Alumnus Tenzin Dawa Thargay Wins Rangel Fellowship

Tenzin Dawa Thargay
Tenzin Dawa Thargay

Tenzin Dawa Thargay, a 2018 graduate and the student commencement speaker, has been awarded a 2019 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship.

The fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Fellowships are awarded in a highly competitive nationwide contest.

The Rangel fellowship will support Thargay through a two-year master’s degree in an area of relevance to the Foreign Service. It will also provide extensive professional development opportunities, including internships, mentors and skills training.

As part of the Rangel program, Thargay will work for a member of Congress on issues related to foreign affairs in the summer of 2019. In the summer of 2020, the Department of State will send him overseas to work in a U.S. Embassy to get hands-on experience with U.S. foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service.

Upon successful completion of the program, Thargay will become a U.S. diplomat, embarking on one of the most challenging and rewarding careers of service to his country. He will work to promote peace and prosperity around the world.

Thargay, who graduated in May, is the first student from UMass Amherst to win a Rangel fellowship.

Thargay earned a duel degree in political science and Chinese. During college, he won the David L. Boren Scholarship from the National Security Engagement Program and studied in Taiwan. A member of Commonwealth Honors College, he won a Fulbright Research Scholarship, the Commonwealth Honors College Class of 1941 Honors Humanitarian Award, Political Science Department Public Service Award, and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Feldman-Vorwerk Family Undergraduate Research Award.

After graduation, Thargay served as an intern in the White House office of the United States trade representative, where he supported the deputy assistant trade representative for China affairs by conducting research, translating and analyzing data on U.S.-China trade issues. He is currently a Fulbright Scholar in Korea. 

Thargay is a first-generation Tibetan-American whose grandparents fled Tibet in 1959 and settled in India. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1993, entrusted by the Dalai Lama as representatives of Tibet.

Thargay says, “My heritage and family immigration story fueled my majors in political science, Chinese, and career aspirations to serve the U.S. government. The Rangel fellowship represents the natural stepping stone to realize a career where I can give back to this country—which has afforded me a privileged life—and represent national interests in the international system.”

Patricia Scroggs, director of the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Tenzin as a 2019 Rangel fellow. Tenzin’s experiences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst helped him to build a strong academic foundation and strengthen his skills and commitment to a career in international service. I have no doubt that Tenzin’s contributions to U.S. foreign policy will make the university proud. I hope other UMass students will follow his lead into the Rangel program and the Foreign Service.”

Begun in 2003, the Rangel program selects outstanding young people each year from around the country who exhibit the ideal qualities of a Foreign Service officer. Fellows now serve as diplomats around the world.