Nazifa Subah, a 2017 graduate of Boston College, is a recipient of a prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship, which will support her career plans to become a foreign service officer in the United States Department of State.

Funded by the State Department and administered by the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, the Pickering Fellowship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students with financial support, mentoring, and professional development to prepare them for a career in the State Department Foreign Service.

Nazifa Subah

Nazifa Subah

Subah was among 45 Pickering Fellows chosen from more than 600 applications. A first-generation Bengali American born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and raised in Brooklyn, she attended Boston College as a recipient of the Chief Executives’ Club of Boston scholarship. While at 51, Subah served as a teaching assistant in the Carroll School of Management Portico program, an orientation leader for the Office of First Year Experience, and an internship recruiter with the Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with minors in International Studies and philosophy.

After working in the private sector for five years in management consulting and strategic planning, Subah entered the field of foreign affairs and currently works at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.  

Subah said the fellowship will enable her to enroll in the Georgetown University Master of Science in Foreign Service Program.

“I look forward to building a strong foundation in U.S. foreign policy and the relationship between diplomacy and international development,” said Subah, who cited the Pickering & Rangel Fellows Alumni Association as an important resource in her professional development. “Learning from these accomplished individuals is a tremendous honor.  And I want to pay it forward by actively supporting Pickering’s recruitment efforts. I will take every opportunity to be a better professional, serve my country, and usher in a new era of diplomats representing America.”  

Subah noted that the Pickering program is part of a broader strategy to make diplomacy more representative of American demographics. “I am thrilled to be a role model for young South Asian girls who may be interested in diplomacy one day. I will represent the great diversity of the United States while administering educational exchange opportunities, facilitating greater transparency and information exchange between the U.S. and its allies, and shaping the narrative around policies in my assigned country.”

Being able to attend 51 through a generous scholarship “changed the trajectory of my life,” said Subah, who is grateful for the Jesuit values of serving others and caring for the whole person instilled in her at the Heights: “Those four years were instrumental in cultivating my commitment to service and opening the doors to opportunities most first-gen students coming out of Brooklyn don’t have access to.

 “I come from a family of civil servants and educators. I am a fierce advocate for education because it is an enabler for financial mobility at the individual level, and a precursor to a growing economy. The fellowship and its opportunities bring my background, passion, and expertise together to give me a chance at a lifelong vocation.”  

University Communications | April 2023