Senior Aaron Huang awarded Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Baker College senior Aaron Huang was awarded a 2017 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Huang, who is majoring in economics, policy studies and Asian studies, is one of 10 undergraduate fellows and 20 graduate fellows selected from hundreds of applicants from more than 270 colleges and universities.

Managed and funded by the Department of State and administered by The Washington Center, the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate and Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship offers talented students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to pursue a career in the U.S Foreign Service.

Recipients of the distinguished fellowship receive two years of financial support, mentoring and professional development to prepare them for a career in the foreign service. Fellows also complete a domestic internship at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., and an overseas internship at a U.S. embassy.

“I have been wanting to join the foreign service since high school because I wish to promote communication, cooperation and mutual understanding between countries and cultures as a way to protect and support Americans,” Huang said. “With the Pickering Fellowship, I hope to obtain a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs to better understand the human rights situation worldwide.”

Huang said that after graduate school, he wants to pursue politics with a focus on human rights in East Asia.

As a China research assistant at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Huang hosted high-level government think tank scholars in a U.S.-China cooperation summit. He also wrote foreign policy analysis articles on Taiwan and co-authored a research report that identified members of Congress who would potentially support U.S.-China cooperation. As founder of the Rice University School of Social Sciences Gateway Study of Cooperation, Huang led a four-student research group to conduct qualitative interviews with more than 20 consuls general in Houston and to analyze and write a research paper on how countries’ differing views on cooperation affect foreign relations. He served a D.C. policy research internship for the Baker Institute and also an internship program in D.C. as part of the Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience.

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program honors one of the most accomplished U.S. Foreign Service Officers of the 20th century. The program’s namesake was appointed career ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service. He served in many leading positions around the world during his foreign service career, including ambassador to Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, India and Russia. Pickering concluded his career as undersecretary of state for political affairs.

About Kendall Schoemann

Kendall Schoemann is a staff writer in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.