Mariya Ilyas ’13 is one of 20 people from around the country who has been awarded a 2015 Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Graduate fellows receive financial support toward a two-year, full-time master’s degree program in a field related to international affairs and diplomacy.
The fellowship program is designed to develop a group of people whose academic backgrounds fulfill the needs of the U.S. State Department. “The 2015 fellows have demonstrated skills critical to members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, including dedication, initiative, integrity, cultural adaptability, the ability to communicate well and a thorough intellectual background,” a press release explains.
In addition to their graduate degree studies, fellows participate in one domestic and one overseas internship. Upon the completion of their degree, they commit to five years of service as a foreign service officer.
Administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Pickering fellowship honors Thomas R. Pickering, who graduated cum laude from Bowdoin in 1953 and was awarded an honorary doctor-of-law degree from Bowdoin in 1984. Pickering holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service.
Ilyas majored in math and minored in sociology and government and legal studies. In 2013, she was a White House intern in the executive office of the president. She received a Davis Project for Peace grant in the summer of 2011 to launch a journalism program and a student newspaper at a school serving disadvantaged children in Pakistan. In addition, she won a public policy and international affairs fellowship to study at Princeton University in the summer of 2012.
Ilyas also won a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Turkey next year.