Middlebury

Middlebury student wins prestigious Pickering fellowship

November 7, 2007

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Middlebury College junior Alexander Hall has been selected as a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow, awarded by the United States Department of State. The fellowship provides full funding for Hall's last two years at Middlebury College, two summer internships - one in Washington, D.C. and one at an embassy abroad - and a master's degree in international studies. In accepting the fellowship, Hall has agreed to a 4½ -year term as a foreign service officer, which begins on completion of his master's degree.

An international politics and economics major from Stillwater, Minn., Hall is one of 20 new Pickering fellows for 2007. He was selected from more than 500 applicants, according to the Woodrow Wilson Institute which administers the program for the State Department.

Hall received the news of his award last summer while studying in Germany. He says the news made for an exciting and hectic conclusion to his semester abroad. "They emailed me in Germany to tell me I was a finalist and then flew me to Washington, D.C. for a round of interviews," said Hall. "About a month later they called to tell me I had been selected and they flew me back to Washington again for an orientation session."

Pickering fellows receive their foreign service assignments on completion of their master's programs. Hall says that typically the cohort of fellows receives a listing of openings and they can express their top preferences, but the final decision is up to the State Department. Hall says he is open to just about any assignment, but would be especially interested in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia or Central America.

Hall says he owes a lot of his interest in foreign affairs to an introductory international politics course he took with Professor Mark Williams. "He's a great professor and that was an amazing course. It was a big reason I chose this career path."

Thomas R. Pickering was one of the U.S. State Department's most distinguished diplomats of the latter 20th century. He served as ambassador to Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, India, and the Russian Federation, and as under secretary of state for political affairs. Pickering recently retired as Senior Vice President for International Relations at the Boeing Company, but remains highly active with international affairs organizations.