis, including a deep learning algorithm for detecting diffraction-limited spots in fluorescence microscopy images obtained from spatial transcriptomics. For this work, he was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2023. Niu is also a Dean’s Scholar, a recipient of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Challenge Award and the William E. Stephens Prize, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Udall Scholar
Wu, who is studying bioengineering and environmental science in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research, has been named a 2024 Udall Scholar by the Udall Foundation. Scholars, who receive as much as $7,000 each, are recognized for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to the environment or to Native American nations. Wu is the 10th student from Penn to be named a Udall Scholar since Congress established the foundation in 1992.
He is the founder and international director of Waterroots, a nonprofit environmental education project that uses climate storytelling to combat water insecurity in more than 20 countries. He is also a researcher in Penn Engineering’s McBride Lab, where he works as a plant specialist for a project that promotes environmental stability and sustainable agriculture.
Truman Scholars
Krishnan and Patel, both in the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, received Truman Scholarships, merit-based awards totaling as much as $30,000 for graduate or professional school to prepare for careers in public service. They are among 60 Truman Scholars from 54 U.S. colleges and universities selected this year from 709 candidates nominated by 285 institutions. They are the 31st and 32nd Truman Scholars from Penn since the first awards in 1977.
Both students are majoring in molecular and cell biology, as well as healthcare management and policy and statistics. Krishnan, who conducts research in the lab of Penn Medicine’s Roger Greenberg, plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. focused on immunology and infectious disease. Patel, who works in Penn Medicine’s Radiation Oncology and Breast Surgery departments, as well as in the Human Algorithm Collaboration Lab, plans to pursue an M.D./M.P.P. with a goal to improve nationwide care delivery.

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Four Undergrads Receive Soros, Udall, and Truman Recognition

The honorees include Zijian (William) Niu, C’24, Joey Wu, C’25, ENG’25, Aravind Krishnan, C’25, W’25, and Tej Patel, C’25, W’25.

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