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Five named 2009 Scholars in the Nation's Service

Feb. 23, 2009, 1:33 p.m.

Rashad Badr Photo: Sameer Khan

Carolyn Edelstein

Carolyn Edelstein Photo: Larry Levanti

Andrew Kim

Andrew Kim Photo: Sameer Khan

Simona Li

Simonne Li Photo: Sameer Khan

William Wagner

William Wagner Photo: Sameer Khan

The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs has selected five students to be the 2009 undergraduate cohort of the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative (SINSI), a scholarship program designed to encourage and prepare students seeking to pursue careers in the U.S. government.

All Princeton juniors are eligible to apply for the competitive program. Selected students spend their final three semesters in college completing their majors along with courses in public policy, developing a familiarity with career opportunities in the federal government and spending the summer after their junior year in a federal government internship.

After earning their bachelor's degrees, students are admitted into the Woodrow Wilson School's two-year master in public affairs (MPA) program. After completion of their first year of graduate study, students work for two years in the federal government before returning to Princeton to complete the final year of the graduate program. Scholars also have the opportunity for intensive language training in the language of their choice during one summer.

"Our newest Scholars in the Nation's Service represent a range of academic, policy and geographic interests along with a demonstrated passion for public service," said SINSI director Barbara Bodine, a former U.S. ambassador and career senior Foreign Service officer and a diplomat-in-residence at the Woodrow Wilson School. "The school's curriculum, combined with extended practical work experience, provides scholars with the tools to tackle the new and complex challenges facing the nation and the U.S. government and to succeed in their chosen careers."

The 2009 scholars are:

  • Rashad Badr, a Woodrow Wilson School major from Manassas, Va., who seeks to apply his international background to the fields of diplomacy and international relations and, ultimately, a career in the Foreign Service. He currently is studying abroad at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, for a Woodrow Wilson School policy task force and will spend the summer at a U.S. embassy in the Middle East.
  • Carolyn Edelstein, a Woodrow Wilson School major from Toronto, who is pursuing East Asian studies and environmental studies certificates. Edelstein, who speaks French and Mandarin Chinese, hopes to work on sustainable development and climate change adaptation at the U.S. Agency for International Development or the Millennium Challenge Corporation. This semester, she is participating in the Woodrow Wilson School task force in Cape Town.
  • Andrew Kim, a Woodrow Wilson School major from Roslyn, N.Y., who is pursuing certificates in East Asian studies and Chinese language and culture, hopes to enter the U.S. Foreign Service. He speaks Korean and Chinese and has spent time working, studying and researching in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul. This summer, Kim plans to intern at the Department of Defense.
  • Simonne Li, a chemistry major from Alpharetta, Ga., who is pursuing a certificate in environmental studies. She will intern at the Environmental Protection Agency on coordinated national and international efforts to combat global climate change and will pursue alternative energy research.
  • William Wagner, a Woodrow Wilson School major from Montclair, N.J., who hopes to combine his passions for law and international relations toward a career at the departments of State or Justice. Proficient in Farsi and Spanish, Wagner currently is learning Arabic and taking part in the Woodrow Wilson School policy task force at American University in Cairo. He will intern at a U.S. embassy in the Middle East this summer.

Princeton formally launched SINSI in February 2006. In February 2007, the Woodrow Wilson School expanded the program to include five four-year scholarships (two years of study combined with a two-year federal fellowship) for any U.S. citizens who apply for enrollment in the school's MPA program.

The purposes of the scholarship program, modeled after the Rhodes and Marshall scholars, are twofold. The first is to raise awareness and the prestige of career government service among a new generation of college students and to encourage these students to enter government service. The second is to provide exceptional students with opportunities to experience federal government service firsthand and to gain the academic background and workplace skills they will need to succeed.

To date, scholars have pursued opportunities with the departments of State, Defense, Treasury and Agriculture, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. There currently are eight students in two-year fellowships, with another six scheduled to begin theirs this fall.

Detailed information about the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative and articles from current scholars about their experiences are available online.