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LCHS Grad Named a Soros Fellow

March 08, 2007

Wei Lien Dang, a graduate of La Cañada High School, has been named one of 31 Soros Fellows.

The 23-year-old Dang, born in Los Angeles to a family of Chinese descent, is completing his master's in biomedical physical chemistry at Imperial College London where he is a Marshall Scholar. In 2006, he completed his MPhil degree in engineering at the University of Cambridge. He received his undergraduate degree in applied physicsat the California Institute of Technology in 2005. He begins a PhD program at Harvard University in physical biology and engineering later this year.

Assisting immigrants and their children to prepare for opportunities for leadership in their various fields in the United States is the mission of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship program for New Americans.

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Dang's father emigrated from Taiwan and his mother from Singapore; they are both naturalized US citizens. Growing up , Dang said he was frequently reminded of "bamboo ceilings" that limited opportunities for Asian-Americans, and he felt that opportunity in America was confined to white people. It was not until Time magazine recognized David Ho as "Man of the Year" for his work on HIV/AIDS and physicist Steven Chu received a Nobel Prize that Dang felt Asian-Americans were welcome to excel.

Dang has worked as a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and later became involved in nanotechnology research, co-authoring a paper while still an undergraduate. His research involved developing a novel fabrication process to produce gate-integrated carbon nanotube-based field emitter structures.

He also carried out a study on the impact of Internet voting systems on voter turnout and an analysis of electric utility deregulation.

He was a teaching assistant at Caltech for courses in optics and integrated circuits and organized an SAT-preparation program for high school students in the Los Angeles area.

Dang plans a career as a scholar/teacher/writer of research at the intersection between biology and the physical sciences and engineering.

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