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International student alumni in the U.S.: Making a difference at the community, state and national level

Current and former international students live and work across the entire U.S., in large cities as well as small towns. Here we share the stories of ten individuals whose daily work in key areas contributes to U.S. communities and society.

Noubar standing alone against a white wall.


Noubar Afeyan

Noubar Afeyan is an Armenian-American entrepreneur and inventor known most famously for being the co-founder of the biotechnology company, Moderna, which has been at the forefront of providing vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic. Noubar received his secondary and undergraduate education in Canada, where his family had settled after fleeing the civil war in Lebanon. He then came to the U.S. as an international student to earn a Ph.D. in biochemical engineering from MIT, and subsequently became a U.S. citizen in 2008.  

A prolific author of scientific papers and a patent-holder of numerous inventions, Mr. Afeyan also lectures at Harvard Business School and has taught at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has co-founded and helped launch 50+ life science and technology start-ups and companies and in 2000 he founded Flagship Pioneering, an “enterprise where entrepreneurially minded scientists invent seemingly reasonable solutions to challenges facing human health and sustainability.” Mr. Afeyan has received several prestigious awards in recognition of his significant contributions to U.S. society, including the Golden Door Award; the Great Immigrant honor from the Carnegie Corporation; the Technology Pioneer Award from the World Economic Forum; and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.