The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Expands Global Health and Development Fellowship with New Fellows

July 9, 2018
Hertz Staff
Livermore, Calif

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering America’s most brilliant minds in science, mathematics and engineering, today announced six new Global Health and Development Fellows. The Global Health and Development Fellowship, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, brings Hertz Fellows to the Gates Foundation for two summer internships over the course of their PhD. Fellows learn to apply their expertise in diverse areas of the applied sciences to the foundation’s mission of improving health and development outcomes around the world.

“The Hertz Foundation is delighted that, after an exciting start last year, the Gates Foundation has expanded the internship program for our fellows in Global Health and Development,” said Robbee Baker Kosak, president, Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. “The partnership between our two foundations started due to a shared belief in the importance of bringing scientific and technological solutions to the wide range of health and development challenges faced by people around the world. We are inspired by these young scientists and engineers and their work to change millions of lives for the better.

The 2018 Global Health and Development Fellows are:

  • Sarah Hooper, a 2018 Hertz Fellow focusing on statistical approaches to improving malaria diagnosis. Hooper began a PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford University in the fall of 2017, where she is applying applications of machine learning and signal processing to improving domestic and global health outcomes. As an undergraduate at Rice University, Hooper helped create multiple new medical devices, including low-cost devices to combat neonatal hypothermia. ·
  • Maxim Rabinovich, a 2015 Hertz Fellow focusing on statistical methods for improving the delivery system for malaria medicine. Rabinovich is a PhD student in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is researching machine learning and natural language processing, with an interest in developing artificial intelligence tools that support and extend human reasoning.
  • Reuben Saunders, a 2016 Hertz Fellow focusing on maternal and childhood nutrition. Saunders is a PhD student at the University of California, San Francisco, where he is interested in understanding how molecules can work together to create something as complicated as a cell.
  • Judith Savitskaya, a 2014 Hertz Fellow focusing on plant-microbe interactions and agricultural development. Savitskaya is pursuing a PhD in bioengineering at the University of California at Berkeley, where she is exploring ways to modify DNA to make new organisms capable of meeting specific industrial and medical needs.
  • Ravi Sheth, a 2015 Hertz Fellow focusing on gut health and disease and childhood mortality. He is pursuing a PhD in bioengineering and synthetic biology at Columbia University, where he works in Harris Wang’s lab in the Department of Systems Biology, developing new tools for engineering microbes.
  • Alex Siegenfeld, a 2015 Hertz Fellow focusing on using geospatial malaria data to better understand how to reduce the malaria burden in Nigeria. He is pursuing a PhD in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where, as part of the Laboratory for Social Machines and the New England Complex Systems Institute, he focuses on applying concepts and methods from statistical physics to further the understanding of social and political phenomena. ·
  • Alex Ferris, a 2017 Hertz Fellow, who returns for a second summer after spending last summer developing a field level model for the spread of cassava brown streak disease and incorporating crop loss into models with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Alex is pursuing a PhD in bioengineering at Stanford University as part of Dr. Elizabeth Sattely’s team, researching how plants create specific natural products and how to engineer these pathways in different plant species.

The seven Fellows have a variety of focus areas and are working on different program teams at the foundation. The goals of this program are two-fold: To provide these top students in science, engineering and math with hands-on opportunities to learn about global health issues more deeply via work with the foundation’s and to be inspired to contribute to these global challenges in ways that can have lasting impact.The Hertz Fellowship in Global Health and Development provides another avenue for the Hertz Foundation to continue its singular mission to identify and support the next generation of scientific leaders and innovators in the United States. More information about the Global Health and Development Fellows can be found on our website.

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is the legacy of John Hertz, a Hungarian immigrant who made his fortune by capitalizing on the entrepreneurship prospects in the budding automotive industry. He believed that innovative and entrepreneurial solutions were vital to the strength, security and prosperity of our nation—and began the Foundation to support exceptionally talented students expected to have the greatest impact on the world’s problems. The Hertz Community is one of the most influential groups of leaders, innovators, engineers, mathematicians and scientists in the American corporate, university, national laboratory and military sectors. To date, Hertz Fellows collectively possess more than 3,000 patents, have founded more than 200 companies and have received more than 200 major national and international awards, including eight Breakthrough Prizes in Science, a Fields Medal, a Turing Award and two Nobel Prizes.

Fannie and John Hertz Foundation

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is a not-for-profit organization changing the world around us by granting freedom of American scientific research and innovation through fellowship and financial support. Celebrating 60 years in 2017, the Hertz Fellowship is the most exclusive fellowship program in the world. Our 1,200 Hertz Fellows are the leaders, shapers and disruptors of American science, engineering and mathematics. For more information on the Hertz Foundation and the innovations led by our Hertz Fellows please visit