After receiving a prestigious fellowship, the top student in this year’s senior class of electrical engineers will only have to worry about half his tuition when he continues on to graduate school.

Arpit Malaviya was selected Wednesday as one of 30 recipients of the 2004 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. For two years, he will receive an annual grant of $20,000 and one-half the tuition cost of whichever graduate school he chooses to attend. The Soros Fellowship is available to resident aliens, naturalized citizens and children of two naturalized citizens, and recipients are chosen based on academic merit, volunteer work and leadership ability.

Malaviya, 28, immigrated to the United States from Kanpur, India when he was 22 years old. He has a cumulative 3.98 GPA and is ranked first in his class of 64 in electrical engineering. He said he has done 700 hours of volunteer work since he began undergraduate study.

Malaviya and 86 other finalists were chosen from a pool of 1,300 applicants to go to Los Angeles for a reception and interviews.

“That was a rare instance in my life when I saw so many incredible people in such a short span of time,” Malaviya said. “I thought everyone deserved it more than me.”

Malaviya is currently working as a researcher for electrical engineering Professor Mark Rodwell in the study of digital-to-analog converters.

“Any gadgetry has some form of converters,” Malaviya said. “We’re just trying to come up with new, novel ways of designing them.”

In summer of 2002, Malayiva worked as an undergraduate fellow at Caltech. His team’s findings in their research of solid-acid fuel cells were published in the fall 2003 issue of California Engineer.

“Solid-acid fuel cells are one of the leading sources of alternate energy,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to be part of a leading research team with Professor Sossina Haile. She is very famous in the country in this area of research.”

By next quarter, Malaviya hopes to have formed an engineering honors society on campus. He said he would invite the top third of the senior class and the top quarter of the junior class to join.

Matthew Tirrell, dean of the College of Engineering, said, “We are proud of his accomplishments and very pleased that he has received this very competitive recognition.”

Malaviya said he would decide at the end of the quarter between three graduate schools: UCSB, UC Berkeley and Stanford. He said his graduate school research would focus on high-speed analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits.

“I particularly like circuit design because of the creativity involved,” he said.