When Joseph Singh ’14 received a call from the Canadian Rhodes Scholarship Committee on Saturday evening, he was decorating a Christmas tree with his family. Though he had anticipated a call, he did not expect to find out that he was one of 11 Canadians, along with fellow Dartmouth student Jonathan Pedde ’14, to win the Rhodes Scholarship.
“I don’t remember the rest of the phone call,” Singh said. “I was completely incoherent.”
As Rhodes Scholars, Pedde and Singh will receive full scholarships to pursue graduate degrees at the University of Oxford next year. The seniors are the first at the College to receive the prestigious award since Gabrielle Emanuel ’10 won the scholarship in 2010.
The scholarship – given to 83 students around the world this year – is awarded for “exceptional intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service,” according to the Rhodes website.
Pedde, an economics and mathematics major, will pursue a graduate degree in economics at Oxford. The Regina, Saskatchewan native he said that he is looking forward to working with professors and peers at the university who will challenge him to think critically about economics. Pedde currently plans to pursue a career at a public policy think tank after receiving his graduate degree.
Economics professor Eric Zitzewitz, who will advise Pedde on his senior thesis beginning this winter, previously taught Pedde in a finance seminar.
“It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” Zitzwitz said. “He was contributing a ton to the seminar, but he wasn’t doing it in a way that was really shutting out other people.”
At the College, Pedde is an opinion editor for The Dartmouth and has conducted research with economics professor Meir Kohn. Previously, Pedde has worked for Bridgewater Associates and The Sharing Way, where he assisted with a food security program in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
He credits his success to Dartmouth professors who provided him with support throughout the application process.
“There are at least a dozen – maybe almost two dozen people at Dartmouth who were involved in my application, so there are a lot of people who have been very kind in terms of their time and their talents,” Pedde said.
Singh, a government major who hails from Toronto, Ontario, plans to pursue a graduate degree in international relations at Oxford, following similar studies at Dartmouth as a government major. He hopes to enter the Canadian foreign service upon earning his master’s degree.
Singh said that his long-held plan to join the foreign service was inspired by a childhood hero, former Prime Minister Lester Pearson. In 1957, Pearson became the only Canadian to win a Nobel Peace Prize for creating United Nations peacekeeping forces that diffused tensions over the Suez Canal.
“It showed me the important role that Canada can play in international peace and security, and the really important role that even one diplomat can play,” Singh said.
At Dartmouth, Singh is a member of the Dartmouth Aires and a RWIT writing tutor. He was also a Dickey Center War and Peace Fellow, a Presidential Scholar and a Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress Fellow. Previously, Singh has interned at the Center for a New American Security, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.
Singh credited the Dartmouth government department’s faculty, as well as his mother, for his successes.
“The relationships I’ve been able to build in the government department has probably been the single biggest impact that Dartmouth had on getting me to where I am today,” Singh said. “The professors have constantly been a source of advice, support and wisdom for me.”
Next fall will not be the first time Pedde and Singh study in the United Kingdom: both students attended Dartmouth programs there during their junior fall terms. Pedde participated in the Dartmouth’s exchange program with Oxford’s Keble College, while Singh attended the government department’s foreign study program at the London School of Economics.
Pedde is a member of The Dartmouth senior staff.