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Smith College Alumna Awarded Prestigious Pickering Fellowship

From: Dr. Margaret Lamb, Fellowships Adviser

January 10, 2019

In November, Maria Moscoso ’15 was awarded a 2019 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship following a highly competitive nationwide contest. The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

The Director of the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program, Lily Lopez-McGee Ph.D., stated, ”We are truly thrilled and excited that Maria will be joining the Pickering Fellowship Program. She demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership and commitment to service during her time at Smith College. These experiences bode well for her success through graduate school and in the Foreign Service as well. I look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in her career.”

The Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship will support Maria through a two-year graduate program to receive a master’s degree in an area relevant to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. It will also provide extensive professional development opportunities, including internships, mentors, and skills training. As part of the Pickering Program, Maria will have an internship based in Washington, D.C. working with the U.S. Department of State in summer 2020. In the summer of 2021, the U.S. Department of State will send her overseas to work and to gain hands-on experience with U.S. foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service. Upon graduation, Maria will become a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, embarking on one of the most challenging and rewarding careers of service to her country. She will work to promote peace and prosperity around the world.

Maria is currently a Program Specialist for Stabilization and Development, Communities in Transition Division, with the international development agency Creative Associates International. Passionate about creating solutions to issues of global concern, her recent experiences include fellowships with the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, the Atlantic Expedition in Berlin, Germany, and the KAKEHASHI Bridge Project in Tokyo, Japan. She is a recent Public Policy Fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where she worked with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the office of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Maria transferred to Smith College after attending the Honors College of Miami-Dade. She graduated from Smith Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a concentration in Global South Development Studies. While working in Washington, DC, she volunteered as an English teacher, where she worked with adult immigrants through the Washington English Center and acted as a mentor through the Latinas Leading Tomorrow program. Maria hopes to earn her Master’s in International Development with a focus on International Economics. She is passionate about learning new languages, is an avid runner, and hopes to complete a triathlon in the very near future.

The Pickering Fellowship was previously awarded in 2017 to Smith College alumna Marichuy Gomez ‘14 making Maria the second Smith College recipient. In addition, Symone Gosby ’15 was a finalist in the 2019 Pickering Fellowship competition. All three alumnae discuss what they have been doing since graduation, why the Pickering Fellowship was so attractive to them, and who at Smith College helped to prepare them to seek the opportunities they have chosen. Read their responses here.

Further information: The Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Fellowship and its sister program, the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship, are both funded by the US State Department and administered by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University. Both programs are open to US citizens and support individuals who wish to pursue Foreign Service careers. Candidates apply simultaneously to a two-year graduate program at a US university that will prepare them for their Foreign Service careers (law school is excluded). Each fellowship encourages women, those with financial need, and members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the State Department to apply. A third Bunche Center fellowship program, the Payne Fellowship, supports individuals who wish to enter Foreign Service in USAID.

Reported in “People News,” Grécourt Gate, December 19, 2018.

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