Xavier Billingsley

What motivated you to apply for the Rangel Fellowship?

After going abroad for a leadership and exchange program in Russia, I found out about the Department of State Rangel Fellowship. I knew that I wanted to be a Foreign Service Officer and the fellowship provides a direct route.  

Describe the application process.  What was most difficult? What was most rewarding?

The application process is straightforward. There is an information portion with two essays on the application. After application cuts, finalists are sent in for an interview in Washington. The interview consists of a writing assignment and a 30-minute interview. You are notified a few days after everyone has interviewed. The interview process is rewarding because of the amazing people you meet.

Why did you choose to attend Cornell and what are you studying?

I am receiving a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on Conflict Resolution. I wanted to experience a private institution with a focus in Conflict Resolution and Consulting, and Cornell has one of the best programs for CR and Public Admin. The program is small and interdisciplinary, which I love! Cornell has a great graduate community and has a partnership with the Rangel Program, meaning that I do not pay for school. Going into the Foreign Service, I wanted to receive the best training in my desired field.  Cornell is the best.

How has the Rangel Fellowship shaped your future career?

The Fellowship shapes our career, because it’s a guaranteed job. Here is information on the structure of the fellowship: LINK

What advice do you have for students applying for fellowships?

Don't wait until your senior year or second semester junior year to apply for these prestigious fellowships. Many students have been groomed for these experiences since their freshman year. I also would suggest that everyone studies abroad, but don't just go to Europe for a month and a half during the summer or winter break. Instead, actually immerse yourself in various cultures. Find a region and build upon it. These fellowships want more than just a person that has been to Europe for a month; they want young adults who know languages and know a lot about a specific region, topic, or issue.

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