Spring 2018| Posse Alumni Quarterly

  

UW-Madison Alum Pursues Future in Foreign Service

In 2016, University of Wisconsin-Madison Posse Alumna Saumya Deva was the first Posse alum to win the prestigious Rangel Graduate Fellowship, which supports awardees through two years of graduate study, internships, mentoring and professional development activities. She is currently a graduate student in public policy at Columbia University.

As a first generation Indian-American woman, Saumya’s drive aligns with the Rangel Fellowship’s mission to promote greater diversity and excellence in Foreign Service, within the U.S. Department of State.

Saumya began to craft a path toward Foreign Service with her undergraduate focus, as a double-major in international studies and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian studies. After graduation, she went abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa.

While in Togo, Saumya started to look more closely at how the United States carries itself in global diplomacy. After visiting numerous U.S. embassies abroad, she saw that the faces who represented the U.S. to the world didn’t look like her, and didn’t reflect the demographic mix of the country.

“The international community sees the United States government as the most influential and accepting democracies in the world,” says Saumya. “All too often, however, those making international decisions do not represent America’s population.”

Saumya recognizes the importance of diversity, especially in the field of international affairs, where diplomatic strategies, negotiations and decision making have tremendous consequences.

“I believe it is time for a Foreign Service full of diplomats who truly represent the current U.S. population,” says Saumya, conscious of the lack of diversity in the field. “As a first-generation Indian-American woman, I look forward to representing the United States abroad and challenging the stereotype of people of color being excluded from governmental positions.”

As she pursues a graduate degree in public policy at Colombia University through the Rangel Fellowship, Saumya inches closer to representing the United States as a Foreign Service Officer.

Appreciative of the support she received from Posse and its alumni network, Saumya gives back by being a resource for other Posse alumni. She provided guidance and support to Bucknell University Posse Alumnus Nigel Robinson as he applied for the Rangel Fellowship—which he then also won, the year after she did.

For more information on fellowships like the Rangel Fellowship, and to connect with aspiring leaders like Saumya and Nigel, log on to the Posse Portal.

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