Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Diplomatic mission

Wheaton College senior wins a Thomas A. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Senior Alexis Nieves '14 is one of 20 undergraduates nationwide who has been awarded a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Services Fellowship.

The fellowship, which provides financial support for one year of undergraduate education and one year of graduate school, recognizes undergraduates with the desire and potential to serve in the United States diplomatic corps.

Nieves, a double major in Hispanic Studies and international relations, views the prospect of joining the nation's diplomatic service as a "dream job."

"I want to continue serving and working with diverse groups in an effort to change social structures so that people from different cultural backgrounds are able to build trust and develop mutual understanding for one another so that all may prosper," he said.

A Wheaton Posse Scholar from Brooklyn, N.Y., Nieves has been involved in community service since high school, when he helped to organize community events sponsored by New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.

"This ignited a passion for helping those less fortunate than myself," he said.

With support from the Katharine Conroy Whalen '70 Endowed Fund for the Filene Center, Nieves spent last summer interning with a non-profit law firm called Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, where he participated in a campaign to defend the rights and dignity of tenants against unlawful and demeaning conditions.

"My public service has exposed me to people from all different walks of life, taught me to adapt to new environments, and appreciate cultural difference," he said.

This year, the rising college senior received a grant from Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship that enabled him to spend the 2013 spring semester in Spain at the Programa de Estudios Hispanicos en Córdoba, known as PRESHCO.

Nieves' Pickering fellowship will allow him to participate in one domestic and one overseas internship during the remainder of his undergraduate and graduate studies. Upon the completion of a master’s degree, he will be committed to spend at least three years as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. 

The Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship is named in honor of Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, who served as ambassador to Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, India, and the Russian Federation, finishing his career in the Foreign Service as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.