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Student Makes State Department Her Summer Destination

Published: April 09, 2010
In the same week Jenine Rossington ’11 found out she was accepted into UT’s Honors at Oxford program for the fall, she learned she was chosen as one of 15 students nationwide to participate in the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs summer enrichment program.

“It was the best week of my life,” said Rossington, of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

A collaborative effort between Howard University and the U.S. Department of State, the Rangel summer program seeks to attract outstanding young people who have an interest in pursuing a career in the Foreign Service.

Rossington is the first participant ever chosen from UT and will join students from Columbia University, the University of California Los Angeles, Fordham University and American University, among others.

“I’m completely excited,” said Rossington, a criminology major. She wants to study international criminal law and human rights when she graduates, though her dream job is representing the U.S. in the United Nations. “I’m interested in the whole foreign policy area. I think I’ll come away from this program having learned a lot.”

The program takes place in Washington, D.C., at Howard University and includes three academic courses in political economy, history of U.S. foreign relations and writing, for which nine semester hours of academic credit are awarded. Additional activities include exposure to key policymakers, foreign government officials and executive branch policymakers. Rangel Scholars will receive tuition, travel, room and board, as well as a stipend for the program.

Associate Professor James Beckman, whose international law class inspired Rossington to pursue a career in foreign affairs, said the experience will be rich for Rossington.

“Being exposed to international relations in our nation's capital will certainly give Jenine invaluable experience and bolster her credentials in the field of international law and international relations,” Beckman said.

The program is aimed at outstanding young people who have an interest in pursuing a career in international affairs, according to Hilarion Martinez, a senior Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State.

Based in Miami, Martinez serves as Diplomat in Residence at Miami Dade College and Florida International University and covers Puerto Rico, Orlando and Tampa, including UT. He serves as a mentor for students interested in pursuing a career in Foreign Service, helping expose them to opportunities such as the Rangel program.

“The summer program is designed to provide students with a deeper appreciation of current issues and trends in international affairs, enhance their knowledge and skills to pursue international affairs careers, and expose them to career opportunities in the international arena,” Martinez said.

Sheila Hood, associate director of UT’s Office of Career Services, met Martinez three years ago at a conference and invited him to come to UT. Since then, he comes to campus about three times a year as a guest speaker in political science and international affairs classes and hosts presentations on careers in the State Department.

“The opportunities to get students involved with the State Department are so valuable,” said Hood, who mentioned that some State Department fellowships allow students to test out of the rigorous foreign service exam. “Our students in general are more interested in international work. They think of themselves as global citizens. We just help foster what is already there within them.”

Martinez’ next visit to UT will be April 22. He’ll host an information session from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Riverside 102 to discuss scholarship, fellowship and internship opportunities available through the State Department for the 2010-2011 academic year. Additionally, he will conduct three small group sessions in the Office of Career Services on the life of a U.S. diplomat. Because space is limited, students must register in advance through HIRE UT .

For details, contact Career Services at (813) 253-6236.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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