The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
Selected Fellow Profiles
Elise grew up in a small town in Central Pennsylvania. She did not have the opportunity to travel abroad until after she graduated from high school when she was able to spend one year as a Rotary International exchange student in France. During her year abroad, the Parisian suburbs were ablaze with riots and New Orleans was under water. It was in that tumultuous year that she realized the importance of living abroad not merely as an ex-patriot, but as an American citizen engaging with and listening to the rest of the world.
The Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship opened the door of opportunity for her to continue the international dialogue she sought in an official capacity with the U.S. Department of State. While she is still completing the academic requirements of the program and has not as yet entered the Foreign Service, Elise is amazed at the opportunities the fellowship has already made possible for her. She has done a summer internship at the State Department working in the Office of Pakistan Affairs.
She will also be starting a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Although she feels that the decision to commit to the Pickering Fellowship is a big step to take as an undergraduate, Elise firmly believes that it has provided her unparalleled preparation for an international career in public service.
Over the course of her Pickering Fellowship, Allison has been able to see just how seamlessly her diverse interests in global public health, environmental studies, and international relations intersect with her future career objectives in the international policy arena. Graduating with degrees in Geography and Environmental Studies from George Washington University, she is currently a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow at Yale University. As a Fellow, her graduate studies at Yale directly will directly prepare her for the 'A-100' training at the Foreign Service Institute and a subsequent career as a successful Foreign Service Officer.
During the tenure of her fellowship, she has been fortunate enough to intern with both the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science in Washington, DC and with the U.S. Embassy in Majuro, a Republic of the Marshall Islands. With each of these fantastic internships, she has had the opportunity to integrate graduate school coursework with the professional skills that acquired during her domestic and overseas experiences.
At Yale, she is currently focusing her studies on global health policy with an emphasis on rural and environmental health issues. She found that her background in global health systems, epidemiology, and strategic thinking has given her a unique perspective on policy making at the Department of State. Furthermore, the knowledge that she will be commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer after she graduates has also allowed her to craft a course of graduate study that integrates both her academic and professional interests with the multifarious diplomatic needs of the United States.
Maria is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Raised in Anchorage, AK, her interests in foreign languages and global economic affairs have drawn her to the international policy field. The Foreign Service, in particular, presents a unique and challenging opportunity to represent American policy initiatives abroad. As a recipient of the Pickering Fellowship, Maria has just completed the junior summer institute at Princeton and is eager to continue her study of international affairs at the graduate level. In the future, she hopes to use her dual background in international business and public policy to cover key political and economic issues for the Foreign Service.
Garrett Harkins is a native of New York State who discovered his interest in global affairs at a young age. However, that interest was only turned into a real passion upon his arrival at American University in Washington, DC where he was able to see international affairs in practice. From his classes and extra-curricular activities—such as interning at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea—Garrett discovered that diplomacy was a career that would allow him to pursue his goal: to grow as an individual while acting as an agent of positive change. The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship has given him that chance, both by guaranteeing him a place in the Foreign Service and by providing for the education necessary to be an effective representative of the United States.
Both Kenise Hill’s passion and long-term career objective has been to become a liaison between the United States and international financial markets. She desires to achieve this by providing seamless solutions to transnational and multi-national corporations and their customers. After working in the management consulting and technology spaces for past 10 years, her immediate career objective is to enter the Foreign Service as an Economic Officer to help protect the interests of the United States in China as well as in Latin America. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has assisted Kenise in the realization of that dream by providing her with the funding necessary to secure an education and by making available the experiences that will hone the analytical and problem solving skills she needs.
In preparation for a career in the Foreign Service within the Economic cone, Kenise is currently completing her Masters degree in Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is specializing in the international commerce and business concentration while simultaneously sharpening her Spanish language. When Kenise was at Clark Atlanta University as an undergraduate, she majored in business administration with dual concentrations in finance and international business. She also studied Mandarin Chinese for two years while an undergraduate, received intensive Chinese language training at Middlebury College and later studied abroad in Beijing, China.
Heather Yang Hwalek is a 2008 Undergraduate Pickering Fellow. A recent graduate from Columbia University where she studied Anthropology, Heather will be pursuing an Master’s Degree in International Relations at Yale University. Originally from Bangor, Maine, Heather became interested in international affairs in high school and spent a gap year before college teaching English in a rural area of China. During college she studied abroad in Ankara, Turkey, and completed a research fellowship on hospitality practices. She has completed internships at the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Sudan Desk, and the Office of Central Asian Affairs. Heather is fluent in three languages, Chinese, French, and Turkish. Participating in the Pickering Fellowship provided Heather the opportunity to learn about a career in the Foreign Service. The more she learned about the Foreign Service the more excited she became about the dynamic lifestyle the Foreign Service offers. The professional training, mentoring, and career development seminars she was able to participate in as a Pickering Fellow have provided her with invaluable information about the different career paths available within the Foreign Service, and have helped to prepare her to become a successful officer. The internships organized by the Pickering Fellowship have given Heather an opportunity for substantial and rewarding work experiences that she has drawn upon during her graduate studies.
A San Francisco native, Christopher Johnson is an International Relations and Latin American Studies major at New York University. At NYU, Chris is both a Presidential Honors Scholar and a Steffi Berne Scholar. He is currently (2010) a policy and finance intern for congressional candidate Reshma Saujani in NYC. Spending last fall abroad in Buenos Aires as a Gilman Scholar, Chris expanded his knowledge of porteño culture and the Argentine economy. His political interests include U.S. foreign policy, specifically immigration and international development. He is also an advocate for African-American, Latino, and LGBT rights. Chris is an active member of NYU’s Newman Catholic Fellowship, a club dedicated to Catholic awareness and community service in the greater New York City area. Chris is fluent in Spanish and French and currently studies Portuguese.
Erica grew up knowing that she wanted to help other people. She attributes her sense of duty to her father. His loyalty to the United States throughout his military career inspired her to take on her own path of civil service.
Erica began to seek the attainment of her goal by earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. During her undergraduate tenure, she took an interest in her international relations coursework and began searching for opportunities outside of the classroom environment. Through her research she found the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship.
She applied and was selected as a Fellow in the Undergraduate Pickering Fellowship (FAF 15). The Pickering Program has provided her with the training necessary to allow her to eventually become a Foreign Service Officer of high caliber. She is grateful for the two internship experiences, domestic and overseas, and for the mentors that the Program provides to assist its Fellows. She knows that her participation in the Pickering Program will help her in her future career in the Foreign Service.
Cameron attends Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. While maintaining Deans List status, he has served in many leadership capacities including SGA Chief of Staff and Sophomore Class Vice President. Cameron is also a member of Morehouse College's renowned Model UN team, a Bonner Community Service Scholar and a Resident Advisor in the W.E.B DuBois International House. Cameron is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Sigma Iota Rho International Studies Honor Society, Golden Key, and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He participated in the 2008 Public Policy Leadership Conference and serves as the Polemach (chapter president) of the Pi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
He thoroughly enjoys traveling, swimming, reading and volunteering in the Atlanta Public School system where he actively works to encourage and mentor disadvantaged youth. Cameron’s interest in the Foreign Service stemmed from his extensive travel experience. As a Pickering Fellow he will be enrolled in the Foreign Service as an Officer upon the completion of his academic requirements. Cameron has been to 21 countries, almost a third, of which he visited on Semester at Sea in the Spring of 2010, a program he was able to participate in because of the funding provided by the Pickering Program. He cites the Foreign Service as an opportunity to work and learn about the wonderful world around us.
Jasmine has sought a career that would allow her to link a love of public service with her background in international relations. The Foreign Service provided Jasmine uniquely constructed opportunity to do just that. She is able to represent the United States while building bridges with people and communities around the world.
The Pickering Fellowship has aided Jasmine in gaining the confidence necessary to enter into such an esteemed profession. She has been afforded so many wonderful opportunities. The summer internships, mentorship by Senior Foreign Service officials, as well as the tremendous amount of attention paid to her professional development, both in life and in the Department of State, is unrivaled. Jasmine is honored to have been chosen as a Fellow. Her cohort (GFAF 12) entered the Foreign Service in September 2010, fully prepared to take on the world—literally!
Originally from Eudora, Arkansas, Courtney has long been devoted to education, service, and cross-cultural interaction. While earning a degree in Education from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, he served in AmeriCorps and was a Bonner Scholar. These programs provided him with opportunities to serve locally and abroad. For example, he was able to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project in Durban, South Africa. International experience gained in college later led to entry into the Peace Corps, where he served as an English Teacher Trainer in Mozambique. Along with learning Portuguese, he helped educate Mozambicans about cultural diversity in the U.S. and developed a curriculum for teaching English in elementary school. His time in Mozambique also exposed him to the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, which offered Mozambicans opportunities to study in the U.S. and helped him to fund the development of a community center and an African-American History course. The embassy’s efforts to engage and empower the community attracted him to a career in the Foreign Service and led him to apply for the Pickering Graduate Fellowship.
Courtney is currently earning a Master’s degree in Public Policy at the University of Southern California. The Pickering Fellowship has not only financed his education, it has also exposed him to a wealth of information and opportunities. These include insight into life as a Foreign Service Officer, a strong network of individuals interested in international affairs, and a summer internship with the Office of Southern African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He is honored to be a Pickering Fellow.