Felipe Bueno, B.S. '19, is a 2020 Rangel Graduate Fellow. "My career goal is to provide effective service to others in any capacity where I can make a difference." Cover photo for this story, courtesy of Iulian Cernatinschi
Felipe Bueno graduated in 2019 with a B.S. degree in International Relations and a B.A. in Economics. Earlier this year, he earned a prestigious Rangel Graduate Fellowship which prepares young men and women for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. With support from the fellowship, Bueno is attending Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he is working toward an Master's in Public Policy in International and Global Affairs. Bueno talked to Diplomacy student Erika David recently about his experience as an undergraduate at Seton Hall and a 2020 Rangel Fellow.
What is the Rangel Fellowship?
The Rangel Graduate Fellowship is a premier U.S. Department of State program created to attract diverse talent to its Foreign Service. The program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women, and those with financial need. The fellowship seeks individuals committed to promoting positive change in the world as U.S. diplomats for the Foreign Service. Selected fellows receive support for graduate school, internships, and professional development. The fellowship provides a pathway to a uniquely rewarding career as a Foreign Service Officer representing the United States.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the Rangel Fellowship?
To me, being a Rangel Fellow is an extension of what makes America great. It is the very embodiment of America's foundational promise. I immigrated to the United States as a 6-year-old boy from Quito, Ecuador. I had a life-threatening respiratory illness at the time. My family came to the U.S. on my mother's work visa. She had to work labor-intensive jobs to give us a slice of the American dream.
Thanks to the opportunities I was allotted upon arriving, I was able to seek medical treatment and earned an excellent education in Florida's public-school system. I was also lucky enough to attend the School of Diplomacy.
The fact that an immigrant with my background can serve as America's envoy abroad through the Rangel Fellowship Program is beautiful. The Program's recognition of diversity as a quintessentially American strength makes me proud to be an American and fuels my desire to serve my country.
How did the school of Diplomacy at SHU help you with your career so far?
The School of Diplomacy has proven critical at every point in my career. Throughout my time at Seton Hall, I worked as a writer and then served as the Editor-in-Chief of the School of Diplomacy's newspaper, The Diplomatic Envoy. The skills I acquired in this capacity proved crucial to my first job as an Editorial Fellow at Business Insider.
Thanks to the School's incredible faculty and their support, I was able to secure an internship with the Modern War Institute at West Point. The experience I gained at West Point and as the Editor of the Envoy proved crucial in my first job after graduation, when I worked for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.
What did you do to prepare yourself for this competitive fellowship?
The State Department does an excellent job of providing resources that outline expectations and requirements for the Rangel Fellowship. Additionally, the department's Diplomat in Residence program connects students with current diplomats who have invaluable insight into the application process.
Lastly, the most useful resources I leaned on were Rangel Fellows from previous years. The fellowship does a remarkable job of connecting applicants and finalists with fellows who were once in their shoes. The program coordinators have done an amazing job of cultivating a culture of giving back. Every fellow I have had the pleasure to know is thrilled to help prospective applicants. This includes myself; I am happy to field any questions students might have.
What is your career goal?
President John F. Kennedy, quoting Luke, 12:48, once said that "For of those to whom much is given much is required."
This interplay between privilege and service to others is at the heart of American Foreign Service. It is especially true of Rangel Fellows, but I also believe it is true of every student at the School of Diplomacy. My career goal is to provide effective service to others in any capacity where I can make a difference. While this might seem endlessly broad, that is the beauty of public service.