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Grad Student Shapes Future with State Department
The idea of giving back to his community through service and dedication kept Juan Gamboa (B.A. '05) at St. Mary's University this year.
St. Mary's Graduate School was a personal choice, Gamboa says, adding that the opportunity to continue being a part of the Marianist learning community drives him to excel.
"I think that by staying here I'm gaining an excellent education and also contributing back to the school that has given me so much," he says.
Gamboa is the only Texan in 2005 to win the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The two-year graduate program will allow him to complete his master's degree in international relations at St. Mary's, and provides for two summer internships, one in Washington, D.C., and the other abroad.
This year, the Eagle Pass native is one of the nation's 20 Pickering Fellows. He is the sixth St. Mary's student to receive the coveted fellowship.
"The Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship is considered to be the goal of every international relations student who wants to pursue a career in the Foreign Service," says Gamboa, 22, whose bachelor's degree is in economics and international relations.
"The reason I chose St. Mary's for graduate school is because of the magnificent IR program and the great professors, including (Brother) Ed Violett, Larry Hufford, Leona Pallansch, Roy Robbins and (the Rev.) Norbert Brockman. Certainly, this fellowship will contribute to my lifelong goal of working with the State Department in the Foreign Service."
This semester, Gamboa works as a graduate assistant in the Department of Political Science. His supervisor, Professor Steve Neiheisel, Ph.D., says Gamboa brings an insightful, mature mind to the graduate program.
"He has a curiosity about the world and a willingness to engage the world both intellectually and practically that impresses all who work with him." Neiheisel says.
The Pickering Fellowship Award includes tuition, fees, a living stipend and reimbursement for books, including stipends during the two internships within the State Department.
This summer Gamboa will intern at the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington D.C. where he plans to learn more about the wide array of international laws and policies. He says he looks forward to working with and meeting very important personalities.
—by Anastasia Cisneros-Lunsford