University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate student Burcu Bozkurt was selected as one of the 2018 recipients of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Originally from Istanbul, Bozkurt immigrated to North Carolina with her family when she was seven years old. In 2012, Bozkurt graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a bachelor of science in public health degree in health policy and management, with a second major in global studies focused on international politics and Latin American studies.
“This fellowship is a wonderful acknowledgement of the importance and impact of Burcu’s work in the field of global public health,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “I am very excited for Burcu and have no doubt that she’ll make the most of this opportunity to create more equitable health care for all populations, particularly for those most in need.”
As an undergraduate, Bozkurt worked with public health organizations in Bangladesh and conducted research in Vietnam as a Mahatma Gandhi Fellow and Phillips Ambassador. She co-founded the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill. As a result of her work with the organization, she was recognized by the Gates Institute as one of 40 global reproductive health leaders under 40 in 2016. She has also worked in public health as a researcher, lobbyist and consultant. Citing her parents’ incredible work ethic and deep commitment to the pursuit of social justice, Bozkurt is committed to driving progress on important public health issues globally.
Bozkurt is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in health policy and management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health as a member of The Graduate School’s Royster Society of Fellows. She plans to dedicate her studies and career to ensuring equitable health care for all populations, especially vulnerable ones.
“Burcu Bozkurt is truly a remarkable young woman,” said Dean Barbara Rimer of Gillings School of Global Public Health. “She’s really smart, but what stands out is her awesome combination of grit and determination, even in the face of adversity, which she and her family experienced as immigrants, and compassion. We are so proud of Burcu and confident that she will contribute to achieving more equitable health care on a global scale.”
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans grants up to $90,000 to 30 immigrants and children of immigrants for two years of graduate study in any field and in any program in the United States. In addition to funding, each new fellow joins a prestigious community of past recipients. The fellowship seeks applicants who are likely to make significant contributions to society, culture or their academic fields.
“Burcu is UNC-Chapel Hill’s sixth Soros Fellow,” said Professor Inger Brodey, Director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships. “We are proud of Burcu’s achievements and know she will continue to contribute to providing equitable access to health care, especially for youth and women around the world.”