Magazine Feature / People

Rangel fellow preparing for Foreign Service career

International affairs master’s candidate Andrea Corey is one of a handful of students destined to change the face of American diplomacy through the Rangel International Affairs Diversity Program. 

“For years, I have worked to create a mechanism to make our State Department and Foreign Service look like America,” says Rep. Charles Rangel. “Young people from all races and backgrounds now have the opportunity to put themselves forward to make America proud overseas.” 

Corey, who hopes to complete her DU master’s degree this year, was one of 10 Rangel fellows chosen in fall 2005 from 120 applicants nationwide. The program provides her with $28,000 annually toward tuition, room, board, books, fees and two summer internships—one in Washington, D.C., and one overseas. 

She must maintain a 3.2 grade point average (she currently carries a 3.6), earn a master’s in international affairs and commit to serving three years in the U.S. Foreign Service, the international arm of the executive branch. 

Corey is the third of four DU international studies graduate students chosen for the fellowship. Alexanderia Baker and Dionandrea Shorts became Rangel fellows in 2004 and Melanie Bonner was chosen for the fellowship in early 2006. 

“We’re one of a small group of very strong international graduate programs,” says Tom Rowe, a GSIS associate professor and leader of several organizations promoting diversity in international service.  

Corey is already a Foreign Service veteran. As a Howard University journalism undergraduate student and international fellow in 2003, she worked with foreign-service diplomats at the U.S. embassy in the Dominican Republic. Corey completed human rights reports, wrote talking points for ambassador speeches and worked on Dominican-Haitian relations. This summer, Corey will intern in the Bahamas, working on political economics issues. 

“Students such as Andrea demonstrate the high caliber of our internationally recognized program,” says Cheryl Gooden Bernhardt, associate director of admissions for GSIS. “The diversity of their experiences adds an important perspective to academic discourse at GSIS.”

Encouraged by her parents to travel and exposed to international students they hosted in her home, Corey says she has always had a deep interest in international affairs. That interest and a talent for writing, she says, became her passport out of her urban Baltimore neighborhood. 

“It’s been such an honor,” Corey says. “I’ve been able to do things I never thought I’d be able to do.” 

Corey hopes to continue to serve her country, possibly in Cuba, where her Spanish language skills could aid U.S. diplomatic efforts in a post-Castro regime. She counts Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a DU alumna, as a mentor and wants to burst the myth of an all-white America that pervades international relations. 

“I am proud to be an American,” Corey says. “We are diverse.” 

Rangel tried for years to establish diversity and break open the ranks of what he called “the private club” of Foreign Service. He finally received the impetus he needed from then Secretary of State Madeline Albright, whose father, Josef Korbel, founded GSIS. The Rangel program is open to minority and other underrepresented students who have faced special hardships and are willing to commit at least three years to the U.S. Foreign Service. 

Since 2002, Rangel has been able to secure $4 million per year in federal funding for the program and add scores of diverse faces to the Foreign Service.  

This article originally appeared in The Source, February 2006.

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