Posted on Monday, April 07, 2014
Following a highly competitive nationwide contest, David Luna '14 was awarded a prestigious Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship for his dedication and determination to foster political and global awareness among fellow students, and desire to pursue a career in public service. He is the first HWS student to receive the honor.
The Rangel Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.
Luna was one of only 20 students to be awarded the fellowship. As a Rangel Fellow, he will receive approximately $90,000 in benefits over a two-year period to pursue a master's degree in international security, as well as two guaranteed internships over the course of two successive summers. Luna will complete an 11-week Congressional internship on Capitol Hill this summer, followed by a 10-week position at an international embassy the following year.
Following earning his master's degree, Luna will join the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service officer.
"None of this would be possible without Hobart and William Smith," said Luna, a political science major with a double minor in international relations and American studies. "It has afforded me so many opportunities to take on leadership roles, identify and pursue my passions and supported me in charting new paths."
The Rangel Program is a joint initiative between the U.S. State Department and Howard University that aims to enhance the excellence and diversity of the U.S. Foreign Service. Launched in 2003, the Rangel Fellowship Program selects outstanding young people each year from around the country who exhibit the ideal qualities of a Foreign Service officer. Managed by the Ralph J. Bunche Center at Howard University, the Rangel Fellowship supports those selected through graduate school and professional development activities that prepare them for their careers as Foreign Service Officers. Many fellows currently serve as diplomats around the world.
"What sets the Rangel Fellows apart is a desire to devote their careers to promoting positive change in the world as Foreign Service officers," Director for the Rangel Fellowship Program Patricia Scroggs said.
At HWS, Luna was actively involved on campus, including as president of HWS Votes, which promotes voter registration among students. Under his leadership, the group registered 800 students to vote and provided them with absentee ballots for the 2012 election. He also volunteered for the Campus Election Engagement Project.
Luna also initiated and organized a U.S. Congressional Debate, the first to take place at HWS. He was a Resident Assistant for Hale Hall, and served as opinions editor and regular columnist for The Herald. Luna was a civil leader for Political Activism.
"This career gives me the ability to make a real difference, ‘to do something about it,'" Luna said. "As a Foreign Service officer, you're on the frontlines of history and constantly reminding the world how much we have in common and why that matters."
Luna said he looks forward to initiating change concerning the global perception of Americans and is most interested in pursuing a public diplomacy or political career track with the U.S. Department of the State.
"David's obvious commitment to public service, in addition to his excellent academics and strong communication skills, impressed us," said Scroggs.
Further information on the Rangel Fellowship Program may be found online at www.rangelprogram.org.