Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree, I explored avenues in the private and public sectors, specifically in retail, education, and social care. After my second year of working full-time, I thought more in-depth about my “dream career.” I concluded that throughout my personal and professional experiences, I have made public service to others a core component of what I do. Therefore, I wanted to have a proud profession where I could continue serving others beyond the walls of my community. Additionally, I felt it was time to go back to school and pursue a master’s degree. After thorough research and reaching out to a Georgetown friend who is a Foreign Service Officer, I concluded that the State Department Charles B. Rangel Fellowship was perfect for me. My new goal was to be part of the Rangel Family.
The mission of the Rangel Fellowship is to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers in the U.S. Foreign Service and to diversify the State Department, in order to accurately reflect the rich diversity of the American people it represents overseas. The Rangel Fellowship put both of my goals together – my goal of pursuing my master’s degree and my goal of becoming a U.S. Diplomat.
This fellowship has a ~3% acceptance rate and the process to join the foreign service takes approximately 3 years – including 2 years of graduate school.
I had the honor to be selected as a 2018 Rangel Fellow in November 2017. My journey started on May 20th, 2018, with a one-week orientation to the Rangel Fellowship and the Foreign Service in Washington, D.C.. The orientation was followed by a 10-week internship on Capitol Hill, where I had the opportunity to intern with ranking member, Senator Jack Reed from Rhode Island.
The congressional internship helped me learn more about how Congress operates and influences U.S. foreign policy. During the course of my internship, I participated in professional development workshops, learned about the foreign service through other diplomats and ambassadors, and attended an Ambassadorial Swearing-in Ceremony.
With the help of the Rangel Fellowship, I also pursued a Master of International Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University, with a concentration in Urban and Social Policy, as well as a double specialization in Latin American studies and the United Nations. As a future Foreign Service Officer, I think it is important to study urban cities, so I can prepare myself to think and engage critically about the economic, social, political, and technological forces that are shaping urban areas across the globe.
If you’re interested in a career in the foreign service and will also like to obtain your master’s degree, look into State Department fellowships! The State Department has 3 graduate fellowships related to the foreign service: the Charles B. Rangel Fellowship, the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship, and the Donald M. Payne Fellowship (under USAID).
Photo credits: SIPA, Columbia University and Charles B. Rangel Fellowship