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Wheaton Student Cassia Waligora to be 2023 U.S. Diplomat

January 5, 2021

Wheaton College senior Cassia Waligora was recently awarded the prestigious Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship, which will culminate with a position in the United States Foreign Service as a U.S. Diplomat.

Student Cassia Waligora 253x380Just about two years after Cassia Waligora graduates from Wheaton College, she will enter the United States Foreign Service. Her role as a U.S. Diplomat comes as part of the prestigious Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship she was recently awarded.

"It has been my dream since high school to serve as a U.S. diplomat, and it still feels surreal to me that I have achieved this goal through the Rangel Fellowship," Waligora said. "I grew up in a household where I was taught to treat everyone I met with respect and kindness, no matter their age, ethnicity, or background. In my conversations and interactions with senior-level diplomats and other fellows I have witnessed this same attitude and hospitality, and this has encouraged me as I prepare for my career in the Foreign Service."

Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. The fellowship will follow Waligora through a two-year master’s program, facilitating an internship with a member of Congress who handles issues related to the Foreign Service and an internship with a U.S. embassy or consulate. Following the completion of the program, Waligora will enter the Foreign Service as a U.S. Diplomat.

Waligora, a senior at Wheaton, is pursuing a double-major in International Relations and Mandarin Chinese. During her college career, she also studied at East China Normal University in Shanghai and spent a summer interning at the U.S. State Department in Singapore. She was also a 2019 recipient of the Boren Scholarship.

"I am thankful for the support of the professors and students in Wheaton’s Department of Politics and International Relations, as well as my colleagues and advisors in Wheaton’s Center for Vocation and Career," Waligora said. "The endless prayers and support I’ve received has allowed me to receive this fellowship and achieve my goal of serving as a Foreign Service Officer."

Waligora is Wheaton’s first recipient of the Rangel Fellowship.

"I am looking forward to continuing my studies in graduate school, as well as growing deeper into my role as a bridge between the United States and foreign nations," Waligora said. "My background in East Asia has allowed me to engage in respectful dialogues with people from different countries. As a U.S. diplomat, I hope to continue to engage in these discussions to advance U.S. foreign policy goals."

--Emily Bratcher