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Five Current and Two Incoming YLS Students Named 2007 Soros Fellows

Five Yale Law School students are among the 31 extraordinarily accomplished young people—all of them immigrants to the United States or the children of immigrants—named Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellows for 2007. 

Yahonnes Cleary '09, Cyrus Habib '09, Sue Meng '09, Enrique Schaerer '08 and Ebunoluwa Taiwo '08 will, along with the other Fellows, receive a $20,000 annual stipend plus half-tuition for up to two years of graduate study at any institution of higher learning in the United States.

Two students planning to enter Yale Law School in the fall of 2007 also received Soros Fellowships—Dov Fox and Dror Ladin.

“Yale Law School has always been a home and haven for new Americans,” said Dean Harold Hongju Koh. “It is fitting that the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation has so consistently recognized so many of our Yale Law School students among their distinguished future leaders.”

Hungarian immigrants Paul and Daisy Soros established the fellowship program for New Americans in 1997 as a way to “give back” to the country that had afforded them and their children great opportunities. The awards support graduate study by naturalized citizens, resident aliens or the children of naturalized citizens. Including the 2007 Fellows, the number of Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships awarded since 1997 now totals 293.

Warren F. Ilchman, Director of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships, said, “If you need evidence that immigrants contribute positively to the quality of American life, you need only look at the achievements of our Soros Fellows.”

This year, more than 800 individuals from 257 undergraduate and 150 graduate institutions nationwide applied for Soros Fellowships. They represented 134 countries of national origin. The 31 finalists were selected by an independent panel that was itself made up of 41 distinguished New Americans.

This year’s Yale Law School-affiliated Soros Fellows are:

Currently attending Yale Law School:

Yahonnes Cleary is a first-year student at Yale Law School. After receiving a B.A., summa cum laude, with election to Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University in 2000, Yahonnes earned an MSc from Oxford in Modern History in 2002, where he was a Marshall Scholar. While at Columbia, Yahonnes interned at the New York City Parks Department and the office of Congressman Charles Rangel. Yahonnes also spent a semester abroad in Zimbabwe studying micro-credit and grassroots development. Upon returning to New York, he worked with a micro-enterprise organization in Harlem. As a Truman scholar, Yahonnes interned in the Mayor's office in Washington, D.C., supporting the city's economic development initiatives. After completing his MSc, he worked as a Program Associate at the Ford Foundation supporting asset-building initiatives and later was the Lowenstein Community Development Fellow at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, working on affordable housing and a prisoner re-entry initiative. In particular, he coordinated efforts to expand access to affordable home improvement financing for low-income New Jersey homeowners. Yahonnes plans to use his law degree to further his career in community development and urban policy. He was born in 1979 in Lynn, Massachusetts, to parents who emigrated from Jamaica. He grew up in the Bronx, where his mother still lives.
K. Cyrus Habib is a first-year student at Yale Law School. He earned a B.A. in English, Comparative Literature, and Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University, summa cum laude, with election to Phi Beta Kappa, in 2003. As a Rhodes Scholar, he completed his MLitt in English at Oxford University in 2006. A Truman Scholar, Cyrus has both interned and worked for U.S. Senators Clinton and Cantwell and served as a communications consultant for John Kerry for President. A student editor of the Yale Law and Policy Review, Cyrus is also working on an amicus brief and pending legislation that seek to make U.S. currency accessible to the blind. His commentaries have appeared in such publications as the Washington Post and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Cyrus intends a career as a lawyer, constitutional scholar, and policymaker. He was born in Maryland in 1981 to Iranian parents who immigrated in the 1970s and later became naturalized citizens. His family lives in Kirkland, Washington.

Sue Meng is in her first year of the J.D. program at Yale Law School. She completed her B.A. in History and Literature in 2003 at Harvard University, graduating both magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, she completed master's degrees, with distinction, in both English literature and modern Chinese studies. Sue considers herself primarily a writer, combining contextual understanding with a focus on social action. At Harvard, she began to fashion her career as a writer as an editorial columnist for the Harvard Crimson and as the fiction editor of the Harvard Advocate. She has been an editor of Let's Go China, a Harvard guide for student travels, and a summer intern at ABC News, Forbes Magazine and the Washington Post. Now 25, Sue came to the U.S. with her mother when she was six. They are now naturalized U.S. citizens. Sue grew up in New York's Chinatown, where her mother still resides.
Enrique Schaerer is a second-year J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. Valedictorian of his class at the University of Notre Dame, he received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.B.A. in Finance, both summa cum laude. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Enrique has interned in the offices of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and U.S. Senator Harry Reid. At Yale, he represents asylum seekers as part of a clinic, Immigration Legal Services, and teaches a class at a nearby high school. He is currently a first-year editor of the Yale Law Journal. He has also completed several marathons. Enrique plans to devote his legal career to working to end employment discrimination. He was born in Reno, Nevada, in 1982. His parents, both natives of Asuncion, Paraguay, immigrated to the United States shortly before he was born. The family now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ebunoluwa Taiwo is a second-year J.D. student at Yale Law School. In 2003, she earned a B.A. from Ohio State University, magna cum laude, with election to Phi Beta Kappa, and a Master de Sciences Politiques from the Institute of Political Studies, Paris. She was chosen in 2002 as a Truman Scholar. While at Ohio State, Ebun won numerous institutional awards and scholarships for her research, academic performance and community service. She has served as a Policy Intern at the U.S. Department of Labor, a John Glenn Fellow at the U.S. Department of Justice and an intern at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. In addition, she was the founder/executive director of the Coalition for Equal Opportunity in Education. At Yale, Ebun serves as Co-Director of the Yale Civil Rights Project, Treasurer of the Black Law Students Association, and Co-Chair of WYSE (Women and Youth Supporting Each Other), a youth mentorship program. Ebun intends to be a civil rights attorney, specializing in educational access. The child of Nigerian immigrants, Ebun was born in 1982. Her parents are naturalized U.S. citizens and live in Carmel, Indiana.

Entering Yale Law School in fall 2007:

Dov Fox is pursuing a DPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, where he is a Rhodes Scholar. He will matriculate at Yale Law School in 2007. Dov graduated in 2004 from Harvard College and was the only MSc candidate in his Oxford class to receive distinction. At Oxford, Dov held full-time lectureship posts in Politics and Philosophy, while publishing scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews. He has worked summers with the President's Council on Bioethics and the Federal District Court of Connecticut. Dov also performs stand-up comedy and has authored a book on higher education and American moral culture. At Harvard, he spearheaded a volunteer program that brings civics education to inner-city Boston public schools. Dov aspires to be a teacher and judge to “serve the cause of just and flourishing communities.” He was born in Rehovot, Israel, in 1981. His first languages were Hebrew and Arabic.

Dror Ladin is a senior research and policy fellow at the African American Policy Forum and will attend Yale Law School in the fall of 2007. He is a graduate of Vassar College, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In his current work at the African American Policy Forum, Dror has led teams in writing education and advocacy materials for affirmative action and as a Compton Fellow, has designed and led workshops for high school students about affirmative action. He was a planning committee member of the Anti-War Group at Vassar and the founder and president of the Just Peace Group, a student group that sought to raise awareness about the Israeli and Palestinian peace movement. Dror plans to begin his career in human rights litigation and advocacy and later to become a professor of law, focusing on issues of social and racial justice. Born in Boston in 1983, Dror is the son of two naturalized U.S. citizens who were born in Israel and immigrated to the U.S. in 1978.