Alumna Ariel Daniels Receives Prestigious Pickering Fellowship

Ariel Daniels

MACON – Mercer University alumna Ariel Daniels recently received the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in international relations before beginning work for the U.S. Foreign Service.

“Ariel is the fourth Mercer student in four years to be selected for a prestigious fellowship leading to a career in the Foreign Service,” said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships and associate professor of English. “Mercer has developed a reputation for preparing students to work for the State Department where they will be able to change the world.”

The Pickering Fellowship Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, provides funding to qualified college seniors and graduates to help finance two-year graduate programs. Fellowships also include two summer internships, mentoring from a Foreign Service officer and other professional development activities in exchange for a five-year commitment to the U.S. Foreign Service.

Fellows currently represent the United States in countries around the world, in areas as diverse as Africa, East Asia, Latin America, South Asia, Europe and Eurasia. They promote human rights, assist American citizens overseas, enhance prosperity and development, deepen ties between the U.S. and people around the world and support U.S. global values and interests in many different ways.

“I am ecstatic to participate in the Pickering Fellowship and intern with the Department of State,” said Daniels. “As a Pickering Fellow, I will receive a plethora of academic and professional resources that will prepare me for a successful career as a Foreign Service officer. This achievement would not have been possible without the support of the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships, Office of International Programs, current Pickering Fellows and my former professors.”

Daniels, from Milledgeville, earned her bachelor’s degree last May with a double-major in political science and international affairs and a minor in French.

She received a 2020 Fulbright U.S. Student Award and will be placed at a Moroccan public university to strengthen English language instruction during the upcoming year. She will begin her Pickering Fellowship upon returning from Morocco in fall 2022.

At Mercer, Daniels participated in an intensive Arabic language summer program at Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco and a faculty-led spring break trip to Dubai.

She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, served as president of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, was chief justice of Conduct Council, was an officer in Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority and a participant in Model Arab League. She participated in faculty-led research on environmental policy pedagogy and sex trafficking and served as a peer writing tutor.

Daniels was a Preceptor Scholar, recipient of the Dr. James and Sandra Cox Scholarship and was named to the Dean’s List.

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship is named in honor of one of the most distinguished and capable American diplomats of the latter half of the 20th century. Pickering served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan. He also was the U.S. Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he led the U.S. effort to build a coalition in the U.N. Security Council during and after the first Gulf War.

After retiring from the State Department in 2000, Pickering joined The Boeing Company. He holds degrees from Bowdoin College, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the University of Melbourne. He speaks French, Spanish and Swahili fluently in addition to Arabic, Hebrew and Russian.

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