On November 22, 2019 the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship selection panel chose 30 2020 Rangel Fellows in a highly-competitive nationwide selection process. The selection panel was extremely impressed by the new fellows’ educational, extracurricular, and professional experiences, as well as their commitment to serve the United States as Foreign Service Officers in the U.S. Department of State. The Rangel Program will support the 2020 Rangel Fellows to obtain a graduate degree and hone their professional skills through internships in the U.S. Congress and overseas at U.S. embassies and consulates. The program also provides mentorship from current Foreign Service Officers and professional development activities. The 2020 Rangel Fellows are scheduled to enter the Foreign Service in summer 2022, embarking on a uniquely rewarding career to promote U.S. interests in global peace, prosperity and justice. The Rangel Program is a U.S. Department of State program administered by Howard University.
The 2020 Rangel Fellows represent the Rangel Program goals of excellence and diversity. The group brings outstanding academics, professional experiences, community service, and cross-cultural experiences. Fellows have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service and an interest in promoting positive change around the world. With highly diverse backgrounds, the Fellows speak 30 different foreign languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Luganda, Yoruba, Igbo, Korean, Russian, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Tigrinya, French, Spanish, and German. Embodying the Rangel program goals of representing the United States abroad, they come from communities across the country. They hail from 20 states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 2020 Rangel Fellows attend or attended 30 different universities, including large state universities, Minority Serving Institutions, and smaller private colleges. The 2020 Fellows include both graduating seniors and professionals with post-undergraduate work experience. Prior work experience includes teaching, U.S. government agencies, academia, the military, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and business. Many have benefited from State Department programs, including internships, the Fulbright Program, the Critical Language Scholarship, the Rangel Summer Enrichment Program, and the Gilman Scholarship.
The 2020 fellows will begin the Rangel program in May 2020 with an orientation and congressional internship, followed by two years of graduate work and internships overseas at U.S. embassies. They will enter the Foreign Service in 2022. While each brings a wide array of talents and skills to the program, below are some highlights regarding the 30 fellows.
Martha Amaya is a senior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She studied abroad in France as a Gilman Scholar, was a Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) Fellow at Princeton University, a Running Start Congressional Fellow, and worked with the State Department on combatting human trafficking. She is passionate about empowering LGBT people abroad and being an example for other Latinas. Her languages include Spanish and French.
Iskandar Atajanow was born in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. At the age of 16 he moved to the United States through Future Leaders Exchange program. After joining the military as a combat medic, he received a Green-to-Gold Army scholarship to attend a university. He graduated from Wright State University with a bachelor’s in Business Management in May 2013 as Cum Laude and national distinguished military graduate from ROTC. Iskandar is currently an officer in the U.S. Air Force where he works to promote U.S. interests. His passion for serving his country has taken him to multiple locations around the world, where he has deepened his interest in a career that allows him to promote positive change and to works towards conflict resolution. His diverse experiences and commitment to building bridges among different cultures will advance both U.S. and global interests.
Kawther Berhanu is a proud Eritrean American from Snellville, Georgia. She studied abroad in Amman, Jordan and later completed her bachelor’s degree in Government and Arabic at Georgetown University. Following graduation, she became a Hill staffer for the House Committee on Homeland Security. She hopes to pursue a master’s in International Affairs with a concentration in Africa and migration and subsequently become a Public Diplomacy Officer. She speaks Arabic, Tigrinya and Spanish.
Mara L. Brody was born in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a senior at Bethune Cookman University. Mara was a Division 1 softball player, participated in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Internship, and was a Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program Scholar. She also interned in Senator Bill Nelson’s office and for Congressman Charlie Crist. Mara will pursue a master’s in International Relations with a concentration in Latin American studies. She is proficient in Spanish.
Felipe Bueno was born in Quito, Ecuador and moved to the United States when he was six years old. He studied international relations and economics at Seton Hall University. He interned at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, the Modern War Institute at West Point, and Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontiéres. Felipe plans to become an Economic Officer so he can focus on trade and economic policy. He plans to obtain a Master’s in Public Policy. Felipe is fluent in Spanish and is proficient in French.
Jada Bullen was raised in Florida and earned a Bachelor of Science in Culture and Politics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She completed a Critical Language Scholarship in Oman, studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco, and served for a year as a Presidential Fellow at the American University in Cairo. She most recently worked as an analyst at the international leadership advisory firm, Egon Zehnder. She plans to pursue a Master’s in International Affairs with a concentration in human rights and conflict management. Jada is committed to building relationships and intercultural communities and plans to become a Political Officer. She is proficient in Arabic.
Honor Donnie is a senior at Clark Atlanta University studying Political Science. She is from New Jersey and has strong family ties to Liberia. While in school, Donnie partnered with the Atlanta Public School system and Atlanta University Center to promote academics, as well as health and wellness of elementary school students. Honor has traveled to Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and Liberia for volunteer work. For graduate school, she desires to pursue a master’s degree in International Policy. She would like to use her diverse skills and talents as a Consular Affairs Officer.
Shamarcus Doty is from Lexington, Mississippi and will graduate from Colgate University with a degree in Africana and Latin American Studies. He has a passion for developing initiatives to promote diversity and inclusivity. He founded the graphic novel Ava & Aiden as well as the WeAreDiaspora. He was a Gilman Scholar in Jamaica, a recipient of the Levine-Weinberg Endowed Summer Fellowship and he interned at Amnesty International Ghana. Shamarcus intends to continue research on diasporic relations during his graduate studies. He hopes to make a global impact by becoming a Consular Affairs or Management Officer. Shamarcus’ languages include Spanish and Twi.
Carolina Echeverri was born in Medellin, Colombia and raised in South Florida. She completed her degrees in International Affairs and Latin American studies at Florida State University. Carolina has lived and worked in seven countries including her time as a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil, and intern at the U.S. Embassy Lisbon as a Gilman Scholar. She has worked for an NGO in the field of international development for over two years in Washington, D.C., is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and has studied German.
Schönn Franklin is a senior at Savannah State University where he studies Political Science. His interest in international relations began with his involvement in Model United Nations and Model African Union. A student leader, he is active in his campus’s Golden Key Honor Society. Schönn was a 2019 Charles B. Rangel Scholar and is passionate about economics, foreign language learning, international development, and peace and security. His language studies include Chinese, French, and Spanish.
Deja Gainey is a senior at William Peace University pursuing a bachelor’s in Political Science and Global Studies. A native of Gates, North Carolina, she was a Golden LEAF Scholar and interned with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Legislative Affairs, where she gained valuable knowledge about legislative strategy and an array of foreign policy issues. Deja studied abroad in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and completed ethnographic research on how tourism affects rural and urban areas of the Yucatan indigenous Maya people. Deja speaks Spanish and plans to study International Relations in graduate school.
Emma Giron was born in Browning, Montana and is a direct descendant of the Blackfeet Nation. She attended Willamette University, receiving a B.A. in economics and a minor in music. After graduation, she became an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer and served with Accelerate Montana, where she worked to promote entrepreneurship in rural and tribal communities. Emma is currently a Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Fellow in Germany, where she works to promote cultural understanding between Germans and Americans. She plans to pursue a master’s in public policy with a concentration in International and Global Affairs.
Abisola James is from Memphis, Tennessee and a graduating senior at Agnes Scott College. Her areas of focus are Political Science, English, and Mandarin Chinese. A budding scholar in Chinese studies, Abisola attended Mandarin classes at Emory University and Shanghai University at the advanced level and was also awarded scholarships from the State Department to study in China. Abisola participated in her college’s NAACP chapter as Public Relations Chair. She is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and plans to pursue a master’s degree in International Relations.
Desmond Jordan, born in Washington D.C., received his bachelor’s degree from George Mason University where he double majored in Global Affairs and Journalism. Through George Mason University’s satellite campus in Seoul, Desmond served as an International Peer Advisor charged with bridging social gaps between American and Korean students. Desmond is a global peacebuilding professional at the United States Institute of Peace where his current work focuses on rehabilitating and reintegrating people disengaging from violent extremist conflicts. Desmond is an avid writer and world traveler with an aspiration to become a Public Diplomacy Officer.
Tiffany King is originally from Connecticut but graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. She was a Boren Scholar in China and conducted research on women’s rights for Women’s Watch China. Beyond her intense language exposure, Tiffany interned at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Management, Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation and worked as a contracted background investigator for the National Background Investigation Bureau. She currently works at the Foreign Service Institute where she was promoted to serve as the first point of contact for diplomats and students preparing for life abroad. Tiffany speaks Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese.
Nephthaly Leonidas is from Atlanta and completed her undergraduate degree at Georgia State University. After graduating, Nephthaly began working in the non-profit sector and co-founded Moving Haiti Forward, a medical services NGO supporting rural Haitian communities. Nephthaly spent time in Mozambique working to develop a sustainable children’s program that provided access to education and meals. Through these experiences, she learned the importance of bilateral and multilateral relationships in development and stability. Nephthaly hopes to become a Public Diplomacy Officer. She speaks Spanish and Haitian Creole.
Jeremy Luna, who hails from New York, is an aspiring Public Diplomacy Officer. He graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a double major in International Relations and Asian Studies. He was a Boren Scholar and spent two years in Japan and South Korea. Jeremy also interned at the United Nations Information Center in Tokyo and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Jeremy participated in the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program. He speaks Japanese and Spanish.
Gabriella Mucerino grew up in South Florida and is currently a senior Political Science and History major in the Honors College at Baylor University. Gabbi has been a member of Baylor Ambassadors, a university-sponsored student organization that advocates for increased state and federal financial aid funding in higher education. In summer 2019, she interned for the Legislative and Public Policy practice group at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in Washington, D.C. Gabbi’s government experience includes internships in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Department of State in the Office for Global Women’s Issues. She participated in volunteer missions in Mexico and the Bahamas.
Patricia Mulondo hails from Massachusetts but spent most of her early childhood in Uganda. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs, she interned at the World Food Program USA and the American Red Cross, National Headquarters. Since graduating from the George Washington University, Patricia has worked as a Staff Assistant in the Office of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor and currently works in civil rights as an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist at the U.S. Department of Labor. She is a native speaker of Luganda, fluent in French, and has studied Arabic extensively. In graduate school, she intends to gain a better understanding of the intersection of politics and development in global affairs.
Kiana Nedele is a Wellesley College graduate from Worcester, Massachusetts. During college, she studied abroad in Moscow and in Tbilisi, Georgia. She worked at the Carnegie Moscow Center supporting research projects aimed at improving relations between the United States and Russia. She currently teaches English in Vladimir, Russia. Besides Russia and international affairs, she has a deep interest in modern history, particularly post-colonial spaces, and in languages like Russian and Turkish. She aims to deepen her knowledge of policy and diplomacy in graduate school.
Mary Frances Odukwe was originally born in Nigeria, but she lives in the Houston area. She is a college senior majoring in international studies with a concentration in international commerce and minors in economics and Spanish. In the course of two summers, she successfully led a youth entrepreneurship project in Ecuador and an environmental sustainability project in Panama. As a Gilman scholar, she interned for a local NGO in Spain, and she also served as a public affairs analyst intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. She has lived in four continents, and she speaks Igbo, Spanish, and French. She plans to obtain a master’s degree in Global Environmental Policy.
Ivan Pineda was born in Colombia and is resident of Florida. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Florida. His internships and work experience include a state senate campaign, U.S. Air Force Reserves (Medical Corps), a Critical Language Scholarship in Southwest China, and entrepreneurial work through Venture for America. Through Venture of America, he learned about business leaders’ concerns about international economic policies that could affect their business. Ivan is fluent in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. For graduate school, he plans to obtain a master’s in Public Policy or Business Administration.
Shersil R. Prentice is from the Virgin Islands and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Miami. After completing her Gilman Scholarship in Prague, she was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia. She then joined Teach for America and taught middle school math for two years, where she arranged intercultural learning opportunities for her students. Currently, she is a Disability Integration Advisor with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and leads initiatives to address the needs of individuals with disabilities affected by the 2017 hurricane season in her hometown. She plans to earn her master’s in Business Administration with a focus on international business and foreign trade.
Santiago Rios was born in Bolivia and completed his undergraduate studies in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Santiago interned for legislative offices at the state and federal level. He worked for both CASA de Maryland and HOPE Worldwide to gain experience in the development world. Santiago also interned at the Maryland House of Delegates where he learned about the legal challenges of immigrants and the impact immigration can have on the economy, security and education system. He cemented his desire for the Foreign Service while interning at the Consular Affairs section in U.S. Embassy Madrid. He plans to become a Consular Officer.
Luna Ruiz was born in China and raised in Arizona. She will graduate from the University of Arizona in May 2020. She has conducted independent research funded by the National Science Foundation and has participated in the Public Policy and International Affairs Program at Princeton University. Luna has interned at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations Office of Advanced Analytics. She also worked as an undergraduate research assistant and research fellow for professors engaged in projects focused on identifying emerging security threats. She plans to pursue a master’s in Public Policy focusing on security issues. Luna speaks Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
Lee-Ann Sims is from Lincoln, Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Global Studies. She served as an advocated leader for CARE International, interned as a Legislative Page at the Nebraska Unicameral, and volunteered as an English teacher in several different English Language Learning classrooms. Lee-Ann served as a City Year AmeriCorps member in a 5th grade classroom, in Washington, D.C. She has strong writing skills and has extensive cross-cultural experiences having studied abroad in Spain. Lee-Ann has proficiency in Spanish and Russian.
Rachel Tang graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She received the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Thailand and the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship to study Thai. She also interned at the U.S. Consulate in Bangkok. Following graduation, she served as an AmeriCorps member with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and continues to work with the refugee and immigrant community at IRC Los Angeles. She hopes to pursue a master’s in International Peace & Conflict Resolution because she is passionate about promoting diplomacy as an alternative to conflicts causing displacement. Rachel speaks Vietnamese, Spanish and Thai.
Broderick Turner is a senior at Texas State University – San Marcos where he earned his bachelor’s in International Relations and French. A Texan, Broderick calls the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex his home. His experiences in French class sparked his interest in international affairs. He has studied abroad in France and the United Kingdom and participated in the 2019 Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program. Broderick plans to use his graduate studies to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration.
Catalina Wedman was born in Costa Rica and is a senior at the University of Kansas studying Global Studies, Political Science, and Spanish. She studied abroad in Xi’an, China and volunteered as a translator in Las Pintas, Mexico. Catalina has interned at the Bureau of Consular Affairs through the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program and received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship to continue studying Mandarin Chinese. Currently, Catalina serves as an Intercountry Adoptions Student Trainee at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She is a McNair and Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (ICCAE) Scholar and plans to pursue a master’s in International Affairs. Her languages include Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
Rui Qi Angela Zheng is from Brooklyn, New York. During her undergraduate years, Angela studied abroad in Morocco on the Gilman Scholarship and was a public radio host for an Asian American cultural show. Angela has over three years of experience as a Chinese-English translator and currently works as an interpreter in New York City. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in Global Governance. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has proficiency in Spanish.
On November 9, 2018, the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship Program selection panel chose 30 2019 Rangel Fellows. Their names, as well as information on the group and individuals, follow. The group reflects the program’s emphasis on excellence and diversity. The 2019 fellows attend or attended 30 different undergraduate institutions throughout the United States that reflect a full range of academic experiences. The 2019 Fellows come from 15 states plus the District of Columbia, including New York (4), Arizona (3), Georgia (3), Virginia (3), Alabama (2), DC (2), Kentucky (2), Texas (2), Pennsylvania (2), California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina and Washington State. Sixteen are women and fourteen are men. The 2019 fellows bring experience with 22 different foreign languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Dari, Urdu, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Portuguese, German, Twi, Tigrinya, Wolof, Swahili, and Czech. Many have family ties to other world regions, including Afghanistan, Tibet, China, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Canada. Four fellows are currently living overseas, in Colombia (2), China, and Korea. Eight of the fellows are graduating seniors; 22 have post-undergraduate work experience. Many have benefited from State Department student programs, including internship opportunities, Critical Language Scholarship, the Gilman Scholarship, and the Rangel Undergraduate International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program. They are beginning the process of applying to graduate programs and are looking at a broad range of programs in universities across the United States.
The 2019 fellows will begin the Rangel program in May 2019 with an orientation and congressional internships, followed by two years of graduate work and internships overseas at U.S. embassies. They will enter the Foreign Service in 2021. While each brings a wide array of talents and skills to the program, below are some highlights regarding the 30 fellows.
Andres Albarran graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of California at San Diego in 2014. In college, Andres conducted research on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in San Diego County and on a migrant-sending village in Mexico. He has worked as a paralegal focused on immigration. Currently, Andres serves as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Bogota and volunteers as a mentor to underprivileged students at the Colombo-Americano Bi-national Center. Andres speaks Spanish. He will attend Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.
Catherine Baker is a 2016 graduate of the University of Maryland, receiving her BS in Environmental Politics and Policy with a minor in French Literature. In college, Catherine was a leader in the university’s Language House Immersion Program after returning from Nice, France. She was also a recipient of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship to study Urdu in Lucknow, India. Catherine speaks French and Urdu. She currently works for the Dean of the Language School at the State Department Foreign Service Institute. Catherine will be pursuing a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Erika Banuelos is a 2018 graduate of Brown University where she majored in Science, Technology and Society. In college, Erika studied abroad in Uganda, India, and Brazil. Currently, Erika is serving as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Madrid; she has also worked as a research assistant in the areas of immunology and genetics. Erika speaks Spanish and plans to study international affairs with a focus on security and/or science and technology policy in graduate school. Erika will pursue a Master of International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Zerlina Bartholomew graduated from the University of Louisville in 2015 with a BA in French and Political Science and a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. In college, she studied in southern Spain and Morocco and interned with the United Nations Association. She returned to Morocco as a Fulbright research fellow and now manages cultural and language exchange programs for American high school students. She speaks French and Arabic and will pursue an MA in public policy with a focus on conflict management. She will pursue a
Master of Public Administration and Masters of International Relations degrees at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
Kyle Bligen, a native of Georgia, graduated from Mercer University in 2018 with a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. In college, Kyle was selected as a Mt. Vernon Leadership Fellow, going to Washington, D.C. to gain public policy skills and creating a capstone project focusing on youth advocacy. A Newman Civic Fellow, Kyle created a public-private partnership between Mercer and a local middle school. Kyle plans to pursue a master’s degree focusing on public policy and administration, in addition to international finance and economic policy.He will attend George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs.
Constanza Castro Zuniga, born in Santiago, Chile and raised in the Raytown, Missouri, will graduate from the University of Kansas in May 2019. In college, Constanza worked with the Council for Opportunity in Education and served as President of the University of Kansas Multicultural Student Government. She was a TRIO Scholar and participated in the Public Policy and International Affairs Program at Princeton. Constanza has travelled through Latin America and studied abroad in Spain. She speaks Spanish and her plan is to pursue a master’s in Public Policy. She will pursue her Master of Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Gabriel Cortez, raised in California and Arizona, graduated summa cum laude from Northern Arizona University in 2016 with a BA in Public Administration. Gabriel has worked with the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Department of State at its General Consulate in Milan and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has lived abroad in Japan, Italy and Ukraine. He hopes to study international relations with a focus on security studies, particularly in regions like Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Gabriel will attend University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in the fall.
Monica Edwards, from Pompano Beach, Florida, is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg with a BA in Political Science and minors in Criminology and Legal Studies. She completed internships with The Washington Center and the Community Law Program of Pinellas County. Monica has taught English for three years in Korea where she currently works as Head English Instructor. She has traveled to China, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Monica speaks Korean. Monica will study Public Administration at American University, School of Public Affairs.
Tod Etheredge, II graduated from Morehouse College in 2016 with a BA in International Studies and a minor in Mandarin Chinese. He was a 2015 Charles B. Rangel Scholar, a 2015 Oprah Winfrey South African Leadership Program Fellow, and a Humanity in Action Fellow in Copenhagen. He worked for Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Campus Outreach Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He participated in the American India Foundation (AIF) William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India and has traveled abroad extensively. y. He will pursue a Master of International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, after completing a Fulbright grant in Taiwan starting in late summer 2019.
Mojib Ghaznawi is a 2018 graduate of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs where he majored in Conflict Resolution and Cultural Anthropology with a minor in music. In college, he interned at the American Federation of Musicians, AIESEC, the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities, and the Embassy of Afghanistan. He has travelled throughout Europe, North Africa, South and Central Asia. Mojib speaks Russian and Arabic and plans on pursuing his graduate studies in Washington, D.C. Mojib will attend Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Jessica Gumucio, born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in North Carolina, graduated from Davidson College in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Russian Studies. She was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant for two years, working in Voronezh, Russia and then Cahul, Moldova. She speaks Russian. Jessica plans to attend graduate school on the East Coast for international affairs with a regional focus on Europe and Eurasia. Jessica will pursue a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Philmon Haile, born in a Sudanese refugee camp to Eritrean parents, is a Fulbright Research Fellowship alumnus and a 2014 graduate of the University of Washington International Studies program. In college, he completed an internship at U.S. Embassy Beijing. As a young professional, he served four years in the Middle East working with different humanitarian assistance and development organizations, most recently with USAID’s mission to Jordan. Philmon plans to complete his MA in public policy, concentrating in East Africa, the Middle East and East Asia. He speaks Chinese, Arabic, and Tigrinya. He will attend Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs.
Paula Allecia Jones, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a senior at the University of Oklahoma studying International Area Studies and Spanish. She is a student leader, active in various community service organizations. In college, she interned at U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo in the Regional Security Office and plans to intern with a Brazilian Women Empowerment NGO. For graduate school, she plans to attend a D.C. program studying Civil Security and Economics. She is a Spanish speaker. Paula will pursue her studies at Georgetown University.
Elizabeth Le, from Long Beach, California, is a senior at Howard University studying Political Science and History. She has served as a congressional intern for Senator Kamala Harris in her California and DC office and at the House Committee on Education and the Workplace. As an intern Elizabeth worked on immigration, unaccompanied minors, and Latin American migration. She speaks Vietnamese, Spanish and some Arabic. Elizabeth will attend George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs.
Chenoa Lee, from the U.S. Virgin Islands, graduated from American University in 2015 with a BA in International Studies and Environmental Studies. In college, she was a Rangel Scholar, studied abroad in Denmark through the Gilman Scholarship, and was selected as a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at Princeton. She completed two internships at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and acted as a dialogue facilitator at her university’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion. She currently works for USAID. She speaks German and Spanish. Chenoa will attend Georgetown University for her graduate program and will obtain a Master’s in Foreign Service.
Keva Luke graduated magna cum laude from Siena College in May 2014. Her experiences include serving as a North American Language and Cultural Assistant in Spain, as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Argentina, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia. In college, she has traveled and studied in the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Keva plans to attend graduate school in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area focusing on international relations. She will attend Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Abdualrahman Muhialdin, a first generation Arab-American born in Colorado, is a 2016 graduate from Texas State University. He has participated in internships at the White House, U.S. Embassy in Bahrain, Texas Legislature, and Austin Municipal Court. He has traveled to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and is an Arabic Speaker. He currently works for United Way in Austin, Texas. He will pursue a Master’s in Security Studies at Georgetown University.
Ruben Murray is a senior at Pomona College where he studies International Relations and Economics with a concentration in African Development and Security Issues. He was a research assistant for the African Politics Lab and the Minerva Research Initiative, a project commissioned by the Defense Department to understand African countries’ response to international intervention. He was a Boren Scholar in Senegal and studied Wolof intensively at the University of Florida African Flagship Language Initiative. Ruben speaks French, Spanish, and Wolof and is currently learning Swahili. He will attend Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Sabrina Newton, who grew up in Barbados, is a December 2018 graduate of Howard University where she majored in Political Science. In college, she held internships at the Institute of Caribbean Studies, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the United States House of Representatives and the Ministry of Justice in Accra, Ghana. Sabrina was selected as a 2018 United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Delegate to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. She will pursue a Master of Arts in International Economics and Conflict Management and Negotiation from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies.
Carolynn Nixon graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Business from Georgia Southern University. She is a native of Bainbridge, Georgia. She has a professional background in private, not-for-profit work and currently works for the Chamber of Commerce in Thomasville, Georgia. She studied abroad in London and traveled throughout Europe. Carolynn plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration.She will attend George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration to pursue a Master of Public Administration.
Paris Patterson-Garner graduated from the University of La Verne in 2018 with a degree in Political Science. He has been involved in local political affairs by interning in the offices of Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, then-Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden, and Congresswoman Karen Bass, respectively. He studied abroad in Barcelona at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where he also wrote for lamono, a Spanish cultural magazine. Paris is also a recent graduate of the Coro Southern California’s Fellows Program in Public Affairs, where he now serves as a Board Member. In graduate school, he hopes to merge his local interests in issues like public transportation and smart growth with his interests in diplomacy.
Deven Richardson, from Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a 2019 graduate of Western Kentucky University’s Mahurin Honors College. While in college, he has been a Gilman Scholar, Critical Language Scholarship recipient, and a Rangel Scholar. He studied abroad in Osaka, Japan and speaks Japanese. A student leader active on campus, Deven has also served as a mentor for exchange students. Deven will attend Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service after doing a one year Fulbright program in Japan beginning in late summer 2019.
Jose Salomon, originally from Arizona, was born to Mexican parents. He has spent significant stretches of time abroad, first in Mexico and most recently in China. He is a 2010 graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Global Security and Intelligence Studies. Jose is currently a Consular Fellow serving a second tour in Shanghai, China. Before serving as a Consular Fellow, Jose worked in the financial sector as a fraud investigator and anti-money laundering analyst. . He will attend Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Sydney Scarlata, raised on the south side of Chicago, graduated in 2016 from Reed College where she majored in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. In college, she studied abroad in Lille, France and wrote her senior thesis on the Iran nuclear deal. Sydney has interned with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board, with an NGO in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, and as a research assistant for Reed’s Political Science department. Currently, Sydney is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in southern Morocco where she has led several projects to promote women’s empowerment, leadership, and education. Sydney will attend the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Jeffrey Simmons, born in Tallahassee, FL, was raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He will complete his undergraduate studies at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, where he majors in Political Science with an International Relations minor, in spring 2019. During college, he studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, participated in the Rangel Scholar Program, and served as a Congressional Black Caucus Emerging Leader and as a Palestinian American Youth Civic Engagement Fellow. He will pursue a Master’s of Arts in Intercultural and International Communication at American University’s School of International Service.
Aminata Sy, originally from Senegal, is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying International Relations with an English minor. A journalist since 2013, she has written for many publications including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Tribune, the Daily Pennsylvanian, the University City Review, and the Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations. Aminata won a Perry World House inaugural student fellowship and researched women’s political participation in democratic countries around the world, focusing on Senegal as a case study. She will attend American University’s School of Public Affairs.
Tenzin Thargay, a first-generation Tibetan-American from Boston, is a 2018 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has interned with the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom as an Annenberg Fellow and with the United States Trade Representative’s Office of China Affairs. He has also studied in Taiwan as a Boren Scholar and conducted research on the intersections of energy, anthropology, and security as a Fulbright Scholar in South Korea. Tenzin will attend Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Bianca Uribe is a native New Yorker of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent. In May 2018, she graduated from Georgetown University where she studied Anthropology and Portuguese. Throughout her time at Georgetown she conducted research on the health and healing of Afro-Latin populations in various countries like Brazil, Peru and the U.S with the help of a Kalorama Fellowship and a Scott MacPherson Stapleton Award. Bianca will begin her graduate studies in
International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University.
Monica Vega Herrera graduated from the University of Georgia in 2018 with degrees in International Affairs and Economics with a public policy emphasis. Monica has interned in the Office of Bilateral Trade Affairs at the State Department and in the Economic Section of U.S. Embassy London as part of the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program. She studied abroad in Panama, exploring U.S.-Panama economic relations. She will attend School of International and Public
Affairs at Columbia University.
Tiffany Venmahavong majored in international business at Bryant University and worked for Dell Technologies and Honeywell Corporation. In 2017, she served as a Fulbright Teacher at the American Center in Vientiane, Laos where she hosted events and taught English, social innovation, and career development to young professionals. She plans on combining her experiences in the private and public sectors to further American interests as an economics officer working on trade, e-governance, and East Asia relations. Tiffany will attend School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
Michael Wisner, born and raised in Polk, Pennsylvania, is a senior at Princeton University majoring in Politics with a focus on International Relations of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. In college, he interned at U.S. Embassy Dar Es Salaam and with Ashinaga, an education NGO operating in Uganda and Senegal. He studied abroad in Argentina and Greece and worked on a Peru-based Engineers Without Borders project and taught English as a Second Language in Trenton and Buenos Aires for three years. He will pursue a Master’s of Arts in Global Affairs at Yale University.
Victor Yau emigrated from Ottawa, Canada and grew up in Dallas, Texas. He is studying Human Resource Management and Finance at the University of Houston and will graduate in May 2019. While in college, he served as an ambassador of American youth culture in Asia as a 2015 Critical Language Scholar and 2016 David L. Boren Scholar. He participated in the Rangel Summer Program in 2018. Victor has studied Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Spanish. He will
complete his Master at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs and aspires to become a Public Diplomacy Officer.
On November 17, the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship Program selection panel chose 30 2018 Rangel Fellows. Their names, as well as information on the group and individuals, follow. The current group includes individuals from 18 states including Florida (5), California (4), New York (3), Illinois (2), Massachusetts (2), New Jersey (3), Arizona, DC, Idaho, Indiana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia. The 2018 Fellows reflect the program’s goal of promoting excellence and diversity in the State Department Foreign Service. Three fellows are currently living overseas, including in Laos, China, and Albania. Their languages include Arabic, Spanish, French, Korean, Russian, Hindi, Portuguese, Mandarin, Lao, German, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Cantonese, and Serbian. Many have internship and post-undergraduate work experience including the Fulbright Program, teaching, the State Department and other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and business. Many have benefited from State Department student programs, including internship opportunities, Critical Language Scholarship, the Gilman Scholarship, and the Boren Scholarship. Two are graduates of the Rangel undergraduate International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program. They are beginning the process of applying to graduate programs and are looking at a broad range of programs in universities.
The 2018 fellows will begin the Rangel program in May 2018 with an orientation and congressional internship, followed by two years of graduate work and internships overseas at U.S. embassies. They will enter the Foreign Service in 2020. While each brings a wide array of talents and skills to the program, below are some highlights regarding the 30 fellows.
Erik Angamarca graduated magna cum laude in 2014 from Fordham University with a major in international political economy and a minor in Chinese language and literature. In college, Erik interned with Congressman Charles Rangel and the Department of State. He participated in the 2012 Rangel Summer Program, service projects in Kentucky and Ecuador, and studied in China. He taught English for two years in South Korea and one year in Taiwan as a Fulbright grantee. Erik speaks Spanish, Italian, and Chinese and will pursue a master’s at Georgetown University.
Marta Aparicio graduated from Georgetown University in 2014 with bachelor’s degree and a double major in sociology and government and minor in Spanish. As an undergraduate, Marta interned with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, the Brookings Institution, and Congressman Cicilline, and she studied abroad for six months in Spain. After graduating, she taught English at Miami Dade College and worked at the Providence Housing Authority. Marta speaks Spanish and Italian and will attend Columbia University for her master’s program.
Carlo Aragón, a native of New Mexico, received his bachelor’s in 2015 from the University of New Mexico in political science and foreign languages. He studied abroad in Oman, Chile, and Peru and interned at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina. He studied Arabic with the NSLI-Y, CLS, and Boren scholarships. After graduating, Carlo worked in education abroad and Arabic language education in Oman. Carlo speaks fluent Arabic and Spanish and will attend the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Sarah Brokenborough completed her bachelor’s degree in comparative women’s studies at Spelman College in 2016. She has participated, and/or facilitated, educational and cultural exchanges in Peru, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Spain, and China. Sarah has served as a Crops Member with the AmeriCorps Jumpstart Program, as well as an after-school tutor. She has also taught English in Laos as a Fulbright grantee. Sarah speaks Portuguese, Lao, and French, and will pursue a master’s degree in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University.
Tikkara Cooper graduated from Syracuse University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and advertising. She has lived and worked in Turkey, and has traveled to Jordan, Greece, and the Dominican Republic. Tikkara speaks Arabic and Spanish, and will attend Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
Paula Crawford graduated from Arizona State University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and business. She received a Boren Scholarship to study in Kosovo where she researched Albanian women’s inheritance rights in 2012. Following graduation, Paula served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Macedonia. She currently works at Arizona State University as a coordinator for the Caesar E. Chavez Leadership Institute. Paula speaks Albanian and Spanish, and plans to study an area of public policy which focuses on minority and gender equality at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Toni Cross will graduate from Middlebury College in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in international and global studies focused on Russia and Eastern Europe with a minor in Arabic. She traveled with school groups to Costa Rica and Peru, and received a NSLY-I scholarship in 2012 to spend six weeks living with a Russian host family. She studied abroad in Russia and Morocco, and speaks Russian, Arabic, and Spanish. She will pursue a master’s degree at Georgetown University.
Kala Deterville will graduate from Georgetown University in 2018 with a double major in Japanese and government. In 2012, Kala was awarded Youth for Understanding’s Japan America Friendship Scholarship to live with a family in Osaka, Japan. She had the opportunity to intern for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and the Executive Office of the President at the White House. Kala was awarded both a David L. Boren Scholarship and a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship for her junior year abroad at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. She speaks Spanish and Japanese.
Cody Etlin will graduate from George Washington University in 2018 with a double major in geography and international affairs with concentrations in Latin America and international economics, and a minor in Geographic Information Systems. He has worked at the Organization of American States, Una Chapman Cox Foundation, and the Institute for International Economic Policy, and he has conducted research on campus. Cody lived in Uruguay between ages 10 and 17, and served as an English teacher in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 18. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
John Foster graduated from Duquesne University with a bachelor’s in history and international relations. Since graduation, John has served as the Program Support Specialist for the Foreign Service Institute’s Ambassadorial Seminar. Currently, John is a Regional Coordinator for the Foreign Consequence Management Program in ISN’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism. John speaks Spanish and Italian, and will pursue his graduate studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Lily Fryer will graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s in international development and geography/environmental studies. She has interned on Capitol Hill at the Congressional Management Foundation, the NASA Ames Research Center, the National Park Service at Lassen National Park, the California Public Interest Research Group, and at the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles. She has studied abroad in Italy, Spain, and Nicaragua. She speaks Spanish and plans to study international affairs for her graduate degree.
Sofia Gomez, from Hanover, New Hampshire, will graduate from Georgetown University in 2018 with her bachelor’s degree in international relations with a certificate in Arab Studies. As an undergraduate, Sofia studied abroad in France and taught English in China. She has interned at the State Department in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, the Office of the Mayor of Saint Omer in Saint Omer, France, and the Office of Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster. Sofia speaks French, Arabic, and Spanish.
Chanel Grice graduated from George Mason University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree and a double major in economics and global affairs. She was awarded the Boren Scholarship to study in Japan her junior year. As an undergraduate, Chanel interned at the US Department of the Treasury and served as an English teaching assistant in Japan; she currently serves as a research assistant at Economic Systems, Inc. She speaks Japanese and plans to pursue a graduate degree in international affairs.
Jasmine Haddaway will graduate from the University of Florida in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a regional focus in Africa and minor in women’s studies. Jasmine interned at the White House and in the office of US Senator Bill Nelson, and has worked with Projects for Haiti Global. She has also worked to mobilize volunteers with the American Red Cross, and conduct research with the Tanzania Development Trust and the Ebola 100 Project. Jasmine speaks Spanish, French, and Hindi, and plans to pursue a master degree in public policy.
Ashalyn Hardy graduated from Butler University in 2016 with her bachelor’s in international studies and minored in economics. She has five years of experience in the non-profit and government services industry. She has studied abroad in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Thailand. Since graduating, Ashalyn has worked with World Learning and currently resides in Washington DC. Ashalyn speaks Spanish and Thai.
Ashley Inman, graduated from the University of Florida in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies and minors in international relations and Arabic. She currently works for the Department of State’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism, and previously worked with the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs and Office of Iraq Affairs. Ashley was a Youth Representative to the United Nations Environmental Programme, interned for Senator Bill Nelson, and studied abroad in Morocco and Sri Lanka. She is proficient in Arabic and Spanish.
Caroline Kim is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she studied Political Science, American Studies, and Creative Writing. She has served as a fellow for the Philadelphia City Council, an intern for the U.S. Congress, and as a field organizer in the 2016 general election. She will embark on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Indonesia prior to the start of her graduate program in international affairs. She speaks Korean and Spanish.
Christopher Kooy will graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2018 with a bachelor’s in political science and Spanish. He is from Dixon, Illinois, and has traveled to Peru, Israel, the West Bank, and much of Central and Western Europe. Christopher was a 2017 PPIA Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He hopes to attend a graduate school of international affairs on the East Coast and specialize in US- Latin America relations. Christopher speaks Spanish and Arabic.
Amy Lau will graduate from American University in 2018 with a bachelor’s in international relations and economics. With a regional focus on the Korean Peninsula, she studied abroad in Seoul after being awarded the Boren Scholarship. She has interned with the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the Hudson Institute, the Peace Corps, the East-West Center, and, currently, at the U.S. Trade Representatives. Amy was born in Hong Kong and was raised in Boise, Idaho, and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin.
Maria Naranjo graduated from Florida State University in 2014 with a dual degree in international affairs and political science, with concentrations in human rights, French, and social work. After graduating, she moved to Thailand where she taught English for a year and spent the second year living and teaching in a refugee camp. Upon returning to the U.S., she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA fellow establishing a new PeaceJam chapter in Miami. Maria was born in Medellin, Colombia and raised in Clearwater, Florida; she speaks Spanish and French.
Chaniqua Nelson graduated from Howard University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science. She currently serves as office management specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. She is originally from Durham, North Carolina, and has worked at the Department of State for seven years in the Administration Bureau. Chaniqua speaks Mandarin and plans to study intercultural and international communication at American University.
Ljubica Nikolic will graduate in 2018 from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in international affairs, political science, and social sciences. She is currently studying in Albania as a Boren Scholar. She has worked on sustainable projects in Ghana and Peru. As an undergraduate, Ljubica interned at the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives. She is a 2017 Public Policy in International Affairs Fellow. Ljubica speaks Serbian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Croatian, and Spanish and hopes to pursue a degree in International Conflict Resolution at American University.
Brittany Orange will graduate in 2018 from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in Spanish. Prior to her undergraduate studies, Brittany completed two AmeriCorps service years, one of which was with the New American Integration Program. She has also interned with the Boston City Council, and studied abroad in Cuba. Brittany speaks Spanish and intends to obtain a master’s in international relations, with a concentration in Latin America.
Nigel Robinson, a native of Boston, graduated from Bucknell University in 2014 with support from The Posse Foundation and received a bachelor’s degree in international relations. Throughout his time at Bucknell, Nigel conducted research and service activities throughout Latin America. Nigel has interned with the Breakthrough Collaborative and Uncommon Schools, and currently works with the Steppingstone Foundation. He completed a certificate program at Tufts University Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. Nigel is fluent in Spanish.
Krystin Rodriguez graduates from the University of North Texas in December 2017 with a dual bachelor’s degree in international studies and French. During her studies, she received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in France. Krystin interned with Congressman Michael C. Burgess and the Foreign Service Institute at the Department of State (SPAS/OR). She plans on interning with the Department of State at U.S. Embassy Morocco in Spring 2018 and pursuing a master’s in international affairs. Krystin speaks French and Spanish; she hopes to learn Turkish.
D’Juan Sampson graduated from Florida State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international affairs, with a concentration in public administration. As an undergraduate, D’Juan interned at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and later with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in the U.S. House of Representatives. He currently serves as a staff assistant in the office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. D’Juan, who speaks Spanish, participated in two exchange programs to Japan and South Korea, and studied abroad in London.
Lydia Senatus, from Brooklyn, NY, will graduate from Stony Brook University in 2018 with a bachelor’s in economics and a double minor in international studies and business management. She was a JFEW SUNY International Relations and Global Affairs Scholar, a Gilman Scholar, and has received awards for her contributions to her campus community. Lydia interned at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, studied abroad in China, and traveled extensively in East Asia, Western Europe, and the Caribbean. Lydia speaks French, and hopes to study at Georgetown University.
Ammiel Williams will graduate from the Xavier University of Louisiana in 2018 with a bachelor’s in political science and philosophy minor. He interned with AIPAC, The Borgen Project, and Environment California. He has also volunteered on congressional and mayoral campaigns, Habitat for Humanity, and Youth Rebuilding New Orleans. Ammiel has traveled to China, Israel, the U.K., and various parts of Western Europe. Ammiel speaks Spanish and German and hopes to attend graduate school on the East Coast.
Alvin Young graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 2014 with a bachelor’s in history and international studies. While at Marymount, Alvin studied in Morocco as a Boren Scholar and was a 2013 Charles B. Rangel Scholar. Alvin has interned with Congressman Charles Rangel and the United Nations. After graduating, Alvin has served in various national and international organizations including, Uber, the Yale Young African Scholars Program at Yale University, the Building Movement Project, and the Impact Network. He speaks French and has intermediate proficiency in Arabic.
On November 18, the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship Program selection panel chose 30 2017 Rangel Fellows. The 2017 Rangel Fellows reflect the excellence and diversity that have characterized the program since its creation. The current group includes individuals from 15 states, including Maryland (6), Virginia (4), California (2), DC (2), Florida (2), Georgia (2), Texas (2), Massachusetts (2), New Jersey (2), Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Sixteen are women; fourteen are men.
The 2017 fellows attended 25 different undergraduate institutions throughout the United States that reflect a full range of academic experiences. Work experience includes the Peace Corps, Fulbright Program, teaching, the State Department and other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and business. Their languages include Arabic, Spanish, French, Korean, Russian, Ngmbaye, Hindi, Mandarin, Cantonese, German, Afaan Oromo, Bahasa, Turkish, Amharic, and Dari. They are beinning the process of applying to graduate programs looking at a broad range of international or public policy-related programs in universities around the United States.
The 2017 fellows will begin the Rangel program in May 2017 with an orientation and congressional internship, followed by two years of graduate work and internships overseas at U.S. embassies. They will enter the Foreign Service in 2019. While each brings a wide array of talents and skills to the program, below are some highlights regarding the 30 fellows.
Eunice Ajayi, originally from Maryland, graduated in 2016 from Rutgers University with a BA in English and a double minor in Political Science and Korean. In college, Eunice travelled to Spain, France, and the Dominican Republic and studied at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul. Eunice served as a Global Ambassador at Rutgers and has interned with Georgetown University Law Center, the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), and World Learning.
Aaron Bhatt graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017 with a bachelor’s in politics and economics and a minor in Arabic. He studied abroad in Thailand and Morocco. As an undergraduate, he interned with the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Aaron was born in India and raised in New Jersey. He speaks Arabic, Gujarati, and Thai.
Rami Blair, a native of Maine by way of Washington, DC, is a 2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. A graduate of Morehouse College, he studied French and English with an emphasis on Caribbean literatures and cultures. Rami has interned at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and spent a semester at the University of Nottingham (UK) as an ESU Luard Morse Scholar. He is fluent in French and a recipient of the 2015 Beinecke Scholarship.
Miguel Boluda, originally from Bowie, Maryland, graduated from Stanford University in 2014 with a BA in international relations. With an interest in human rights in Russia and Central Asia, he studied abroad in Moscow and later interned at U.S. Embassy Moscow. Since graduating, he has worked at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and for Senator Barbara Boxer. Miguel’s languages include Spanish and Russian.
Eduardo Castillo, a native of Laredo, Texas, graduated from Texas A&M International University in 2014 with a BA in English and a psychology minor. In college he interned through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities as a Spanish language liaison and travelled to over 10 countries. After graduating, Eduardo worked as an English language instructor and youth development specialist in China. He speaks Spanish and Mandarin.
Veronica Chiu, originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, received her BA in international studies and East-Asian studies in 2011 from Johns Hopkins University. She has worked at the Council on Foreign Relations for the past four years and serves as associate director of CFR’s Independent Task Force Program, which convenes high-level working groups to offer guidance to U.S. policymakers on critical foreign policy issues. Veronica’s languages include Mandarin, Cantonese, and some Spanish.
Anthony Cyprian Christian, originally from Harlem, will graduate in 2017 from George Washington University with a double major in Economics and Arabic Studies. He studied abroad in the United Arab Emirates and interned with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service in Dubai. He studied Arabic with Boren, Gilman, and Critical Language Scholarships. He then interned in the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau with the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program.
Saumya Deva, from Los Angeles, graduated in 2013 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in International Studies and Latin American studies and a certificate in gender and women’s studies. She interned in the State Department’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and served in the Peace Corps in Togo for two years. She has extended for a third year to serve as a gender adviser in Togo. She speaks fluent French, Spanish, and basic Hindi.
Jacob Dietrich, from La Grange, Kentucky, graduated from the University of North Georgia in 2015 with a BA in Arabic language and literature. He studied abroad in Fez, Morocco and Muscat, Oman. Jacob is currently completing a Fulbright Research Fellowship working with the Supreme Council for Planning in the Omani government. Jacob was an active student leader as an undergraduate and is proficient in Arabic.
Surayya Diggs, from Harlem, New York, will graduate from Cornell University in 2017 with a BS in international agriculture and rural development and a minor in applied economics. Surayya completed community development-oriented internships in China and Cameroon and studied abroad in Geneva, where she researched the 2015 Greek Debt Crisis. She participated in the Public Policy International Affairs (PPIA) Summer Institute at Princeton and speaks French.
Tanya Donangmaye, originally from Falls Church, Virginia, graduated in 2015 from George Mason University, earning her BA in global affairs with a concentration in international development. She has served in the Office of the African Union Mission to the UN, the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs, and for Congresswoman Barbara Lee. She is currently doing a Fulbright Teaching grant in Korea. She speaks French, Ngmbaye, and Korean.
Tailor Dortona graduated in 2016 from American University with a BA in justice, law, and criminology. Tailor currently works for the State Department’s Special Advisor for International Disability Rights. Previously, she studied in China, interned at the Chengdu Disabled Person Federation, conducted research on Chinese disability employment policy, and worked for the U.S. Navy. She is proficient in Spanish, Mandarin, and American Sign Language.
Sydney Freeman, originally from West Orange, New Jersey, will graduate from the University Richmond in 2017 with a BA in political science and healthcare. Sydney has interned for State Senator Richard Codey, Congressman Donald Payne Jr., and First Lady Michelle Obama. Sydney’s languages include Spanish and Turkish.
Katie Garay will graduate from George Mason University in 2017 with a BA in government and international politics. She has previously served as an intern for the Virtual Student Foreign Service and the Political Section of U.S. Embassy Panama City. She was a PPIA Fellow at the University of Michigan. Katie is an active student leader, including serving as the president of the Hispanic Student Association and president of the Mason Ambassadors.
Manuela Hernandez, born in Medellin, Colombia and raised in Florida, graduated in 2016 from the University of Florida with a BA in economics and international studies with a concentration on Europe. She interned in the Florida legislature and the U.S. Consulate in Dusseldorf, Germany. Manuela has studied abroad in Paris, Magdeburg, and Medellin. She lives in Munich and works for a nonprofit organization. Manuela speaks Spanish, English, German, and French.
Matthew Hinson, originally from Princeton, New Jersey, will graduate from Georgetown University in 2017 with a BS in international history concentrating in religion and violence in the modern Middle East, and a minor in philosophy. He has interned with the Clinton Foundation, Cultural Heritage Imaging and the Library of Congress. He studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco and at the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights in the United Kingdom. Matthew is proficient in French.
Tony Hudson, Jr., originally from Atlanta, Georgia, will graduate in 2017 from Georgia Southern University with a BA in international studies with a focus in security, conflict, and diplomacy and a minor in Arabic. Tony serves on the Student Advisory Board for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and as vice president of the Model Arab League on campus. Tony studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco. His languages include Arabic and Spanish.
Terrell Hunt graduated from Northeastern University in 2013 with a BA in business administration and a minor in international affairs. Terrell studied abroad in France and Japan, and interned at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Western European Affairs and the Consulate General of the United States in Edinburgh, Scotland. He worked at Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. before assuming his current position at Converse Inc.
Gregory Joy, from a military family, has grown up all over the United States. He will graduate in 2017 from the University of Georgia with a BA in international affairs and political science. He has interned as a legislative aide in the Georgia State Capitol and studied abroad in London, England. He was an active student leader on campus and has participated in several domestic service activities. Gregory is a 2016 Rangel Scholar and speaks Spanish.
Aseebulla Niazi, hailing from New Hampshire, graduated in 2015 from the University of New Hampshire with a BS in international business and economics and international affairs. He studied abroad in the United Arab Emirates and works as a Congressional staffer for Congresswoman Ann Kuster. He has worked at the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success and the World Affairs Council. Aseeb is from Afghanistan and speaks Dari and Arabic.
Nicole Roberts, originally from Milford, Massachusetts, graduated from American University in 2016 with a BA in justice, law, and society with a minor in Mandarin. She interned at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs. Nicole currently works at FSI. She studied abroad in China and France and was a student ambassador for the 100,000 Strong Foundation. Nicole speaks French, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.
Kalif Robinson, originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, will graduate from the Georgia State University with a BA in economics with a minor in the Arabic language. He is a cultural competency ambassador, volunteers at the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, and has studied abroad in Jordan. Kalif is a 2016 Rangel Scholar and a 2015 Gilman Scholar. He has experience working professionally in his university’s advisement center. Kalif has proficiency in Arabic.
Sheldon Ruby, from Clearville, Pennsylvania, and will graduate in 2017 from Franklin and Marshall College with a BA in government and history. Sheldon was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to study in Indonesia and has studied in the United Kingdom, China, and India. Sheldon co-founded The First-Generation Diplomats, Franklin and Marshall’s first-generation student support group. He speaks Bahasa and Spanish.
Zinna Senbetta, originally from Wheaton, Illinois, will graduate from Princeton University with a BA in sociology with a minor in French language and culture. Zinna studied abroad at the Sorbonne University in Paris and has interned at an international law NGO in Paris and the Young African Leaders Initiative Network Program under the Bureau of International Information Programs in Washington, D.C. Zinna speaks French and Spanish.
Deandre Smith, from Washington, D.C. and Maryland, received his BA in political science from Howard University in 2015. He studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, and served as the secretary-general of the Howard University Society for Future Diplomats. Deandre is a 2014 Rangel Scholar and participated in Middlebury College’s Russian summer immersion program. He is currently teaching English in the American Center in Kiev, Ukraine and speaks Russian.
Camille Swinson, a Washington, D.C. native, will graduate in 2017 from Spelman College, with a BA in international studies and Spanish. Camille has interned at the State Department, DC Rape Crisis Center, and the Innocents at Risk. She studied in Peru and Spain, and as a member of her college’s Model United Nations team has participated in the 2016 Harvard World Model United Nations Conference in Rome, Italy. Camille speaks Spanish and French.
Hawi Tilahune, from Addis Abba, Ethiopia, graduated from Macalester College in 2016 with a BA international studies and political science with a concentration in African studies. Hawi has worked with the Red Cross, interned with the African Diaspora Policy Centre and Catholic Charities, and studied abroad in The Hague. Hawi was a PPIA Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, and received a Mellon Mays Research Fellowship. She speaks Amharic, Afaan Oromo, and basic French.
Sulaiman Toghral, originally from Afghanistan, graduated from George Mason University with a BA in government and international affairs. He interned multiple times at the State Department in Washington, D.C., and virtually, and at the Consulate in South Africa. He currently works in the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy in Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Sulaiman studied abroad in Jordan and speaks Dari and Arabic.
Chelsea Wilson, hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, received her BA in 2013 from Juniata College where she majored in sociology and minored in history. Chelsea studied abroad in Chennai, India, and taught for a year in Spain. She has worked at the Chinese Institute of International Education at Goucher College, at American University, and for Youth for Understanding. Chelsea’s languages include Spanish and Mandarin.
Sarahann Yeh, hailing from Maryland, graduated in 2016 from the University of Maryland College Park with a BS in biological sciences and a minor in international development and conflict management. As a participant in the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program, she interned in the Office of International Health and Biodefense at the State Department and in the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi. She studied in China and Indonesia, and is currently a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Indonesia. She speaks Bahasa, Mandarin, and Spa
On February 17, the 2016 Rangel Fellowship selection panel chose 60 finalists to participate in an interview and writing exercise that will determine selection of 30 2016 Rangel Fellows. Their names, as well as information on the group and individuals, follow. The selection panel, chaired by Ambassador Ruth A. Davis, was extremely impressed by the new fellows’ performance in a highly rigorous selection process.
The finalists come from 50 different universities around the country. The finalists listed 19 home states, plus the District of Columbia. Texas supplied the largest numbers of applicants (10), followed by Virginia (7), Florida ((7), New York (6), Ohio (4), Maryland (4), California (3), Georgia (3), DC (3), Michigan (2), New Jersey (2), Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, University of Texas, and Washington. Twelve finalists are currently living overseas and returning for the interviews, including from Burkina Faso, Korea, Morocco, Taiwan, Panama, Iraq, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their languages include Arabic, Spanish, French, Twi, Wolof, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, German, Darija, Punjabi, Tamil, Twi, Somali, Italian, Guarani, Armenian and Bulgarian. Many have internship and post-undergraduate work experience, including service in Department of State internships and positions, the Peace Corps, congressional offices, state legislatures, the Fulbright program, AmeriCorps, international and domestic NGOs, Princeton in Latin America, community organizations, teaching English overseas, law firms, and industry associations. They also participated in programs to prepare them for international service such as the Rangel Summer Program, diverse internships, the Model UN, the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program, and the Institute for International Public Policy.
The 2016 fellows will begin the Rangel program in May 2016 with an orientation and congressional internship, followed by two years of graduate work and internships overseas at U.S. embassies. They will enter the Foreign Service in 2018. While each brings a wide array of talents and skills to the program, below are some highlights of the 30 fellows.
Ranissa Adityavarman, from Syracuse, NY, graduated in 2016 from Colgate University with a BA in international studies with a concentration in cultural studies. Ranissa has studied in France and South Africa. She has volunteered teaching English in Indonesia and interned at the Care International in Geneva, Switzerland. She plans to study public policy in graduate school at Cornell University beginning the fall of 2016.
Julie Ahn, born in Los Angeles, CA, was raised in Istanbul, Turkey and graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a dual degree in international relations and Middle East studies. She interned at the US Embassy in Manama, Bahrain and recently returned from working in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. She will pursue a Master in Public Policy at Harvard University Kennedy School. Julie speaks
Natalia Arenas, a resident of South Carolina, graduated from Furman University where she studied political science and Chinese studies. During her time at Furman, she participated in a study away program to Washington D.C. and later interned for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Atlantic Council. After graduation, she was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant to teach in Taiwan. Natalia intends to focus on U.S. security policy, and speaks Spanish and Mandarin.
Tyra Beaman, from Richmond, VA, graduated from Spelman College where she studied international studies with a concentration in cultural studies. Tyra served in leadership roles in the Student Government Association, the Spelman and Morehouse Rotaract Club, and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, and Black Beyond Borders. She studied abroad in Argentina, South Africa, Haiti, and Uruguay and interned for Congressman John Lewis and Representative Rahn Mayo. Tyra speaks Spanish, and plans to study at Georgetown University
Carlsky Belizaire, a New Yorker with Haitian roots, graduated summa cum laude from the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Queens College where he was a political science major and Hertog Scholar. While at CUNY, Carlsky served as a Dialogue Fellow. Carlsky interned for U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks and the Department of State’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs. He is a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant living in Taiwan and will attend Georgetown’s Master in Foreign Service Program.
Christian Burstall, an Austin native, studied political science and Mandarin at Brigham Young University-Idaho. He studied abroad in Beijing as a Boren Scholar, and after graduating served in the Inaugural Cohort of Boren Ambassadors. He has interned in at the Shenyang Consulate and taught courses in American culture at Shaanxi University of Technology. Christian plans to attend Johns Hopkins SAIS where he will split his time between Washington and the Hopkins Nanjing Center.
Yanique Campbell graduated with a BA in international studies and Spanish translation certification from American University. She is a Fulbright Scholar alumna who served in Spain and former Princeton Social Protection Fellow at the UN World Food Programme in Panamá. She has worked at the Embassy of New Zealand Economics Section, the Organization of American States, and the Central American Resource Center. Yanique, who speaks Spanish and Portuguese, was active in the international affairs community at American University and will focus her graduate studies at Georgetown.
Alexis Coleman, from Garland, TX, received her BA in international affairs from George Washington University, concentrating in conflict resolution and minoring in communication. Alexis has interned for the Department of Justice, the National Peace Corps Association, Walker Dunlop, the International Law Institute, Organizing for America and the Department of State. She studied abroad in Spain and speaks Spanish. She currently works at the Department of State in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.
Meredith Davis was born in Mexico City and grew up between Mexico and Venezuela before moving to Cincinnati, OH. After graduating with from Yale, she moved to Beijing as a Richard U. Light Fellow. Meredith was the Operations Coordinator at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, the Beijing center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Meredith speaks Spanish and Mandarin fluently. She plans to pursue a Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Joyce Dudley is from Hyattsville, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) with a Bachelors of Arts in Russian Language and Literature. While at UMCP, Ms. Dudley held an internship for the Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. During senior year of college, Joyce interned with Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards on Capitol Hill. Her plans for graduate school include a masters in intercultural and international communication with a concentration in public diplomacy from American University. Joyce is fluent in French and Russian.
Christopher Franklin, born in Washington DC, studied Chinese and international development and conflict management at the University of Maryland. He has interned at the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of State, and has travelled to various parts of China, including Beijing, Tianjin, Sichuan, Hebel, and Shandong. He speaks Chinese and Arabic and plans to do his graduate studies at Columbia University.
Nathan Gwira, a New Jersey native, graduated from Rutgers University where he studied international and African studies. He has been involved with the Young African Leaders Initiative and Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative, and currently works in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on private sector exchanges at the State Department. Nathan interned in the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, speaks Mandarin and Spanish, and plans to attend American University.
Victoria Hill, from Provo, UT, studied political science at Wake Forest University with a minor in Middle East & South Asia studies. She spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Austria and returned to her alma mater to work in international admissions, focusing on recruitment in Latin America and India. After completing her congressional internship, she will do her graduate work at American University. Victoria’s languages include German, French, and Arabic.
Sahil Jain, from Sacramento, CA, graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in international relations and South Asian studies. He studied abroad in the United Kingdom and India. He has worked for the U.S. Department of State in the Office of Israel/Palestinian affairs and USAID’sGlobal Development Lab. He currently works at the Department of State in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Sahil’s languages include Hindi, Punjabi, and Tamil, and plans to attend George Washington University.
Simone Kendall, from Detroit, MI, graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor of social work and later joined the Peace Corps. Serving two years in Morocco as a youth development volunteer solidified her passion and commitment to a career in the Foreign Service. Simone speaks Darija and Arabic and plans to pursue a Master of Science in Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Hayley King, originally from San Francisco, CA, graduated summa cum laude from in 2016 Howard University. As an undergraduate, Hayley interned for Congressman G.K. Butterfield from North Carolina, the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence, and the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Hayley will pursue a Master’s in International Relations and Public Diplomacy from Syracuse University. Her languages include Arabic and Spanish.
Justine King, a native New Yorker, graduated in 2015 from the University of Rochester where she majored in international relations. While at Rochester, she conducted research with the Political Science Department, studied abroad in Belgium, and interned at the European Parliament. She was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Multicultural Greek Council, and the Xclusive Step Team, among other activities. Justine later served in a congressional office on Capitol Hill and plans attend American University School.
Jasmine Lopez, originally from Los Angeles, CA, graduated from New York University where she majored in history and politics with a focus on the modern political development of Latin America. She has worked at the Consulate General of Canada, the North American Congress on Latin America, the Correspondence Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio, various law firms across the country, and the Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. Jasmine speaks Spanish and Portuguese and plans to study at John Hopkins University.
Plamen Mavrov emigrated from Bulgaria and grew up in Woodstock, GA. He graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University where he majored in international affairs and political science and minored in economics. He was involved with the campus Model UN team, studied abroad in Peru as a Gilman Scholar, and led KSU’s undergraduate international affairs journal. Plamen is a 2014 Rangel Scholar and has taught English in Korea. Plamen speaks Bulgarian, Spanish, and Korean and will study at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Mark Mock, a proud Detroit native, graduated with honors from Wayne State University with a degree in journalism. Mark studied abroad in South Africa, Turkey, and Mexico. He taught English in Mexico City and wrote for the largest English-language publication in Mexico, The News. Mark taught English in Indonesia as a Fulbright Fellow and later worked for the Fulbright Commission in Indonesia. He speaks Spanish and Bahasa and plans to study at Columbia University.
Clarece Polke, from Archer, FL, graduated from Florida A&M University with a degree in journalism. She previously worked for Thomson Reuters and the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh. She served as Editor-in-Chief of her student newspaper, The Famuan, and studied abroad in southern China. Some of her reporting highlights include covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. She speaks Mandarin and plans to study at American University.
Christina Powell graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park where she studied government and politics with minors in international development, conflict management and Spanish. She was a Global Public Health Scholar and was involved on campus in the National Council of Negro Women and W.E.B. Du Bois National Honor Society. Christina has studied and worked abroad, and interned at the State Department. She speaks Spanish and plans to study at Georgetown University.
Nadia Ramirez was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved to the U.S. when she was 10. She studied international relations at Rollins College where she minored in Economics and Asian Studies. She taught English in South Korea as a Fulbright Fellow and was active in the local community. She studied abroad as a Gilman Scholar in China, and speaks Spanish, French, and Mandarin. Nadia plans to study at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Juan Reyes, raised in El Paso, TX, graduated from the University of Texas El Paso where he studied French, English-Spanish translation, and bilingual education. He studied abroad in France, and later served as an AmeriCorps volunteer. He has interned at the Department of State’s African Affairs Bureau, and is now an English Language Fellow in Burkina Faso. Juan speaks Spanish, French, and Korean, and plans to pursue a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced and International Studies.
Johanna Sanchez was born in Dominican Republic and moved to the Bronx, New York at the age of 9. She graduated from Hamilton College with a degree in world politics. Johanna served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay before returning to the U.S. to work as a recruiter for the Peace Corps. She has worked in the Dominican Republic on issues related to the Millennium Development Goals. She studied abroad in the Dominican Republic and Argentina, and is fluent in Spanish. Johanna plans to attend Columbia University’s SIPA program to pursue a Master’s of Development.
John Steele, from Cleveland, OH, graduated from Miami University with a double major in political science and sociology. As Division I football player, he received All-Conference academic honors in three consecutive years. John has worked for Congressman Charles Rangel, the Congressional Research Service, Congressman John Lewis, and the office of Ohio State Senator Tom Sawyer. He currently works at Match Public Charter High School in Boston. John plans to study at the George Washington University Elliott School.
Kiersten Strachan is a 2016 graduate of the University of Oklahoma with three degrees in Chinese, international security, and history. She was an intern in the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program and worked in the Office of Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asia and the Pacific. Kiersten was active on campus in the Great American Condom Campaign and the policy debate team. She is a graduate of Beijing Normal University and speaks Chinese.
Sade Tuckett is a 2016 graduate of Spelman College, where she majored in psychology. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Sade studied abroad in East Legon, Ghana and interned with the Council on Foreign Relations. She served as the President of the Muslim Student Association and co-charterer the first HBCU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Sade speaks French and plans to attend American University to pursue an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution
Rebekah Vermillion, from Columbus, OH, graduated from Claremont McKenna College where she majored in international relations with a focus on Latin America. Rebekah mentors first-year Latina students. She has interned at the State Department’s Office of Cuban Affairs and in the Economic Section at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, after studying abroad there. She has lived and volunteered in Cuzco, Peru. Rebekah speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and German and plans to study at the Georgetown University.
Gabrielle Young, from California, graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in African and Middle Eastern studies. Gabrielle was internal president of The Olive Tree Initiative at UCLA and studied abroad in Jordan as a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellow. Gabrielle served in Chicago as a part of Teach for America, and accepted a Fulbright Award to teach in Jordan. She speaks Arabic and Spanish and plans to attend the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Hamda Yusuf graduated from the University of Washington with a major in international studies and minors in German and African Studies. She has interned with Senator Maria Cantwell’s office and has travelled to Austria, Hungary, Wales, and Japan. As a first-generation college student, Hamda credits her parents for motivating her to be a positive force in the world. She plans to study at the New School’s Milano School of International. Her languages include Somali and German.
Daniella Zelaya, from Woodbridge, VA, graduated from Virginia Tech where she majored in international studies and economics with a focus in human rights and international development. She traveled to Morocco, Turkey, and Sri Lanka through its 21st Century Studies Program. She has interned at the State Department’s Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka. Daniella speaks Spanish and plans to study at George Washington University.
On March 12, the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship Program selection panel chose 30 2015 Rangel Fellows. Their names, as well as information on the group and individuals, follow. The selection panel, chaired by Ambassador Ruth A. Davis, was extremely impressed by the new fellows’ performance in a highly rigorous selection process.
The 2015 Rangel Fellows reflect the excellence and diversity that have characterized the program since its creation. The group includes individuals from 16 states, including Florida, Virginia, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, Iowa, Washington, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Georgia. The 2015 fellows attended 29 different undergraduate institutions throughout the United States that reflect a full range of academic experiences, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Ivy League schools, large state universities, and smaller private schools. The fellows also represent significant racial and ethnic diversity. Many have family ties to other world regions. Their languages include Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Dutch, Tagalog, Portuguese, German, Swahili, Zulu, Swahili, Italian, Turkish, Hebrew, and Darija. Six of the fellows are graduating seniors; 24 have post-undergraduate work experience. Work experience includes the Peace Corps, Fulbright Program, the State Department and other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, teaching, international organizations, and business. While they are still making final graduate program selections, they are looking at a broad range of international or public policy-related programs in universities around the United States.
The 2015 fellows will begin the Rangel program in May 2015 with an orientation and congressional internship, followed by two years of graduate work and internships overseas at U.S. embassies. They will enter the Foreign Service in 2017. While each brings a wide array of talents and skills to the program, below are some highlights regarding the 30 fellows.
Lisa-Felicia Akorli is a 2012 graduate of Harvard University. She is half Dutch and half Ghanaian and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. After college, she spent one year conducting international law research at an NGO in The Hague and the following year did development work at an inner-city youth development nonprofit in New York. She is passionate about resolving violent conflict, particularly through multi-stakeholder collaboration and women’s empowerment. She plans to do her graduate studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she will focus on building skills in negotiation, mediation, international diplomacy and public-private partnerships. Her languages include Dutch, French and Spanish.
Ashley Arostegui hails from Florida and is currently Associate Director of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement at the University of Miami. She holds BA degrees in English and History from Florida International University. She studied abroad in Prague and completed an MA in Media Studies at The New School in New York City. She has worked on a wide variety of issues including affordable housing, arts and culture, sustainability, food security, and community development. She served in AmeriCorps VISTA, working with Miami’s diverse communities. She plans to focus on international conflict and conflict resolution in her graduate studies and intends to become a Political Officer in the Foreign Service.
William Baskerville was born and raised in Las Vegas. He attended the University of Southern California, where he double majored in International Relations and East Asian Languages and Cultures. During his time at USC, he developed a passion for social justice and human rights. This interest has propelled him to many countries including Japan, Denmark, Mexico, and China where he has explored diversity issues in an international setting. He is currently teaching in China. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy to develop the skills needed to serve the public good. He desires to set a positive example for those in his own community as well as those around the world. His languages include Mandarin Chinese and Tagalog.
Shawn Bush graduated from Howard University with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature and holds a certificate in International Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS. Born into a military family, he claims Washington State, New York City, and Virginia Beach as his homes. He currently works in the Office of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, where he serves with the defense team handling foreign policy and military issues. Before working on Capitol Hill, he taught English with the DC Public Schools and the Chilean Ministry of Education. He plans to obtain a master’s degree in international security studies from Columbia University SIPA.
Juny Canenguez, a 2014 graduate of George Mason University, is an aspiring Management Officer who has worked in the State Department’s Office of Recruitment and in U.S. Embassy Paris. She lived in El Salvador as a child. She is committed to promoting development and meeting economic needs for the less fortunate in developing countries. She believes strong management is critical to achieving the State Department’s mission and will pursue a Master’s in Business Administration. Her languages include Spanish and French.
Cassie Gianni was born and raised in Houston; she will graduate from the University of Houston with a major in Economics and minors in Political Philosophy and Spanish in May 2015. She hopes to advance her knowledge and skills in economics by pursuing her Master’s degree in International Affairs and Development. During college, she studied abroad in China, as well as volunteered overseas in Colombia and Peru. She was a 2012 Rangel Undergraduate Scholar. Her community service has focused on education and economic empowerment, working predominately with young students and adult aspiring entrepreneurs. In the Foreign Service, Cassie hopes to serve as an economic officer, working toward reducing widespread poverty, promoting security, and advancing freedom. Her languages include Mandarin and Spanish.
Joshua Gonzalez is a 2013 graduate of The Ohio State University where he studied Spanish Linguistics and International Relations with a focus on U.S.-Latin American Relations. He completed research projects related to the history of Latinos in Ohio and Spanish phonetics. Joshua studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador and lived in Spain as an English teaching assistant for a year. He participated in the 2013 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program. He plans to obtain a Master’s degree in International Security from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He speaks Spanish.
Nicholas Grandchamps hails from Casselberry, Florida. He received his BA from the University of Central Florida, where he double majored in Legal Studies and Political Science – International Relations, and minored in Global Peace and Security Studies. As a student, he worked as a Student Government Association Senator for the College of Sciences, an International Visitor Leadership Program Fellow for the World Affairs Council of Central Florida, and as a Human Trafficking Awareness Fellow for the UCF Global Perspectives Office. He has written an Honors Thesis on methods to combat human trafficking in sub-Saharan Africa, and volunteered and studied in Egypt, France, Greece, Haiti, and Jamaica. He hopes to complete his graduate studies at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs or American University’s School of International Service.
Larry Harris, Jr. is a Chicago native and a senior studying Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He studied abroad in Austria in college and has taken classes in both German and Swahili. Larry has worked for the State Department on two occasions. He just completed an internship at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, where he served in the Public Affairs section. He also did a virtual internship with the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, focusing on U.S.-Kenya relations. He was a 2014 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Scholar and an Opportunity Leader with Opportunity Nation. Larry will pursue a Masters of Public Administration.
Tessa Henry, who hails from Philadelphia, is a 2010 graduate of Tufts University where she studied International Relations and African Studies. She was an active student leader, studied abroad in Spain, did research in Ghana, and traveled extensively in South America. She participated in the 2010 Rangel Summer Program. She currently serves as the Program Officer for the Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship Program, leading this new effort to promote excellence and diversity in USAID. An aspiring management officer, she will pursue graduate studies in Public Policy or International Affairs.
Deje Holmes graduated in 2014 from Washington University in St. Louis, where she double majored in History and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her interest in minority rights stems from her inner-city Chicago background, and has led her to study the intersections of race, gender, and class among refugee populations in Istanbul, Turkey and Rome, Italy. Deje currently serves as a Workforce Solutions AmeriCorps in St. Louis, where she serves the employment needs of newly arrived refugees and immigrants. As a graduate student, she hopes to study International Affairs and Global Gender Issues at George Washington University. Her languages include Italian and Russian.
Maurice Jackson is a graduating Accounting student with a minor in Global Security at Florida A&M University. Growing up in inner-city Miami, he attributes his passion for public service to the community development programs he participated in as a child. In college, he translated his passion for helping others into the creation of several service organizations. His interest in the Foreign Service was sparked by research on poverty-stricken communities in Minas Gerais, Brazil, followed by research trips to South Africa and Lesotho. A first-generation college student, he continues to give back to his community in Miami. Maurice will do his graduate work at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His languages studies including Spanish, Portuguese and Zulu.
Nia Jackson was born in Queens, New York and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of South Florida in May 2014. She has served as an intern in various state and local government agencies and worked for non-profits and think tanks. She recently worked in the office of Senator Jeff Merkley. Receiving the Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco was the experience that cemented her desire to become a Foreign Service Officer. She plans on attending American University for graduate studies.
Samantha Jackson hails from Brooklyn, New York and has Afro-Brazilian and Jamaican parentage. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she majored in International Affairs and Conflict Resolution, with a concentration in African Studies. During college, she served as the President and International Outreach Chairwoman of the Caribbean Students Association at Columbia University, founded an international service initiative that focuses on education in the West Indies, and studied abroad in Ethiopia and Ghana, Asia, Latin America, The Caribbean, and Europe. She received a Master’s in Urban Education Policy at Brown University and has worked at the United Nations and in education policy. She will pursue a Master’s in International Affairs and is elated to serve her country as Public Diplomacy Officer in the U.S. State Department.
Khoury Johnson hails from Philadelphia, where he attended Temple University as a Political Science major. While there, he interned at the State Department in Washington, DC, where he worked on promoting outreach as a Public Affairs Intern. He has also worked at the World Affairs Council, and for the Think Tanks and the Civil Society Program at the University of Pennsylvania. His languages are Chinese and French. Khoury plans to do his graduate studies at Georgetown University’s Asian Studies program.
Natazia Johnson was born in Richmond, Virginia, and is a graduating senior at Spelman College where she majors in International Studies. During her time there, she studied abroad in Spain and has traveled to North Africa, Europe and Asia. She became an intern at the State Department’s Office of Chinese Affairs, under the sponsorship of the Association of Black American Ambassadors and the Thursday Lunch Group, and currently works with resettled refugees in Clarkston, Georgia. Natazia plans on attending American University and hopes to become a Public Diplomacy Officer.
Jeffrey Joseph is a graduating senior from Chicago, Illinois majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. During his college years, he took advantage of a wide range of work opportunities with NGOs, business and governmental organizations, which helped develop his interest in international affairs. He has worked with an NGO in India on disability issues, for the United Kingdom’s Parliament in the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington DC. He will be pursuing a Master’s in International Relations and hopes to become a Political Officer in the Department of State.
Aja Kennedy is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who recently completed two years of service in the Darien Province of Panama. During her service, Aja worked as a TEFL teacher trainer and served as President of Peace Corps Panama’s Gender and Development Board. Aja is a native of Charlotte, NC and is a proud Tar Heel, graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012 with a B.A. in Spanish and Global Studies and a minor in Chinese. During her undergraduate career, Aja studied in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Spain and China. She is looking forward to becoming an Economic-coned FSO, working in the Far East and other locations, once she completes her graduate studies.
Joy King is a recent graduate of the University of Florida, with degrees in Political Science and Journalism and a certificate in International Affairs. She learned about the Foreign Service from a Diplomat in Residence. Encouraged to learn more about the career, she accepted an internship in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in the Office of Policy and Global Issues in spring 2014. She continued in this office after graduation, supporting the office’s ten regional issues with a specific focus on congressional affairs. She enjoys learning about different cultures and has a specific interest in anti-corruption efforts and countering violent extremism. She plans to pursue a Master’s in International Affairs and become a Public Diplomacy Officer.
Raquel King hails from Port Saint Lucie, Florida and did her undergraduate studies at Spelman College in Atlanta. She has worked as a language intern at the Latin American Association, a Spanish interpreter for an immigration attorney, and an intern for Congressman Charles B. Rangel in New York City. During college, she studied abroad in Brazil, France, Ecuador and Peru. She plans to pursue a M.S. in Foreign Service with a concentration in International Development at Georgetown University.
Chad Maddox was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and earned his bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University. He worked for over three years as an intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense, specializing in counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation efforts. Chad has spent the last year as a Senior Consultant on a team making IBM’s Jeopardy-winning supercomputer, WATSON, answer questions related to international affairs. He plans to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School.
Maria Mate-Kodjo is from Pella, Iowa. She received a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Michigan in astronomy and astrophysics with a physics minor. She studied abroad for a semester at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. She served in the Public Allies Iowa AmeriCorps program as a Refugee Community Coordinator at the Ethnic Minorities of Burma Resource and Advocacy Center in Marshalltown, Iowa. Maria is interested in languages and has studied French, Italian, German, and Spanish and hopes to work on learning Arabic and Japanese. She plans on attending George Washington University, concentrating her studies on Conflict and Conflict Resolution.
Anne Mwendar hails from Seattle, Washington where she graduated from the University of Washington in June 2014 with a BA of Interdisciplinary Honors in International Studies. She was an inaugural member of the U.S. State Department’s U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program, where she worked for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in summer 2014. She also served as a fellow at the United Nations Information Center in Washington DC. In college, she studied international relations and law at Sciences Po Paris and volunteered extensively in Kenya. In Seattle, she worked with the World Affairs Council, East African Community Service and the University of Washington Athletics Department. She is fluent in French and Kiswahili. She is passionate about foreign policy, poverty, and youth development. She will pursue a Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia University SIPA.
Chuma Nnawulezi was raised in Omaha, Nebraska and completed his undergraduate degree at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. During college, he was a member of the Philosophy, Politics, and Public Honors Program. In his third year, he participated in the International Honors Program’s Cities in the 21st Century International Exchange. He studied urban development in Ahmedabad, India; Dakar, Senegal; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Chuma hopes to obtain his graduate degree in public administration. During his career, he hopes to have substantial involvement in the West Africa region but looks forward to contributing wherever he is needed.
April Reino is a proud Minnesotan and alumna of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. She majored in Political Science and German Studies. After graduating in 2012, she spent a year teaching English in Incheon, South Korea before going to Vienna, Austria as a Fulbright Combined-Grantee. With the Fulbright Program, she taught English at an Austrian high school and studied international public law and political science at the University of Vienna. She spent her second year in Vienna teaching and interning with the U.S. Commercial Service and the International Press Institute. She plans to pursue a Master of Public Policy degree at Duke University. Her foreign languages include German, Korean, and Italian.
Eric Salgado is from East Haven, Connecticut. He graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut with bachelor degrees in Spanish and Latin American Studies and a minor in Educational Studies. Eric has studied and conducted research and service projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Eric plans to pursue his graduate degree at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign service at Georgetown University where he will study Latin American Studies with a focus on conflict resolution and human rights.
Katrina Springer is a native of Syracuse, New York who will graduate from Lincoln University of Pennsylvania in May 2015. She is a first generation American of Barbadian and Panamanian heritage. International travel has always been an important part of her life, and she has visited 25 countries. She participated in Semester at Sea, attended the 2014 U.S.-China Student Summit, did Arabic study at the Middlebury Language School, and did an internship at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. She plans to pursue graduate studies in Public Diplomacy at Syracuse University and become a Public Diplomacy Officer. She is particularly interested in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Cameron Torreon is a Maryland native born in Baltimore and raised in Annapolis. He completed his Bachelors of Art in Government and Politics with a minor in Spanish Language and Culture at the University of Maryland College Park in 2012. As a junior, Cameron studied abroad in Madrid, Spain where he volunteered as an English teacher in local middle schools. Since graduation, Cameron has worked as a management analyst at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). His portfolio at DHS included supporting the Secretary’s Cyberskills Management Support Initiative, coordinating headquarters congressional correspondence, and implementing strategic acquisition planning and analysis policies. In addition to his time in Spain, Cameron has also traveled throughout Central and South America most recently in El Salvador and Colombia. Cameron aspires to gain a better understanding of global communication and hopes to showcase the best of American values and diversity as a Public Diplomacy Officer. Cameron will pursue a Master’s degree in International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Joshua Trinidad is originally from Cayey, Puerto Rico but moved to the U.S. as a child. He lived in various locations but now calls New York home. He studied French, Spanish, Japanese and translation/interpretation with the City University of New York Baccalaureate Program. During college, Joshua studied and taught in a high school in Paris. The following summer he participated in a Critical Language Scholarship program in Japan, followed by a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Colombia. He plans to pursue International Policy Studies at the graduate level with a concentration in conflict resolution and Japanese studies.
Pablo Tutillo has had a passion for international relations since his childhood. He moved to the United States from Ecuador when he was eleven. Growing up in New London, Connecticut in a Puerto Rican working-class family, he witnessed economic and social inequalities and became involved in community service during high school. He majored in International Relations and minored in Arabic Studies at Connecticut College. He founded a mentorship program to encourage local children to learn about foreign languages and global education. He participated in the Institute for International Public Policy (IIPP) program and became interested in the Foreign Service. He studied Intensive Arabic and did research on the international politics of the Middle East in Alexandria, Egypt; worked as social entrepreneurship intern in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro; conducted research on Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem; and has been studying Turkish on a scholarship from the Government of Turkey. He plans to pursue a Master’s in International Public Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey.