Diplomats in Residence Serve as Career Resources

Posted by Barbara Cummings
September 9, 2009

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.



Massachusetts, USA
September 10, 2009

Jeff in Massachusetts writes:

I would very much appreciate the time and consideration of a local fellow.

Thank you.

District Of Columbia, USA
September 10, 2009

Diplomats in Residence Coordinator Deborah Graze writes:

@ Jeff in Massachusetts -- The Diplomat in Residence nearest to you is Ms. Sunny Halliburton, whose office is located on the campus of Tufts University in Medford, MA. You will find her contact information at careers.state.gov in the "resources" section. Diplomats in Residence around the country are eager to share their experiences and insights about the Foreign Service and other opportunities with the State Department. You may also want to join our "Careers in Foreign Affairs" group on Facebook.

Brad J.
Montana, USA
September 11, 2009

Brad J. in Montana writes:

I was looking at your list for diplomats in residence list for 2009, but I wasn't able to find one for the state of Montana. I am registered to take the FSOT on October 6 in Billings, MT, and I would like to have a chance to talk with a diplomat in residence before then. I passed the FSOT last year, but failed to make it past the QEP, and I think with a little more preparation I can make it past that hurdle this year. Thank you for your time and consideration.

District Of Columbia, USA
September 16, 2009

Diplomats in Residence Coordinator Deborah Graze writes:

@ Brad in Montana: Congratulations on registering to take the FSO Test! You are correct, we do not have a Diplomat in Residence based in Montana. I encourage you to look at the "Events" section of our careers.state.gov website, and find the FSOT preparatory information session nearest you. If there isn't a feasible location listed, I suggest you check out our careers.state.gov section on "Becoming a Foreign Service Officer" and then contact the nearest Diplomat in Residence to seek advice about how best to prepare for the test.

Hugh C.
Georgia, USA
September 17, 2009

Hugh C. in Georgia writes:


I am very interested in a career in or closely associated with the Diplomatic Corps or other aspect of service in the U.S. State Department. I recently retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service, and using my GI Bill to finish my BA in Political Science at Augusta State University. Any assistance you may provide to assist in exploring the available options to this end is appreciated.



Sophie R.
Texas, USA
September 20, 2009

Sophie R. in Texas writes:


My name is Sophie R., and I am 12 years old. I am very interested in becoming a Foreign Service Officer. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for any ways I can prepare for a career in diplomacy.

Thank you,
Sophie R.


Latest Stories