WKU student, alumna recognized by Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
- Author: Office of Scholar Development
- Author: Monday, May 7th, 2018
Photo Caption: Erick Murrer (left) is the first WKU student to receive a Pickering Fellowship. Isabella Greene (right) was selected as an alternate.
A WKU student and an alumna have been recognized by the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Erick Murrer of Nancy was selected as a 2018 Pickering Fellow. Isabella Greene of Orlinda, Tennessee was selected as alternate. Murrer is the first WKU student to receive a Pickering Fellowship.
Honoring the distinguished service of Ambassador Pickering, the fellowship is the premier graduate fellowship for students pursuing a career in the U.S. foreign service. Fellows receive $37,500 annually for a two-year graduate degree in a subject related to the foreign service, paid summer internships in Washington, D.C. and at embassies abroad, and numerous opportunities for mentoring and professional development.
Pickering Fellows commit to working as foreign service officers for at least five years after they receive their graduate degrees. They have guaranteed entry into the U.S. foreign service.
Murrer, a fourth-year economics and Chinese major, plans to work as an economic officer in the U.S. foreign service. They have pursued numerous opportunities with the U.S. Department of State while at WKU. They were previously selected as a U.S. foreign service intern through which they worked on global LGBTQ issues in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Murrer said that they are grateful to receive the fellowship as a low income, LGBTQ individual from Appalachia.
“Receiving the Pickering Fellowship is an absolutely life changing experience, and I am so excited to continue to work in the U.S. Department of State,” Murrer said.
Greene, a 2016 graduate in Chinese, history, and Asian religions and cultures, was recognized as an alternate. While at WKU, Greene studied abroad in Beijing, China, worked as a student advisor in the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning and continues to serve as an alumni ambassador for U.S.-China Strong, an initiative to increase the number of students learning Chinese.
Hundreds of applicants representing more than 200 institutions competed for the Pickering Fellowship this year. Sixty applicants were selected as finalists and interviewed in Washington, D.C. Of the finalists, thirty fellows were selected this year.
“For WKU to have both a winner and an alternate in one year speaks very highly of the quality of students at WKU and the opportunities this university is affording them for their personal and intellectual development,” Michael McClellan, WKU Diplomat-in-Residence, said. “Having worked closely with Ambassador Pickering in Russia, I know that Erick and Isabella embody the high professional standards and intellectual acumen that Ambassador Pickering represents and that this Fellowship demands.”
Murrer and Greene sought guidance from Cory Dodds, coordinator of nationally competitive opportunities in the Office of Scholar Development, and McClellan while preparing for the Pickering competition.
“Without the help of the Office of Scholar Development and Mr. McClellan, I would not have been as thoroughly prepped or have as refined understanding of the selection process itself,” Murrer said. “I strongly recommend anyone wanting to have a career at the State Department to consult OSD.”
About the Office of Scholar Development: The Office of Scholar Development is committed to helping WKU students in all majors and degree programs develop the vision, experience and skills to be independent, engaged scholars. OSD welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in nationally competitive scholarships.
About the Office of International Programs: The Office of International Programs supports the internationalization agenda of the university by creating opportunities for faculty and staff development in a global context and supporting the development of meaningful co-curricular programming for student, campus and community audiences.
Contact: Cory Dodds, (270) 745-5043.