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When Paula Crawford is asked about her life plan, she has a great answer for how she will be spending the next seven years.
Crawford, who graduated from Arizona State University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in business communication and political science with honors from Barrett Honors College, has won the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program Fellowship.
The fellowship is geared toward attracting and preparing outstanding and diverse young people for careers in the United States Foreign Service.
The fellowship offers up to $37,500 annually for a two-year period for tuition, room, board, books and fees for completion of two-year master’s degree. In addition, Rangel Fellows receive two summer internships; one that entails working on international issues for members of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D. C, and the other in an overseas U.S embassy or consulate.
Fellows who complete their master’s degrees and internships are expected to work for the Foreign Service for at least five years.
Having successfully gotten through a rigorous application process and intense panel interviews, “it’s surreal, it’s exciting, and I’m a bit nervous to think that the next seven years of my life is set” Crawford said about winning the fellowship.
Crawford, who is from Kearney, Ariz., has applied to graduate programs at several universities, including Georgetown and Columbia.
What prompted her to apply for the fellowship?
Her undergraduate academic credentials are impressive. As a Boren Scholar, Crawford studied abroad at the American University (now the Rochester Institute of Technology) in Kosovo. She was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Macedonia. She received a scholarship to study Albanian at ASU's Critical Languages Institute. She was involved in the university’s Leadership Scholarship and Medallion Scholarship programs. She has worked as a coordinator at the ASU César E. Chávez Leadership Institute. This experience combined with her interest in foreign affairs made her an outstanding candidate.
But her belief in the U.S. as a world leader and her identity as a diverse American was what really prompted her to apply for the fellowship.
“I believe in how America tries to give assistance throughout the world and I also think it’s important to diversify the Foreign Service,” she said.
“Something that pushed me toward this program is that when I have traveled abroad, people thought that someone who wasn’t white wasn’t American. I think we need a better representation of what America is,” said Crawford, who is of Mexican, Japanese, and African-American descent.
Crawford received assistance with her Rangel Fellowship application from the Office of National Scholarship Advisement, housed at the Barrett Honors College Tempe campus. ONSA assists all ASU students with applying for nationally- and internationally-competed scholarships and fellowships.