LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa. – Lincoln University senior Chinweotito Ihejirika has completed the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program, one of only 15 fellows selected following a highly competitive national selection process.
Ihejirika is the fourth Lion to receive this prestigious fellowship, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University. The program aims to provide students with a greater understanding of careers in the Foreign Service and Department of State, a deeper appreciation for current issues and trends in international affairs, and an enhanced knowledge and skills to pursue such careers.
The program is an example of how the University’s liberal arts student success model ensures that all students participate in high impact learning opportunities such as internships, service-learning, and international experiences. By participating in programs like this, graduates leave Lincoln University with the knowledge, attitudes, and competencies needed to be competitive in a global economy and to have a positive impact on their families, their communities, the nation, and the world.
During the program, Ihejirika reflected on the completely virtual experience: “I was skeptical at first, but the program is going very well. Our coordinator and all of the staff have been bending over backward to make this process as comfortable as possible,” said Ihejirika.
“I was placed with a mentor, and have met so many influential people who I can now turn to for advice. There have been many opportunities for professional development. We regularly meet with people in international affairs at all levels and departments as well as recruiters for various fellowships and programs. I have made cool connections with people this way.”
As a political science and Spanish double major, the Rangel Summer Program exposed Ihejirika to coursework in foreign relations and economics, strengthen professional skills, participate in networking opportunities, and work with state and foreign diplomats.
“The most memorable experiences I had—since I cannot pick just one—are hearing Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield speak, chatting with a member of an intelligence agency, meeting Ambassador Ruth Davis, and doing a diplomacy simulation exercise with my peers! In the exercise, we were given leadership roles representing different fictitious countries and had to apply our diplomatic skills to avoid an international crisis.”
Ihejirika aspires to participate in additional State Department programs such as the Critical Language Scholarship program or Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. Upon the completion of these programs, she plans to attend law school focusing on international law with a dual degree in international affairs, pursuing a career in a public diplomacy foreign service officer or at a Non-governmental organization.
Ihejirika expressed appreciation to her parents, the political science department, and her professors, especially Dr. Sema Ogutcu-Fu and Dr. Nora Gardner.
“The support I have received at the University gave me the confidence to apply and it has opened so many doors for my future!”