Yuno Iwasaki selected as 2024 Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellow

April 19, 2024

Yuno Iwasaki has been awarded a 2024 Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellowship and will pursue a Ph.D. in physics at UC Berkeley. As a Fellow, Yuno will receive up to $90,000 to support her graduate education. 

The Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellowship is a program for "outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants from all over the country and world who are pursuing graduate school here in the United States." The 2024 class is comprised of 30 honorees, out of a competitive pool of more than 2300 applicants, and Yuno is one of two UC Berkeley students included in this cohort.

The Fellowship website shares Yuno's story:

Born to a Japanese father and a Romanian mother, Yuno Iwasaki grew up in a small town in central Japan. Yuno came to the United States as a high school sophomore to attend Groton School, a boarding school in Massachusetts. As one of five Inclusion Scholars in her cohort, she received a full scholarship to attend. This enabled her to pursue educational opportunities beyond those offered in the traditional Japanese school system.

As an undergraduate at Princeton University, Yuno had the opportunity to explore a variety of physics subfields through research. Her research in computational geophysics with Professor Ching-Yao Lai resulted in a first author journal publication. The summer before her senior year, Yuno worked with Professor Daniel Marlow and Doctor Andi Tan on the design and assembly of a small-scale detector for observing cosmic microwave background radiation from the roof of the physics building. This experience sparked her interest in developing experimental techniques for testing theoretical predictions of fundamental physics. For her senior thesis advised by Professor Christopher Tully, Yuno developed the first conceptual design for a component of PTOLEMY, an experimental collaboration aiming to detect relic neutrinos. She was honored by the Kusaka Memorial Prize in Physics for outstanding thesis work and led a journal paper based on this research.

Yuno will pursue a PhD at UC Berkeley, where she is interested in using Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics(AMO) techniques as an experimental platform for testing fundamental physics.

Since the Fellowship’s founding 26 years ago, the program has provided more than $80 million in funding, and recipients have studied a range of fields from medicine and the arts to law and business. The fellowship is currently accepting applications for the 2025 class. More information about the Paul and Daisy Soros fellowship is available on their website.