October 25, 2010 - 12:00am
Fifteen percent—three out of 20—of the national scholars chosen for the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship this year are students of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Jaime LeBlanc-Hadley, Leah Severino and Juan Vazquez will receive support during their two years of study at MIIS as well as during two internships, one domestic and one overseas. As part of the fellowship award, the students commit to serve for three years as U.S. State Department foreign service officers after graduation.
This is the 14th year that the Woodrow Wilson Foundation has named Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellows. According to the foundation, the fellowships “develop a source of well-prepared men and women from academic disciplines who fulfill the skill needs of the United States Department of State and who are dedicated to representing America’s interests abroad.”
For the students the fellowship can mean the world, both literally and figuratively. Jaime LeBlanc-Hadley says she is "extremely honored to have received a Pickering Fellowship and to have the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Foreign Service after I graduate from MIIS. Prior to receiving this fellowship, I didn't know if I would even be able to go to graduate school, so obviously this has made a huge difference in my life and my future."
Juan Vazquez also has the Pickering Fellowship to thank for being able to attend graduate school “to study international affairs, which is something that I'm passionate about. The Fellowship program is wonderful as it provides opportunities to put in practice what you learn in the classroom through internship placements domestically and internationally.”