Recent SUNY Potsdam Grad Ramatu Muhammed ’21 Honored with Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship, Propelling her Diplomacy Career
SUNY Potsdam alumna Ramatu Muhammed ’21 has been awarded a 2022 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship following a highly competitive nationwide selection process.
The Rangel Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. The fellowship will support Ramatu through a two-year master’s degree in an area of relevance to the Foreign Service. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in international relations at Johns Hopkins University.
"I would like to thank my friends and the faculty at SUNY Potsdam, especially my mentor and international relations Professor Michael Popović, Bethany Vanderwoude, Thomas Baker, Ndifreke Ette and the entire Educational Opportunity Program staff, for all of their help and guidance. Transitioning from a Rangel Scholar to a Fellow has been a dream of mine, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity."
-Ramatu Muhammed '21
The fellowship will also provide extensive professional development opportunities, including internships, mentors and skills training. As part of the program, Muhammed will intern with a Member of Congress on issues related to foreign affairs in summer 2022. In summer 2023, the U.S. Department of State will send her overseas to intern in a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to get hands-on experience in foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service. Upon successful completion of the program, Muhammed will become a U.S. diplomat in summer 2024, embarking on one of the most challenging and rewarding careers of service to her country. She will work to advance U.S. interests, protect American citizens, and promote peace and prosperity around the world.
A Ghanaian-American from the Bronx, N.Y., Muhammed graduated summa cum laude with a degree in international studies and politics. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program and studied abroad in the United Kingdom. She also supported faculty-led trips to Spain, Morocco and Mexico. On top of her studies and her travels, Muhammed served both as a diversity ambassador and was a member of the Black Student Alliance. She worked as a student assistant and academic tutor for the Educational Opportunity Program, and received the 2020 Norman R. McConney Jr. Award, a SUNY System-wide honor recognizing students who thrive despite obstacles to their success. Muhammed also was a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society for political science and a recipient of the Canfield Scholarship. She was also picked for the inaugural Community Advocacy Award in 2018 along with Dr. Michael Popović, for their work with the international non-profit Soliya and its virtual cultural exchange, which uses roundtable discussions to empower young people to engage with cultural differences in a positive way.
After graduation, Muhammed studied Arabic as a Gilman Scholar, and Turkish through the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship. She also interned at the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations, and at the United Nations Development Programme’s Office of Latin America and the Caribbean. Muhammed currently works as an English Language Assistant in Spain through the Spanish Ministry of Education’s North American Language and Culture Assistants Program.
Muhammed is excited about her future career in diplomacy. Upon receiving the Rangel Fellowship, she commented, “I would like to thank my mother for her unwavering support. I also would like to thank my friends and the faculty at SUNY Potsdam, especially my mentor and international relations Professor Michael Popović, Bethany Vanderwoude, Thomas Baker, Ndifreke Ette and the entire Educational Opportunity Program staff, for all of their help and guidance. Transitioning from a Rangel Scholar to a Fellow has been a dream of mine, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity. As I enter this new phase in my life and prepare for a career as a Foreign Service Officer, I hope to continue the great work of my predecessors and represent America’s heterogeneity abroad.”
SUNY Potsdam’s international studies program offers students a focused course of study in world history and international politics, grounded in economics. Students also complete modern language requirements and an intercultural experience as part of the interdisciplinary major, giving them solid preparation for graduate study and/or careers in government, international business and public service. To learn more, visit http://www.potsdam.edu/academics/AAS/Pols/InternationalStudies.
About the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program:
The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program is a U.S. Department of State program administered by Howard University under a cooperative agreement with the Office of Talent Acquisition, Bureau of Global Talent Management (GTM/TAC). The Rangel Program aims to enhance the excellence and diversity of the U.S. Foreign Service. Established in 2003, the Rangel Program selects outstanding fellows annually in a highly competitive nationwide selection process and supports them through two years of graduate study, internships, mentoring and professional development activities. Individuals who have successfully completed the Rangel Program are now serving as diplomats around the world, contributing to a more diverse representation and effective execution of U.S. foreign policy. More information may be found online at http://www.rangelprogram.org/.
About SUNY Potsdam:
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.
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