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Furman graduate named Rangel Fellow

Furman graduate Natalia Arenas

Natalia Arenas, a 2015 Furman University graduate from Simpsonville, has been selected as a Fellow in the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program.

In a highly competitive nationwide process, Arenas was one of only 30 Fellows to be selected for the program.

The Rangel Program is a collaborative effort between the U.S. State Department and Howard University that seeks to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State.

“This honor represents a multitude of things for me,” says Arenas, who was halfway through a flight to Taiwan on a teaching assignment when she learned the news. “First, it’s the result of many mentors having faith in me and encouraging me to continue pursuing my goals that some regard as far-fetched. Second, it’s the opportunity to impact international communities by negotiating mutually beneficial foreign policy.”

Arenas will learn of her first post assignment following graduate school in 2018 and after she completes the Foreign Service Officer (FSO) exam.

She says, “I can be placed anywhere in the world …that’s what excites me most about the Foreign Service. There will be countries I never imagined I’d visit or become an expert of their political situations. It’s an opportunity to take my knowledge on international relations and area studies, apply it to various nations, and continue to learn every day.”

The program helps support two years of graduate study, internships and professional development activities, and entry into the Foreign Service.

“The fellowship will prepare me to hit the ground running as soon as I begin my work as a FSO,” Arenas said. “As a Rangel Fellow, I will enter the Foreign Service with advanced skills and knowledge early in my career to quickly and effectively influence U.S. initiatives in my post assignments for the short two to three years I’m there.”

Rangel Fellows are committed to serving their country and promoting positive change globally. Individuals who have successfully completed the Rangel Program are now serving in countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, China, Korea, Bangladesh, Spain and Ireland.

Arenas, who majored in political science and Chinese studies at Furman, is the second Rangel Fellow from the university since the program began in 2002. Arenas was also named a 2015-2016 Fulbright Scholar, a program which took her to Taiwan where she is currently teaching.

For more information, contact the Furman News and Media Relations Office at 864.294.3107. More information about the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program may be found at

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