Tenzin Dawa Thargay, a 2018 UMass Amherst graduate, has been awarded a fellowship worth $8,500 by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Thargay is one of 58 recipients nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship.
Thargay received a bachelor's degree in political science and Chinese from UMass. As a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow, Thargay will pursue a master's degree in international affairs at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
While at UMass, 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. He was also the 2018 commencement student speaker.
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.
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.
Since its creation in 1932, the Fellowship Program has become one of the Society's most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $615,000 annually to outstanding students for first-year graduate or professional study. This year’s program awarded 50 fellowships of $8,500, six $20,000 Marcus L. Urann Fellowships, named for the Society’s founder, and two new awards at $35,000 each, the 1897 Fellowship and the Sherrill Carlson Fellowship.
The selection process for a fellowship is based on the applicant's evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance in an approved graduate or professional program.
Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships are part of the Society’s robust award programs, which give nearly $1 million each year to outstanding members and students on chapter campuses through study abroad grants, dissertation fellowships, funding for post-baccalaureate development, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives.