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Mark Minghao Xue CC’06 wins Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mark Minghao Xue CC’06 has been awarded one of the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans honor the contributions of immigrants to the United States by annually awarding 30 fellowships to individuals who are immigrants or the children of immigrants and who are posed to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture or their academic field. Each fellow receives up to $90,000 in funding for the graduate program of their choice. Xue was chosen from a pool of 1,200 applicants.

As a fellow, Xue will join the prestigious community of previous recipients, a group that includes U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, leading Ebola researcher Pardis Sabeti, Oscar health insurance co-founder Kevin Nazemi and more than 500 other New American leaders.

 “We are very proud that another Columbia College alumnus has been honored as a Soros Fellow. This is a very special award that celebrates the contributions and the potential of immigrants and their children,” said Scott Carpenter, associate dean of global education and fellowships. “This honor is a testament to Mark's accomplishments and sense of civic duty. He embodies the best of what Columbia has to offer.”

Xue was born in China one month before his father, Xing Xue GSAS’89, moved to the U.S. to pursue a PhD. His mother's family raised him until his parents could afford to have him come to the United States in 1989.

After graduating from the College, where he finished the majority of Columbia’s graduate math coursework as an undergraduate math major, Xue joined the Marine Corps, serving for eight years.

The sense of civic responsibility that led Xue to serve in the United States military was born out of his father’s experience during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Xue’s father spent a decade laboring on a commune farm before he was able to attend college under Deng Xiao Ping’s reforms. Despite the setback, Xue’s father earned a fellowship from Columbia that allowed Xue’s parents to immigrate to the United States.

Xue’s time as a marine officer and helicopter pilot inspired his interest in computer science. Applying his software development hobby to his work, Xue was able to help pilots fly more safely by creating and integrating preflight planning and navigational software. In the fall, Xue will begin work toward a master’s degree in computer science at Stanford, with a focus on systems and machine learning. He plans to create innovative software tools that advance human abilities.