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Cal Maritime Senior Wins Prestigious Pickering Fellowship


 Bethany Johnson Smiling

(Vallejo, California – November 30, 2018) – Senior Global Studies and Maritime Affairs major Bethany Johnson has been awarded a prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. 
The program – funded by the U.S. Department of State – prepares a select annual group for Foreign Service careers in the U.S. Department of State. The fellowships prepare men and women, whose academic backgrounds match the skill needs of the State Department, to represent America's interests abroad.  Johnson was chosen for the 2019 cohort of 30 fellows from more than 800 applicants. 
Students are chosen based on a demonstrated intellectual background, dedication, integrity, cultural adaptability, and communication skills.  Johnson is the first Cal Maritime student to be awarded this fellowship.
"I knew that graduate school was something that I always wanted to do, and I knew I wanted to serve the United States," said Johnson. "Public policy and international relations are really where my heart lies."
Johnson will receive financial support toward tuition and living expenses for her two years of graduate school; including two paid internships, one domestic and one overseas.  Upon receiving her Master's degree, Johnson will serve five years as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer for the State Department.
"This is an outstanding achievement," said Dr. Assis Malaquias, chair of the Global Studies and Maritime Affairs Department. "Cadet Johnson represents the very best of Cal Maritime. Being selected for The Pickering Fellowship is a testament to her superior academic skills and dedication to service. She is a true leader both in and outside the classroom."
Last summer, Johnson interned with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, preparing a report on African maritime security agencies and their operations. The final report will be distributed to various governments on the continent to help them better coordinate their operations.  The previous summer, Johnson interned at the Institute for Global Conflict & Cooperation as a Research Analyst, and also as the Program Assistant for the Public Policy & Nuclear Threats symposium, where she assisted with planning and logistics.  
A first-generation college student, Johnson was raised in a family where several of her relatives were career U.S. Naval employees, and she developed an interest in serving the U.S. early on.  Encouraged by the stories told around the dinner table by her great-grandfather, a retired Naval Commander, Johnson decided that a life of public service was her goal.  Originally setting her sights on the U.S. Navy's intelligence division, Johnson eventually decided that she would be more effective working for diplomacy and change as a Foreign Service Officer.  
"I feel I can personally do more for the United States' relationships with the rest of the world in this way," Johnson stated. "Diplomacy is at the core of policy and international relations as the world changes so rapidly. I want to be at the forefront of that change." 
The Thomas R Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program is named in honor of one of the most distinguished American diplomats of the 20th century.  Ambassador Pickering holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the Foreign Service, where he served for over 23 years, before retiring as the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs.
Students in Cal Maritime's Global Studies and Maritime Affairs major develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the maritime domain, maritime policy, the management of the global supply chain, and the ethical, communication, and critical thinking skills needed to make positive contributions in the global environment.

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Last updated: 8/27/20