WKU student awarded Rangel Fellowship for graduate degree and Foreign Service career
- Thursday, December 15th, 2022
WKU student Ralphy Gardner of Todd County was named a 2023 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellow. He is one of 45 fellows selected nationwide and only the third WKU student to earn this honor.
The Rangel Graduate Fellowship supports extraordinary individuals who want to help formulate, represent, and implement U.S. foreign policy through a career in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. Gardner will receive up to $84,000 for a two-year master’s degree, two paid internships in the U.S. Congress and a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, and opportunities for mentoring and professional development.
Through a master’s degree in international security, Gardner will focus on international threats, human trafficking, and terrorism. “I hope to use the skills and theories I’ve studied in psychology and criminology, along with my language skills, to help the US and other nations solve crimes and improve global security,” he said.
Gardner, a senior studying criminology, forensic psychology, and Arabic, discovered an interest in the Middle East and North Africa region while at WKU. In 2021, he earned a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study Standard Arabic and Darija in Morocco through WKU Global. While in Morocco, Gardner lived with a host family, and he credits this experience with broadening his perspective on diplomacy in the Arabic-speaking world. “It’s important to have first-hand experience in another culture to understand complicated issues from other people’s perspective, and my study abroad in Morocco gave me that understanding,” he said. Gardner was also a semi-finalist for the 2022 Critical Language Scholarship.
In addition to his Arabic language study, Gardner’s involvement with the Psychology, Law, Emotions, and Attitudes (PLEA) Lab has prepared him for a career in the Foreign Service. “Researching in the PLEA Lab showed me the importance of numerical data when trying to understand human behavior,” he said. “Now, I will be able to expand that knowledge and understanding to a global level through the Foreign Service.”
Throughout his time at WKU, Gardner has continuously pursued opportunities for growth, and treated every application as a step forward. Dr. Craig T. Cobane, Executive Director of the Mahurin Honors College (MHC), has observed Gardner’s growth as an MHC Scholar. “Ralphy personifies what it means to become an active scholar,” Cobane said. “The world needs more people looking to produce knowledge and make a difference. Ralphy has done that as a scholar in the MHC, and I know he will continue to do so when he joins the Foreign Service.”
Gardner thanks the departments of Modern Languages, Sociology and Criminology, Psychology, and the Office of Scholar Development for their enduring support. “I want to thank these departments for taking the time to hone my skills, investing in me, and directing me toward opportunities like the Rangel Fellowship,” said Gardner. “I'd like to specifically thank Lindsey Houchin, Will Randolph, and Dr. Cobane for pushing me to new opportunities, and Dr. Poole, Dr. Baker, Dr. Anton, Dr. Rich and all other professors who have taught me during my time at WKU.”
To prepare his application, Gardner worked with Will Randolph, Coordinator for Nationally Competitive Opportunities in the Office of Scholar Development at WKU. “Ralphy is so deserving of his success,” Randolph said. “He has pursued career possibilities through OSD-supported opportunities, excelled in his fields of study, and kept his eye on the future with every application. Now he’s expanding his impact from rural Kentucky to the world, and the Foreign Service and Rangel Graduate Program could not be more fortunate.”
About the Office of Scholar Development (OSD): The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping WKU students in all major and degree programs develop the vision, experience, and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with any WKU student interested in pursuing nationally competitive scholarships toward their academic and professional goals.
About the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program: The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program is a U.S. Department of State program administered by Howard University under a cooperative agreement with the Office of Talent Acquisition, Bureau of Global Talent Management (GTM/TAC). The Rangel Program aims to enhance the excellence and diversity of the U.S. Foreign Service. Established in 2003, the Rangel Program selects outstanding fellows annually in a highly competitive nationwide selection process and supports them through two years of graduate study, internships, mentoring and professional development activities. Individuals who have successfully completed the Rangel Program are now serving as diplomats around the world, contributing to a more diverse representation and effective execution of U.S. foreign policy. More information may be found online at www.rangelprogram.org.
Contact: Will Randolph, email@example.com
Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.