News at Mason
Three Mason students selected for Charles B. Rangel Fellowship
January 9, 2017 / by Alexa Rogers
Three George Mason University students, two alumni and one undergraduate, have been selected as Charles B. Rangel Fellows as part of the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program.
Started in 2002 by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Congressman Charles B. Rangel and former Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, the Rangel Program helps to promote greater diversity in the U.S. Foreign Service by offering a summer enrichment program to undergraduates and a fellowship to rising graduate students.
Only 30 students are selected for the fellowship each year, which includes a scholarship for graduate school tuition and fees, two summer internships on Capitol Hill and a U.S. Embassy abroad, and mentorship from a current Foreign Service Officer. The program ends after two years when students will have received their master’s degrees in international relations, or a related field, and become Foreign Service Officers.
Here’s a look at the stellar George Mason students who are now Rangel Fellows.
Senior and government and international politics major Katie Garay became interested in the Rangel Fellowship after an internship at the U.S. Embassy for Panama, where her supervisor, a former Rangel Fellow, encouraged her to apply.
Her ultimate goal is to work on security policy in Latin America. She most looks forward to the mentorship aspect of the Rangel Fellowship in helping her become a well-rounded Foreign Service Officer.
In between applying to graduate school programs at Harvard University, George Mason University and Georgetown University and studying for finals, Garay still has time to be an active member of the Mason community as a resident advisor with Mason Housing and president of the Hispanic Student Association.
Garay said the support and encouragement she received from faculty members at Mason helped her get through the application process.
“When something good happens to one person here at Mason, it’s felt all over the place … that support is one of the greatest things that Mason has have to offer me throughout this process,” Garay said.
Sulaiman Toghral, a member of Mason’s Class of 2014, learned about the Rangel Fellowship during an internship with the Department of State. While completing his overseas internship at the U.S. Consulate General in Durban, South Africa, Toghral became interested in the U.S. Foreign Service and was motivated to apply to the program.
His exposure to international careers at Mason and his work with an academic counselor who informed him of public service professions opened his eyes to career opportunities in diplomacy.
Though he would like to serve as a Foreign Service Officer in the Middle East and North Africa, Toghral is excited to have the opportunity to serve in communities worldwide.
“I am open to serving anywhere that I can contribute to the United States and the world as an American diplomat,” Toghral said.
A local student, Toghral is looking into graduate programs as a way to experience a new area of the country. He is in the process of applying to public administration programs at Florida International University, the University of Texas, University of Denver, Carnegie Melon University and American University. He would also like to study Arabic.
Toghral said that he appreciated Mason’s diverse atmosphere and is grateful to professors who encouraged him to think independently and who truly cared about his success by helping him to reach this point in his career.
Mason alumna Tanya Donangmaye says that her commitment to serving others and desire to work in communities globally were her main motivators for applying for a Rangel Fellowship. And of course, becoming a Foreign Service Officer after grad school.
Born in Chad in central Africa, Donangmaye moved to the United States at age four and is now working in South Korea on a Fulbright grant. She is also in the process of applying to graduate programs at Columbia University, Syracuse University and American University.
Donangmaye transferred to Mason from Northern Virginia Community College before her junior year and pursued her degree in global affairs with a minor in Women and Gender Studies (WGST). She stayed active in the Mason community by getting involved in campuswide events with the WGST program.
She says that her Global Affairs coursework played a big role in helping her reach this point.
“The education I received greatly strengthened my knowledge in foreign affairs and reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career in international affairs,” Donangmaye said.