Q&A With King Leadership Scholar Faith Rotich '18
Across campus, King Leadership Scholar Faith Rotich ’18 can be found taking photos of students, staff and faculty for the online publication she co-edits, Humans of Dartmouth. Traveling far from her homecountry, Kenya, to attend Dartmouth, Rotich applied to selective colleges in the United States with the help of Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project, or KenSAP.
How has your Dartmouth experience been shaped by the King Leadership Scholars Program?
FR: I came to Dartmouth because I received the King Scholarship. So far I’ve felt very honored to be apart of the program for different reasons. It is a very well established and integrated program in that we have advisors who we speak very often with. My relationship with the Robert ’57 and Dorothy King family is not typical — they make us feel apart of their family. For example, following the fall term, we got to go to their home in Maine and celebrate Thanksgiving with them.
What has been the most interesting part of being a Kings Scholar?
FR: There is something called the King Scholar Leadership week, which alternates locations between Washington, D.C. and New York City. Every year at the end of fall term, we have a week where we go to one of these cities and meet with different organizations and companies that are mostly international and do work in the Global South in the health, entrepreneurship and tech industries. During our trip, we visited the World Justice Project and were fascinated by the company so I chose to pursue an internship with them.
What are you currently working on this summer?
FR: Right now, I’m at home in Kenya working on a project that is aligned with one of the goals for the King Scholarship. I am setting up a project to help young women who have dropped out of school to go back to school. I hope it is something that I can continue to do and won’t just end at the end of this summer but will expand into something better and bigger.
What are your future plans?
FR: Unlike other international scholarship programs, like MasterCard, is it not a requirement for King Scholars to return home after graduation. That said, Bob and Dottie King do hope that the scholars, many from the Global South, will use their education and the opportunities they have access to to help alleviate poverty in their home regions, in whatever capacity they can.
After interning at the World Justice Project in Washington, D.C., how has your perspective on development changed?
FR: The project was actually started by a Dartmouth alum, Bill Neukom ’64. The organization hopes to strengthen the rule of law around the world. The company collects data from different countries, measure the rule of law with issues of criminal justice and corruption. Each year, the [World Justice Project] publishes a book and distributes it to different countries to see how each governments can improve in comparison to each other.
While working at a non-profit, the main incentive for employees is the purpose of the organization, the mission and goals, because there isn’t a monetary incentive. It was quite interesting to realize and think about when I go to the office — I know I am working for this organization because I believe in their purpose. The World Justice Project was an excellent opportunity not only for my professional advancement but also for personal growth. I came to realize the limitations of the nonprofit sector, and I’m therefore looking to explore for-profit sectors that create value through social impact.
On campus, what other groups are you involved with?
FR: Working at the World Justice Project utilized my quantitative analysis skills and also helped me make informed career choices of going into economic development as a general field after I graduate. Humans of Dartmouth encompasses my passion for photography and human relations. I started being a part of Humans of Dartmouth in fall 2016 as a photographer.
I like taking pictures of people and I believe that each person in a community like Dartmouth has a unique story that Humans of Dartmouth can share. One of the most important things of photography is being able to capture a certain moment where it is just unguided, spontaneous, and just human. I find capturing that moment fascinating. Humans of Dartmouth has provided a space for me to keep doing that.
What do you envision for Humans of Dartmouth in the future?
FR: We are trying to expand the project by encompassing different aspects of the community with faculty and staff in addition to students.
Most international students have some kind of interesting story as a given. They come from thousands of miles away and grew up in very different backgrounds. That said, its easier to get a story from people with different backgrounds than the majority of students at Dartmouth. One of the things we try to insist on at Humans of Dartmouth is really trying to push for stories outside of the normal Dartmouth routine. Dartmouth students tend to speak about their normal Dartmouth routines, and it takes a lot to actually move behind that and talk about other things that make this person human. We are getting better at it and its something found in every student at Dartmouth.
Rotich is a former photographer for The Dartmouth.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.
Correction Appended (July 10, 2017): The original version of this article referred to the founder of the World Justice Project as Paul Neukom ’82, when the founder of the organization is actually Bill Neukom ’64. The article has been updated to reflect this change.