By: Schanelle Bouie
For the first time ever, Lincoln University students were invited and encouraged to apply to the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program, a program that began back in 1992.
On Tuesday, the Lincoln University’s Career Services Center hosted an information session for fellowship program created by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which prepares students for a career with the United States Department of State Foreign Service.
The session was held in Dickey Hall, Career Services Office, located in room 241 by James Gaston, a retired U.S. Department of State Diplomat and former Princeton University professor.
Gaston’s goal was to recruit minorities and allow them the unique opportunity to use their higher education to excel in Foreign Affairs. “With a career in Foreign Service, you will literally be interacting with people in countries all over the world,” said Gaston.
The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program offers great incentive for selected candidates. All prospects must be U.S. citizens, juniors of undergraduate study with a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher at the time of application, which must be maintained throughout participation in the program. Chosen applicants receive $20,000 funding per semester, each year of a two-year Master’s degree program totaling $40,000 annual funding total.
The program grants students two paid summer internships, a domestic internship in Washington, D.C. and an overseas internship.
Both internships compensate students up to $10,000. “I was interested because they pay a lot and it’s a guaranteed job” said business management major Dominique St. Fort.
The fellowship program especially targets women, members of minority groups that are underrepresented and students who desire a career in Foreign Service and demonstrate financial need, with hopes that these minorities groups will help to diversify the department.
Senior Chantelle Henderson, a Political Science major, said she chose to attend the event to decide whether it was an opportunity that aligns with her interest.
A changing lifestyle overseas, continuous learning of diverse foreign languages and challenging work that is rewarding are just a few of the perks that comes with the territory of being an employee of the foreign service according to Gaston.
“As a Diplomat, most of your time is spent abroad,” Gatson explained. The main focus of a diplomat is to represent the U.S. to the world by explaining our culture, history, actions and values.
Further information about the fellowship program can be found in the office of Career Services, Dickey Hall, room 241.