Hamline University alumna Raie Gessesse ’20 has been awarded a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Chosen from a pool of 2,445 applicants, Gessesse is one of 30 outstanding individuals selected for their potential to make significant contributions to the United States.
Gessesse will receive up to $90,000 in funding for her graduate studies at Harvard Kennedy School where she will pursue a Master in Public Policy.
Born and raised in Minnesota to parents who emigrated from Ethiopia by way of a Diversity Immigrant Visa, Gessesse is passionate about public policy, the law and public service.
“My parents worked endlessly in pursuit of the American Dream,” said Gessesse. “I learned from their experiences about the policy and legal challenges immigrants face in the United States.”
She stepped into public service and advocacy at a young age and has not looked back.
At 18, Gessesse was appointed by former Gov. Mark Dayton to serve as a cabinet member on the state’s first-ever Young Women’s Cabinet. In 2019, she was awarded the national Truman Scholarship for her commitment to public service and was selected as a Public Policy & International Affairs Fellowship (PPIA) Scholar at Berkley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts in public health and political science at Hamline University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors. Currently, Gessesse is the Midwest program manager for IGNITE National, one of the country’s largest young women’s political organizations. She is the resident fellow and program coordinator for Hamline University’s Center for Justice & Law, where she manages student workers, coordinates event logistics, invites high-profile speakers and designs programming.