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~Wellesley College Junior Sandya Das Wins
Prestigious Pickering Fellowship~
Award Will Allow Her to Be 'Active Agent of Social Change'

For immediate release:
June 29, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, 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 Award.

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


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  • Office for Public Information
  • Date Modified: July 1, 2004
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