PHILADELPHIA- University of Pennsylvania rising senior Autumn Patterson has won a 2012 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. The Harrisburg, Pa., resident is among 20 undergraduates and 20 students entering master’s-degree programs selected to receive the award which was established to provide financial assistance to individuals preparing academically and professionally to enter the United States diplomatic corps.
The Fellowship is awarded for “dedication, initiative, integrity, cultural adaptability, communication skills and thorough intellectual background that it takes to become a U.S. Foreign Service officer.”
Patterson is currently interning with the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey. A political science major, she said that she intends to utilize the Pickering Fellowship to pursue a graduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies, while continuing her acquisition of Turkish and Azerbaijani languages. She aspires to enter the Foreign Service as a Public Diplomacy Officer.
"Autumn was a great candidate for the Pickering Fellowship because of her clear desire to pursue a career in the foreign services," Aaron Olson, assistant communications director of Penn's Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, CURF says. "The Pickering is one of seveal field-specific, but slightly less well-known international opportunities that CURF can help Penn students and alumni find and apply for."
She has served as president of Penn Diplomats, is a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and represented the University at the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference, where she was selected winner of the best paper submission. She served as a research assistant on India at Penn and interned with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. She also received the Association of Alumnae Scholars Rosemary D. Mazzatenta Award to support her internship in Turkey.
Pickering undergraduate Fellows selected in their junior year receive financial support towards tuition and other expenses during the senior year and during the first year of graduate study. Pickering graduate foreign affairs Fellows receive financial support towards a two-year, full-time master's-degree program in fields such as public policy, international affairs, public administration or other academic fields such as business, economics, political science, sociology or foreign languages.
Fellows in both programs participate in one domestic and one overseas internship. They commit to three years of service as a Foreign Service officer for the State Department, contingent on passing the Foreign Service requirements.
The Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program is named in honor of Thomas R. Pickering who holds the rank of career ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service. He served as ambassador to Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, India and the Russian Federation, finishing his career in the Foreign Service as under secretary of state for political affairs.