Foreign Service Series Part 1: Joining the U.S. Foreign Service and USAID through Fellowship Programs

  • April 18, 2019
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center, 2218 6th Street, NW Washington, DC, 20059


Registration is closed

Please join YPFP for the first of a multi part series of events related to the U.S. Foreign Service!

On Thursday April 18, YPFP will be hosting a discussion on joining the United States Foreign Service and USAID through different fellowships.  Some of the programs discussed include:

  • The Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellowship is a program that aims to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers in the State Department’s Foreign Service Office (FSO), especially  members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service and those with financial need. The fellowship provides generous funding to support two years of graduate study, internships and professional development activities, and entry into the Foreign Service.  Fellows commit to working for at leave five years in the FSO upon completion of the fellowship.

  • The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship aims to attract outstanding students from all ethnic and social backgrounds who are dedicated to representing America's interests abroad. The Pickering Fellowships provide up to $40,000 per year for two years to talented students who want to pursue a career in the State Department’s Foreign Service Office.  Pickering Fellows receive mentoring, professional development, and financial support as they prepare to enter the Foreign Service.  Upon successful completion of the Foreign Service examination, Pickering Fellows make a commitment to a minimum of five years of service in an appointment as Foreign Service Officer.

  • The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times — poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism – the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people's compassion and support of human dignity. The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $96,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, is a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.


Bunmi Akinnusotu  

Bunmi Akinnusotu is a foreign policy enthusiast and organizational management leader. As the Deputy Director of the Rangel Fellowship at Howard University, Bunmi builds the talent pipeline of foreign service officers and international affairs leaders. Prior to Howard, Bunmi was the Chief of Staff at Young Professionals in Foreign Policy which also amplifies the voices of rising global policymakers. She was a political appointee in the Obama Administration where she served as Special Assistant in the Office of Land and Emergency Management at the US Environmental Protection Agency. There, she coordinated international and domestic efforts to advance resource conservation and bring greater visibility to the social and economic benefits of reducing negative environmental impacts. Bunmi’s international journey began at Search for Common Ground in Timor-Leste and she later taught English in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Prior to her career in foreign affairs, Bunmi was a non-profit fundraiser for the YWCA and United Way in Chicago. She’s also an Americorps Alumn, a Truman National Security Fellow, and a Penn Kemble Democracy Fellow.

Bunmi obtained her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and also a Master’s in Sociology from Illinois State University Stevenson Center for Applied Community and Economic Development. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Bryant University located in her home state of Rhode Island.  Bunmi is a recovering collegiate volleyball player, loves anything made of red velvet, anything from Chicago, and enjoys producing her radio program and podcast, What in the World?. She is relentless in her pursuit to help more Americans understand the connection of foreign policy to their every day lives.

Cierra Saylor 

Cierra G. Saylor is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State assigned to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and is currently in Arabic (Gulf Dialect) language training at the Foreign Service Institute. Cierra is a recent graduate of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, where she pursued her masters degree in Security Policy focusing on conflict resolution and intelligence as a Thomas Pickering Fellow. In 2016, Ms. Saylor completed her bachelors degree at Richmond, The American International University in London while studying international relations and psychology. Cierra is dedicated to community service and assists local youth in her hometown of Atlanta through her organization, Imagine Me, by motivating them for academic and professional success.

Matt Paschke

Matt Paschke is a Foreign Service Officer at the Department of State.  Since joining the State Department in 2008, he has worked on visas and immigration policy, climate change negotiations, combating wildlife trafficking, and providing development assistance during his assignments in Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Beijing, Baghdad, and Washington.  He has a BA in Computer Science from Harvard University  and an MA in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago.  He is currently studying Arabic in preparation for his next assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

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