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Two Sophomores Earn State Department’s Pickering Fellowship

By Maralee Csellar

Joely Hildebrand and Garrett Harkins were selected for the U.S. Department of State's Thomas R. Pickering  Fellowship.

Joely Hildebrand and Garrett Harkins were selected for the U.S. Department of State's Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship.

Their dream to work for the Foreign Service is one step closer to reality for sophomores Joely Hildebrand and Garret Harkins. The American University students were two of 20 fellows nationwide selected for the U.S. Department of State’s Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship.  

Each year 40 finalists and 20 fellows are chosen from across the nation. In the past five years AU has had 12 finalists and six fellowship recipients—this year there were three finalists.

“We are thrilled for Joely and Garrett’s success in this prestigious competition, which reflects their hard work and accomplishments as well as AU's excellence in the field of international relations,” said Paula Warrick, director of AU’s Office of Merit Awards.

Hildebrand, who is majoring in international relations with a minor in economics, has a strong interest in language learning, as evidenced by her proficiency in French, German, and Russian, and in study abroad.  While in high school, the Sheffield Lake, Ohio, native self-financed a semester in France, and she will spend the fall 2009 semester in Russia.

“The knowledge that so many people with prestigious careers have recognized me as having the potential to become a valued addition to the Department of State is truly humbling,” said Hildebrand. “Their support for my education has inspired me to believe in myself above all else.”

Harkins, a resident of Saugerties, New York, is interested in the diplomatic area of the Foreign Service.  He is a double major in international relations and business administration and a Frederick Douglass scholar. An internship at the Korean Embassy exposed him to the field of diplomacy and prepared him to study at Korean University next year.  Harkins also holds a certificate in French translation.

Pickering fellows receive tuition, fees, and a stipend for their junior and senior years of college and first year of graduate study. In addition, the fellowship funds participation in a junior year summer institute, as well as one domestic and one overseas internship with the U.S. Department of State.