Frequent readers of the current news section are no doubt already aware that the winners of the Vilcek Prizes are truly great immigrants. Fittingly, the Carnegie Corporation has made it official for many of our prizewinners. This year, Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise recipients Franziska Michor and Tuyen Tran were both named to the Carnegie Corporation’s annual “Great Immigrants: The Pride of America.”
Published every July 4th since 2006, the list and accompanying campaign highlight the remarkable contributions made by immigrants to American society. “The tribute is simply a thank-you that reflects Andrew Carnegie’s belief that naturalized American citizens contribute significantly to the health of American democracy,” said Carnegie Corporation spokeswoman Celeste Ford.
Franziska Michor, the Austrian-born winner of a Creative Promise Prize in Biomedical Science, is a professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard School for Public Health. Her interdisciplinary research fuses evolutionary biology and mathematics toward a better understanding of cancer progression and drug resistance. “What I love about the United States is that the people are not risk-averse. In Europe, you have to be very convinced that something is going to work before you try it. I am very grateful that I have collaborators who are willing to support me and help test my ideas in the clinic,” said Franziska, praising the intellectual freedom in America.
Tuyen Tran, a Vietnamese-born fashion designer and the youngest winner of the Creative Promise Prizes to date, views fashion as a form of functional product design, and strives to make clothes that are not only beautiful but also sustainable. After producing a breathtaking senior thesis collection at Parsons the New School for Design, she is finding her way in the New York fashion world. Tuyen lauded America’s limitless sense of opportunity: “Growing up, I believed that there was a single American dream to achieve. This isn’t so, of course; this country has given me the total freedom to define and follow my own dreams.”
In addition to the two Vilcek prizewinners, the 2015 “Pride of America” list features 36 naturalized citizens representing 27 countries, including Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Arieh Warshel, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, and director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas Campbell, among many other notable individuals.
Check out the Great Immigrants to see all Vilcek prizewinners who have been featured in “Pride of America,” learn more about current and past honorees, listen to StoryCorps podcasts about immigration, and take an interactive “citizenship quiz.” And don’t forget to pick up your copy of the New York Times on July 4th to see the full-page ad including photos of all the honorees!