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Rangel, Pickering and Maxwell – A shared commitment to Excellence & Diversity


I have been honored to serve on the Charles B. Rangel (2012, 2013, 2014) and the Thomas R. Pickering (2018, 2019) International Affairs Graduate Fellowship selections committees over the course of my career.  Earlier this month, I was part of a team that selected thirty talented and motivated men and women as 2019 Thomas R. Pickering International Affairs Graduate Fellows.  This week, 60 finalists will be interviewed for the final selection of the top 30 Charles. B. Rangel Fellows.  It is a lot of work, but so very interesting and highly rewarding.

The Maxwell School has been a loyal partner of both programs for over 20 years.  As a destination for high performing scholars in the field of international relations, it is no surprise that The Maxwell School has graduated many Pickering and Rangel Fellows over the years.   This summer we welcomed Zerlina Bartholomew, a 2018 recipient of the Charles B. Rangel Fellowship. In the fall, both Anna Andrews and (Melissa) Missy Rubalcava joined us as Pickering Finalists. Maxwell is so deeply committed to the missions of these programs that the PAIA Department provides the same matching funding to Finalists as we do Fellows!! Missy was just newly named a Pickering Fellow having moved off the alternate list a few weeks into her studies.

The Rangel and Pickering Programs provide two years of tuition and living assistance support of $37,500 each year for each fellow. The Maxwell School Matching funding provides merit-based financial aid to significantly reduce any out of pocket expenses for all Fellows.

Not only that, but as Rangel & Pickering Fellows, given the strong financial support of the fellowship coupled with Maxwell’s matching funding, Zerlina & Missy will be able to earn two degrees: the MPA and the MA International Relations over two years of study – and both nearly debt free! Anna as a finalist is earning the 16-month MA IR. For Finalists, the Maxwell Matching Award provides approximately $35,000 (53%) of total tuition cost.

These are high quality programs and the Maxwell School is pleased to be a strong and loyal partner in their shared mission of Excellence and Diversity in the US Foreign Service.

Zerlina Bartholomew – Charles B. Rangel Fellow and current MPA/MA IR student

Student Spotlight – Q&A with Zerlina Bartholomew

What is your program and concentration while at Maxwell?

I am a dual Masters of Public Administration and International Relations (MPA/IR) student with a concentration in Development and Humanitarian Assistance.

What was your job experience before Maxwell?

Prior to attending Maxwell, I was a program officer for Department of State funded programs for American high school students as well as worked as an assistant for the Fulbright Foreign Student program. I also have experience working in NGOs and was a domestic violence and women’s rights advocate for a local women’s shelter in Kentucky.

What is your ideal job post Maxwell?

I would love to have a career in the international realm so the Foreign Service, Public Diplomacy sector is a perfect fit. Besides this option, I would like to work in some capacity on economic development working on self-sufficiency structures in Francophone Africa and/or French and Dutch Caribbean.

What has been your main takeaway from your time at Maxwell so far?

I arrived July of this year and I can already see how devoted and talented the professors are within Maxwell. They are truly invested in my/ my cohort’s success and go above and beyond in terms of connecting us to practitioners in our fields of interest. The advising staff is phenomenal as well and are so well versed in a spread of interests.

What would you say to anyone applying to Maxwell currently?

One piece of advice someone shared with me as I was applying to graduate school was to send cold emails to professors, especially those with a background in a subject that interests you. This requires some homework and research but I have found that professors are very positive and are excited to discuss their expertise with a prospective student.


The Charles B. Rangel and Thomas R. Pickering International Affairs Graduate Fellowship Programs promote Excellence and Diversity in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State.  Both programs provide two years of financial support toward graduate study, related internships with the Department of State in the US and at an Embassy abroad, as well as mentorship to increase each Fellow’s likelihood of success both upon entering and maintaining their career as a US Foreign Service Officer.   


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February 2024
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