The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Rocky Student Soham Basu '20 Wins Prestigious Pickering Fellowship

Soham (right) stands with another person holding a sign in french

Soham, on the right, during "Soup with a Stranger" on his RGLP trip to Monteal.

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Soham Basu '20 was recently awarded a Pickering Fellowship from the U.S. Department of State. Soham got his start at The Rockefeller Center engaging in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) and from there went on to participate in many of the classes and programs Rocky has to offer. We, at the Rockefeller Center, congratulate Soham and look forward to seeing where he goes next!


Soham recently sat down to reflect on his Dartmouth experience at the Rockefeller Center.

Can you talk about the Pickering Fellowship? What is it and why are you excited for your fellowship?

The Pickering Fellowship is administered by the Department of State and provides entry into the Foreign Service. Fellows attend an MA program of their choice and are expected to serve (at minimum) 5 years with the Department. The Fellowship provides financial support for graduate school as well as mentoring and guidance in the early years of entering the service.

I've known for a long time that I've wanted to pursue a career in international affairs. To be able to join the department that is on the leading edge of global diplomacy early in my career is an incredible opportunity I'm very grateful for. I am excited to have the chance to be a practitioner and hopefully bring a unique perspective to the US national security community. At a moment when the only constant is change and the nature of challenges our world faces require collaborative solutions across borders, I'm excited to join an institution global in nature.
What Rocky programs/classes did you take a part of while you were at Dartmouth?

I was heavily involved with Rocky throughout my time at Dartmouth. I completed RGLP as a participant my freshman spring and immediately joined the team as a student assistant. My experiences working with Rocky staff and fellow students were a highlight of my time at Dartmouth. RGLP pushed me to become a more probing and empathetic person, it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and provided a forum to have important conversations with students from across campus who I otherwise would not have crossed paths with.

My junior winter internship at the State Department was funded by the Rocky internships program. One of my most formative off-campus experiences, Rocky funding allowed me to pursue an internship with the Department that I'll be joining full-time in the coming years. In addition, I took Professor Shaiko and Professor Nachlis' courses on policy research and law. Professor Nachlis in particular became a close mentor and advisor who continues to support me today.
Can you share any memorable moments from your time at Rocky?

RGLP's term-end immersion weekend in Montreal was always one of my favorite times of term. It was incredible to interact and explore with a global city. I particularly remember in 2017, when we arrived in Montreal we took part in a "Soup with a Stranger" activity where we spoke with strangers from all over the world and found common ground over linguistic, ethnic, and cultural differences.

I always attended every lecture I could that Rocky hosted on campus. It is such an amazing programming series that brings some of the most influential academics, policymakers, and practitioners to Hanover. Getting the chance to see these speakers live and ask them questions was always a treat.
Can you share any lessons you learned from Rocky that may have helped you in your journey to get the Pickering Fellowship?

Rocky was a place where I worked hard to refine my professionalism. Whether it was applying for internship funding or conducting interviews for RGLP, I was always practicing professionalism in how I interacted with others. Moreover, Rocky taught me to jump into things and not be afraid of hearing "no". The staff and faculty at Rocky always greeted me with a smile and were genuine people in addition to their professional responsibilities. I felt like I could thrive intellectually at Rocky but also enjoy the process with others.
Anything else you’d like to share?

I took an unorthodox approach to my time at Dartmouth and believe I am better served for it. Opposed to a traditional on-campus senior year, I spent my senior year in India on the Boren Scholarship learning languages and serving as a research assistant at a think tank in New Delhi. Having the confidence to take these risks and carve my own path have made all the difference for me!

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences