Abiding interest in other cultures and a commitment to public service has guided 2020 U.S. Department of State Rangel Fellow Santiago Rios’ path.
Santiago was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 8 and grew up in different cities throughout Maryland. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park, receiving a B.A. in Government and Politics in 2019. During college, Santiago interned for legislative offices at the state and federal level. He also worked for CASA de Maryland and HOPE Worldwide to gain experience in the development world. The latter included leading sustainable service trips in Bolivia and Nepal with large volunteer groups of all ages.
He cemented his desire for the Foreign Service while interning in the Consular Affairs section in Madrid, Spain, “It’s special to begin a career of service to the United States and its people. I am thrilled for the opportunity to promote U.S. ideals and interests abroad.”Santiago applied for and received a 2020 Rangel Fellowship.
“Witnessing the important work that diplomats do for our country while I interned at the U.S. Embassy in Spain showed me that a career in the Foreign Service was not only one of adventure but also one of impact.”Through the Rangel Fellowship, Santiago is receiving funding to obtain a master’s degree in international affairs at the School of Global Policy Strategy at the University of California San Diego. He picked this program because “it provides specific attention to the Pacific region and introduces me to a part of the country that would have otherwise been completely unfamiliar to me.”
In 2021, Santiago will spend the summer completing his overseas internship at a U.S. embassy or consulate. He will complete his graduate degree in spring 2022 and will enter the Foreign Service that summer. He plans to become a Consular Officer in the Foreign Service, assisting Americans overseas, and facilitating travel and promoting security by adjudicating visas for those wanting to come to the United States. “I hope to provide meaningful service to both U.S. citizens and visa applicants throughout my career,” he says, “Regardless of where in the world I serve, I look forward to learning from other cultures and faithfully representing the United States.”