Mass. -- Sandya Das, a junior at Wellesley College and
the daughter of Hari and Nirmala Das of Alpharetta, Ga.,
is one of 20 students nationwide to be awarded this year's
Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship.
The fellowship honors a distinguished American diplomat
who held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest
rank in the U.S. Foreign Service. The Pickering Fellowship
program seeks outstanding students (undergraduate and
graduate) who have an interest in pursuing a Foreign
Service career with the U.S. Department of State.
This summer, Das will travel to Liberia, Costa Rica,
for a month with the Global Learning international nongovernmental
organization. "I will be planning and teaching
lessons to underprivileged children at a public elementary
school," she said.
Upon completion of her undergraduate study at Wellesley,
the Pickering fellowship will help Das to pursue an
M.P.A in international affairs. "The Pickering
FAF Fellowship will allow me to advance my international
understanding, pursue my ambition for a career in public
international service and give me exposure in becoming
an active agent of social change," Das said. "After
graduation, I will serve in the Foreign Service for
at least four and one-half years, where I hope to gain
valuable leadership skills, cultural appreciation of
different backgrounds, knowledge about international
cooperation among wealthy and developing nations, and
the challenges of global security, human rights, international
justice, education and the HIV/AIDS crisis in the world."
While at Wellesley, Das has served as editor-in-chief
of the International Relations Council Journal, as student
representative on the Board of Trustees Student Life
Committee, and has performed Indian classical dance
at many Wellesley College events and productions. She
has been awarded the First Year Distinction Award in
2003 as well as the 2002 Presidential Freedom Scholarship
for Community Service and the 2001 Harvard Prize Book
Das has followed a passion for public service through
many projects including a service project in Ladakh,
India, and the Americorps VISTA program in Baltimore,
Md. She also organized a cultural benefit show that
raised more than $2,000 for the victims of the Gujarat
Earthquake and Ugandan orphans of AIDS victims.
The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship is
funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered
by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
(WWNFF). The program seeks to recruit talented students
in academic programs relevant to international affairs,
political and economic analysis, administration, management
and science policy.
The fellowship award includes tuition, room, board and
mandatory fees during the junior and senior years of
college and during the first year of graduate study
with reimbursement for books and one round-trip travel.
The Fellow must commit to pursuing a graduate degree
in international studies at one of the graduate schools
identified by the WWNFF. Participating graduate schools
provide financial support in the second year of graduate
study based on need.
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing
an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will
make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus
near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students
from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information,
go to www.wellesley.edu.