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Diba Seddighi Named a 2022 Key into Public Service Scholar

Program Connects Arts and Sciences Students with Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship and Public Sector Opportunities

Diba Seddighi, a third-year student at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, majoring in global public health with an emphasis on underserved populations in the College Scholars Program is one of 20 students selected as a Key into Public Service Scholar by The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society. The award recognizes students who have demonstrated interest in working in the public sector and possess a strong academic record in the arts, humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Chosen from almost 900 applicants attending chapter institutions across the nation, each scholar will receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship and take part in a conference convening in late June to provide them with training, mentoring, and reflection on pathways into active citizenship. Inspired by many Phi Beta Kappa members who have shaped the course of our nation through local, state, and federal service, the award highlights specific pathways for liberal arts and graduates seeking public sector careers. 

“The Society selected the 2022 Service Scholars for their intellectual curiosity; breadth and depth across liberal arts and sciences coursework; positive contributions on and off campus through academic research, internships, and community work; and demonstrated commitment to serve others,” Phi Beta Kappa Secretary Frederick M. Lawrence said. “As the world grapples with concurrent health, economic, democratic, and climate crises, the Society hopes that its scholarship award encourages more of our nation’s top students to apply their pursuit of arts and sciences excellence in service of the greater good.”

Seddighi is an active member of her university’s chapter of Students for Migrant Justice and volunteers extensively with traditionally marginalized populations within her community through organizations such as Centro Hispano, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and Remote Area Medical. Her passion for language learning and refugee health has led her to studying Turkish in Ankara, Turkey on a US Department of State Critical Language Scholarship. She also plans to spend a semester abroad to study Spanish at Universidad Carlos III in Madrid, Spain. Seddighi’s academic interests pertain to studying the sociological, economic, and political underpinnings of health in order to better understand how to reduce disparities in healthcare globally. Driven by people and their potential, she aspires to devote her career to building more equitable health systems, in both the United States and abroad, through medicine and public health policy. After graduation, she intends to earn a dual MD/MPH degree and pursue a fulfilling career as a physician-public servant. Seddighi is originally from Mashhad, Iran. 

About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 293 colleges and universities in the United States, nearly 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 42 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 150 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit