Trinity Senior Leah Martin is one of just 10 students nationwide awarded the prestigious Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the highly-competitive fellowship seeks to attract and educate outstanding young people to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. The Rangel Fellowship provides up to $28,000 annually for tuition, room, board and a stipend for a two-year master’s degree in international affairs; each fellow is then assigned a three-year appointment as a Foreign Service Officer.
“>My Trinity education, and all of the opportunities that I have had here, prepared me for this exciting next step in my education and my career,” said Martin. A political science major, Martin was in the first cohort of student scholars in Trinity’s Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence. Through Trinity’s Intelligence program she had the opportunity to travel to China for academic studies. “My experience in China piqued my interest in the foreign service as a career,” Martin noted.
A native of New Orleans, Leah Martin is currently president of Trinity’s Student Government Association. Beyond the classroom, shehas completed several internships to expand her skills and experience, including a paid internship with the Committee for Homeland Security in the U.S. Congress and an internship that turned into a paid position at NGP Software, a political consulting company. Martin was in the first cohort of Trinity students selected to be in the national Young People For Fellowship program, and she is currently a senior fellow with the program, mentoring current fellows. In summer 2006, Martin participated in the Charles Rangel Summer Enrichment Program.
Martin plans to enroll in a master’s program at the University of Denver, which has a renowned graduate program in international studies. In addition to her scholarship, the Rangel Fellowship will provide Martin with a Congressional Fellowship. In the summer between her two years in a master’s program, Martin will be appointed to an embassy; she hopes to be in Cairo “because it is the center of Middle East diplomacy,” she said.
After earning her master’s degree, Martin will enter into the Foreign Service. “I will be entering the foreign service at age 23, and I will be on track to be one of the youngest female diplomats,” Martin said. “I am planning on a long-term career with the Department of State.”
“>The focus at Trinity on education for global leadership has been very meaningful for me,” Martin reflected. “At Trinity, we are compelled to have a world view. The focus on ethics in my Trinity education is also very important to me and that is something that I plan to carry forward in my diplomatic assignments. It is very important to me that we in the U.S. uphold ethics in our foreign policy. Because we are a superpower, we have a social responsibility, yet in many situations, that seems to be forgotten. Infusing ethics in foreign policy is where I feel I can have the greatest impact.”
Martin credits Trinity’s professors for “shaping what I have been able to achieve academically and professionally. Everyone here at Trinity supports me. I don’t know of another place where so many people want you to succeed. That’s why students choose to come here. My professors have really challenged me to do my absolute best work and that’s very motivating.”
Martin also appreciates and values the academic skills that she has sharpened while at Trinity. “My writing and verbal communication skills have become much stronger,” she noted. “I am confident that my ability to write and present a succinct, analytical briefing will be valued in my foreign service career,” she added.
Leah Martin is among several Trinity Student Government presidents who have been selected for prestigious fellowships or are pursuing a career with a global perspective. For example, Michelle Mitchell ’06 was awarded a full fellowship for graduate studies from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in 2006, and is currently in law school at Georgetown University and plans to pursue a career in international law. For several years, Amy Costello ’92 has been a reporter with BBC/The World, reporting stories from her home base in South Africa; she received an Emmy nomination in 2006 for a segment on war-torn Darfur that was broadcast on PBS’ Frontline.
The Rangel Fellowship is named in honor of New York Congressman Charles B. Rangel, who championed the creation of the program; it is funded the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University. The program is designed to create a diverse U.S. Foreign Service that represents the rich range of talents and expertise of the American people.