WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 27, 2013) — The President’s Commission on White House Fellowships announced Tuesday the appointment of the 2013-2014 Class of White House Fellows. The Fellows come from diverse backgrounds, varied professions, and have all shown a strong commitment to public service and leadership.
The White House Fellows Program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.” This unique opportunity to work within our nation’s government is designed to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service. The Fellows also take part in an education program designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, policy formulation, and current affairs. Community service is another essential element of the program, and Fellows participate in service projects throughout the year in the Washington, DC area.
Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service. Each Fellow must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute meaningfully at senior levels in the Federal government. Throughout its history, the program has fostered leaders in many fields, including leaders in government, business, law, media, medicine, education, diplomacy and the military. Additional information about the White House Fellows program is available at www.whitehouse.gov/fellows.
Some of the new class:
• Charina Choi, San Francisco, CA, is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemistry at Stanford University. Her work focuses on the design of nanomaterials with unique optical and electronic properties and their development for biomedical, electronics, and energy applications.
Charina’s research has produced several peer-reviewed publications, a patent, and presentations at national and international conferences. Her contributions have been further recognized through the UC Berkeley Dauben Fellowship, Benjamin Boussert Memorial Award, Materials Research Society Graduate Student Gold Award, and National Science Foundation American Competitiveness in Chemistry Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Charina is the founder of Sciimpact, an annual conference for students and teachers from underserved Bay Area high schools, focused on the power of science to effect global change. She served on the founding committee for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies. Her community involvement includes volunteer work for numerous Bay Area organizations including Children’s Hospital Oakland, Camp Okizu, Chemistry in the Classroom, and the Youth Emergency Assistance Hostel.
Charina received a B.S. in Chemistry with Honors from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
• Justin Finnegan, Darien, CT, is Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Mountain Hazelnuts Group (MHG).
As Bhutan’s first 100 percent foreign direct investment, MHG takes a systemic approach to creating reliable income generation opportunities for Bhutan’s poorest families while restoring ecosystem health and maintaining community cohesion. Justin oversees the operations of the social venture, which is planting 10 million hazelnut trees on degraded and fallow mountain slopes and connecting subsistence farmers to valuable international markets.
With nearly ten years of operations experience in Asia, he previously helped open and manage WestPoint Home’s Asia head office in Shanghai. WestPoint Home was the world’s second largest home textile company with extensive manufacturing operations throughout Asia. Justin was both a Fulbright and Trustman Scholar and spent two years conducting research in rural villages near China’s border with Tibet and Myanmar, focusing on the effects of agricultural policy on subsistence farmers. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He received a BA from Harvard College in East Asian Studies, where he was named a Harvard-Yenching scholar, and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Justin is fluent in written and spoken Chinese and proficient in French, Spanish, and Yunnanese.
• Kapil Parakh, Washington, DC, is a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins.
He is the Director of Heart Failure at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Behavior & Society. He leads heart failure quality improvements in collaboration with the Joint Commission’s Center for Transforming Healthcare, using entrepreneurial techniques to cost-effectively improve outcomes.
Kapil’s research focuses on understanding the increased mortality in patients with depression after a heart attack. Passionate about teaching, Kapil is a clinician-educator and has mentored trainees in award winning research. Kapil is the co-founder of Health for America, a non-profit that mobilizes youth to improve the health of communities through innovation while shaping the next generation of leaders.
In recognition of his contributions to public health, Kapil was recently inducted into the Delta Omega Public Health honor society. He has 27 scientific publications and serves as a peer-reviewer for a number of journals. Kapil is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation. Kapil received a BS and MD from the University of Zambia with honors, as well as a MPH and PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
• Victor Wu, Kingsport, TN, is a primary care physician, and most recently served as Chief Medical Resident at Grady Memorial Hospital for the Emory University Internal Medicine Residency program. He helped oversee daily training of resident physicians and coordinated medical student and resident education. Before this, Victor completed his clinical training at Emory working primarily with Atlanta’s underserved and vulnerable patients at Grady Hospital.
He was recognized for excellence in clinical care (Most Outstanding Intern, Outstanding Primary Care Award), professionalism (HOPE award), and research (Helen Miller Research award). Additionally, Victor has published several peer-reviewed manuscripts and collaborated with the Institute of Medicine developing a Health Insurance Literacy tool kit. He has also worked for McKinsey & Co in its healthcare practice.
Victor is active in his community where he volunteers at the Open Door Community homeless medical clinic, captained an Ultimate Frisbee team that has competed at the USAU National Championships multiple years, served as a high school tutor for low-income students, and participated in local health advocacy through HealthSTAT. Victor earned his M.D. from Emory University, his M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management from Rollins School of Public Health, and graduated summa cum laude and Tau Beta Pi from Vanderbilt University with a B.E. in Biomedical Engineering.