Brittany Hardy ’14, a religion concentrator, has been awarded a Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship.
The fellowship, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, is awarded to 20 students across the nation who wish to join the Foreign Service. The fellowship finances two-year graduate programs, provides paid internships and aids in other professional development activities, according to its website.
Hardy hasn’t decided where she will pursue her master’s degree yet, but she plans on obtaining a master’s degree in global policy studies or public diplomacy. After the two-year graduate program, she will serve as a Foreign Service Officer, representing the United States overseas.
She went to Washington D.C. on March 12 as one of 40 finalists for the interview round and received the news on March 14.
“I was shocked at first,” Hardy said. “It was midterms week, and I didn’t celebrate my birthday because I was prepping for the interview.”
Hardy said that she hadn’t heard about the program until she went to Greece last spring, where she volunteered with the Fulbright Foundation in Athens, Greece. While volunteering, she attended a meeting with an ambassador and heard of the different opportunities. She also became interested in serving her country because her parents were in the military.
“I’ve always heard military stories about how they loved it,” she said. “[Serving your country] is an honor.”
She said it is difficult to become a Foreign Service Officer without aid from this type of fellowship, adding that she is excited to travel the world and to be able to communicate and network with people in other cultures.
“I’ll make sure that in whatever country I’m in the locals understand U.S. interests and U.S. history, and that we facilitate a relationship between one another,” she said. “I’ll be like the PR person for the U.S.”
Hardy added that she used her religion background as an asset when applying for the fellowship.
“Many [people] probably don’t have that background or know how religion plays a role in foreign policy,” she explained.
In addition to studying abroad in Greece, Hardy has interned at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Chicago, on campus at Campus Recreation and as a research assistant at the Offices of Academic Affairs and Diversity at the Graduate School.
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Diversity Karen Jackson-Weaver said she was thrilled to hear the news.
“Brittany is such a grounded, bright and well-rounded individual,” Weaver said. “The courses she has taken here at Princeton, coupled with the myriad of international experiences she has experienced, made her such an ideal candidate for the fellowship.”
As a research assistant, Hardy helped in the preparation of two courses — AAS 319: The African-American Prophetic Tradition and AMS 345: Women’s Leadership in Modern America.
“Brittany was not the most talkative student, but she was always very hard working, and she was one of those students who would ask to meet with me for help outside of the class,” Alberto Bruzos Moro, senior lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures, said. Bruzos Moro had taught Hardy as a freshman and sophomore in Spanish classes. “For me, it has been a pleasure to follow all her years of each time that we would talk. I could see her growth as a person and as a student.”
As for Hardy’s future, Weaver said the sky is the limit for her.
“I’m sure in a few years we will be reading about her again and the significant contributions she is making as a Princeton alum,” Weaver said.