Barbara Cummings serves as the U.S. Department of State Diplomat in Residence at Howard University.
My name is Barbara Cummings and I’m the Diplomat in Residence for the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and West Virginia areas based at Howard University. We have 16 senior Foreign Service Officers who are assigned to different universities throughout the U.S.
We have summer, spring and fall internships. They are 10 weeks, full-time. They’re great opportunities and you can be an intern either in Washington or at one of our 200-and-some embassies and consulates abroad. I had several interns in Peru, and because they had very good Spanish, we were able to send them out as election observers, or on an anti-fraud visit to a village to investigate a visa case.
There are a couple of Department fellowships that I think are fabulous opportunities. One is called the Pickering program and it’s administered out of Princeton University. And it basically will pay for your graduate studies in international affairs, and you get a follow-on commitment to come into the Foreign Service.
There’s also the Charles Rangel program that’s administered here at Howard University, and it’s, again, another competitive program that will pay for graduate studies. Theirs is even a little broader. They will pay for almost any area of studies other than law school.
I’ve noticed when I go out and talk to large numbers of students, that there’s an amazing amount of commitment to do public service, you know, which is a very, sort of, warming feeling.
I also talk one-on-one with a lot of students. I’ll meet them to have coffee if they’re further along in the process of applying for the Foreign Service. I talk about my career. I’m pretty much open to everybody.
I always tell students or anyone interested in the Foreign Service to read a lot, just basically be interested in the world around them.
There are all these opportunities now that I don’t think we had 30 years ago. And so I’m glad to see that the students are really taking advantage of them.
For more information, contact a Diplomat in Residence in your region.