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Yale Law Student Wins Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans Scholarship
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Summary: One of the recipients of the Paul & Daisy Soros scholarship is a Chinese immigrant who has experienced large hardships in his pursuit of the American Dream.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate and first-year law student at Yale is one of the 2018 recipients of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New American scholarship. There are 30 recipients of the award each year, of which HaoYang (Carl) Jiang is one of them.


Jiang came to the U.S. from China at the age of five. His new life started off pretty good but by the time he was a teenager, Jiang was homeless. His father, a construction company owner in China, brought his children to Los Angeles for political asylum. He had the means to hire an English tutor for Jiang and his sibling when they first arrived in California. Jiang’s father required a strict academic regimen, including daily three-hour reading sessions and constant vocabulary and math quizzes.

He said, “I was certainly quite privileged to have access to private English tutors at a young age. And while the approach my father took was harsh, I definitely fell in love with learning because of it. It allowed me to excel and find refuge in school in ways other, less-privileged students couldn’t.”

However, his father ended up as a construction worker so money became a problem, as well as depression and addiction. This caused his father to be unable to care for Jiang and his sibling anymore. They relocated to Chicago and by the age of 15, Jiang was on the streets. His only food came from the free meals at school. Eventually, he confided in his high school debate coach, Jenny Nolan. She became his foster mom and helped him receive permanent residency. He noted, “She showed me how a caring adult could change a young person’s life. I would not be here today without her.”

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Jiang devoted himself to his studies, earning a full-ride to UW-Madison. On campus, he participated in the mock trial team, the Multicultural Student Center, and the American Student Union, where he served as Education Chair his senior year.

Jiang went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from UW-Madison in political science and philosophy. He is now enrolled at Yale Law School. The scholarship for students pursuing graduate school comes with a $90,000 award to make a big impact towards tuition and living costs. A total of 1,766 students applied for the program.

In his application, Jiang discussed the “American Dream.” He said, “When I began my studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I believed I had finally achieved the elusive American Dream. Yet I soon realized that dream has always been an illusion for most people who looked like me and shared a similar background. I heard the terms ‘urban poor’ and ‘systemic racism’ for the first time in a class called ‘A Politics of Multicultural Society.’ There, I learned how immigrant communities of color have been discriminated against and marginalized since the founding of this country. As I sat in classrooms of mostly white students and experienced micro-aggressions of my own, I studied how these injustices continue in the disparate outcomes of our own schools and courts today.”

Jiang added, “It’s an incredible honor. I am grateful to Paul and Daisy Soros for seeing the word ‘immigrant’ as not a slur but as a label of courage. While there are some that seek to impugn us as criminals and burdens on society, the Soroses recognize our potential to contribute to this country. No matter our nations of origin or ethnic heritage, we are Americans too.”

Jiang says his life experiences have inspired him to be “an agent of change.” He plans on returning to Chicago after law school.

Do you think immigrants need more opportunities and help to succeed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about Yale Law School, read these articles:

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