A Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship has been awarded to Matthew Buffington, a Brigham Young University public relations major with a minor in political science.
Buffington, a native of Medway, Ohio, is the president of the Foreign Service Student Organization, a student program funded and sponsored by the Kennedy Center to increase awareness of Foreign Service careers.
The Pickering award covers tuition, room, board and mandatory fees for the first and second years of graduate study, with reimbursement for books and one round-trip travel ticket.
This will allow Buffington and his wife Mariel to head east, where he will begin a two-year master of public administration program at George Washington University.
"This is especially satisfying because I have been working towards it ever since I returned home from my mission," said Buffington. "My academic focus, internship and Foreign Student Society Organization involvement have all been preparation for this fellowship."
He was a public affairs/public liaison intern with the U.S. State Department in 2004.
"The award provides a straight path to a career in the Foreign Service," Buffington says.
Graduate-level fellows receive mentoring from a foreign service officer and also receive stipends during participation in one domestic summer internship between the first and second year of graduate school, and one summer overseas internship following the second year of graduate school.
Thereafter, each successful candidate is obligated to serve three years as a Foreign Service Officer.
For more information regarding the Foreign Service go to www.state.gov/www/careers/rfscontents.html. For more information contact Lee Simons at (801) 422-2652.
Writer: James McCoy