Campus News

Melissa Hudson '05 Awarded Pickering Foreign Service Fellowship

Story posted June 24, 2003

Melissa Hudson '05 of Memphis, Tenn., has been awarded a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Service Fellowship.

The Pickering Fellowship program recruits talented students in academic programs relevant to international affairs, political and economic analysis, administration, management, and science policy. The goal is to attract outstanding students from all ethnic, racial and social backgrounds who have an interest in pursuing a Foreign Service career in the U.S. Department of State.

Hudson said winning the fellowship “solidifies the essence of faith to me. Faith in my country, faith in my God, and faith in myself have all led me to this point. But most importantly, it was the faith that other people placed in me that has been most rewarding as I ponder receiving the Pickering.”

She added that she feels honored to receive a fellowship that represents things she admires about America: “equality, opportunity, and freedom.”

Hudson, a government major with a minor in Asian studies, has always been interested in foreign service. "I just didn't really [realize] it until I came to Bowdoin. Bowdoin has helped me put a title on all the things I had a passion for doing."

The first internationally oriented class Hudson took at Bowdoin was Contemporary Chinese Cinema taught by visiting instructor Ruihua Shen. In that class, “something just began to click,” she said. Later, classes taken with Associate Professor of Government Marcia Weigle were of particular interest and influence. "She awakened something within me that I didn't know existed. She pushed [me] beyond limits
and always encouraged me to go for the things I really wanted, despite how [un]attainable they seemed.

"I know, had it not been for the Bowdoin community, and particularly Marcia Weigle, I wouldn't have attained this fellowship."

Hudson is spending this summer working with United Leaders Institute for Political Service in Washington, D.C. She was a fellow with the program last year and was invited to join the staff this year. The United Leaders program was developed to train and equip young people with the necessary skills to pursue honorable careers in public service.

“I know that what I learned last summer helped deepen my desire to work in the public sector,” she said, “and I truly value the work that United Leaders does to ensure young people, just like me, have the opportunity to succeed and pursue their dreams.”

At Bowdoin, Hudson is active in a wide range of cultural clubs, including the Korean-American Students Association, African American Society, and Asian Student Association. She is also a member of the judicial board, participates in the Women of Color Bible Study group, and is active in the Theater and Dance Department. She is studying Chinese as her second language.

Hudson’s future plans after Bowdoin include earning a master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in East Asia.

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship is funded by the United States Department of State and administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The fellowship was renamed in honor of Pickering, Bowdoin Class of 1953, to honor one of the most distinguished and capable American diplomats of the latter half of the 20th century. Pickering held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service. He served as ambassador to Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, India, and the Russian Federation, finishing his career as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

The Pickering Fellowship assists with tuition, room, board, fees, and travel during the junior and senior years of college and the first year of graduate study.

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