NewsFeb 1, 2021

Alumna, staffer Lesley Ells wins prestigious Pickering Fellowship

Assistant admissions director chosen for highly competitive U.S. Foreign Service Award

The arched walkway of Lawrence Hall.

Alumna Lesley Ells ’19, an assistant admissions director, recently won a 2021 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship following a highly competitive nationwide contest.

Headshot of Lesley Ells
Lesley Ells

The fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

“I learned about the U.S. Foreign Service through research on careers in public service and diplomacy,” Ells says. “Speaking with various Foreign Service officers and learning about their impactful work overseas solidified my desire to pursue a career in the U.S. Department of State.

“I look forward to representing the rich diversity of the U.S. as a Caribbean-American woman.”

Fellowship program Director Lily Lopez-Mcgee said of Ells, “She demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership and commitment to service during her time at Lesley University. These experiences bode well for her success through graduate school and in the Foreign Service as well. I look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in her career.”

Ells is originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands but grew up in Boston.

Ells earned her bachelor’s degree in global studies. She studied abroad in Hong Kong and Mexico, and later participated in the USINDO Summer Studies Fellowship in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

In addition to her position at Lesley, Ells serves as a committee member for the Authentic Caribbean Foundation. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs.

The Pickering Fellowship will support Ells through a two-year graduate program to receive a master’s degree in an area relevant to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. It will also provide extensive professional development opportunities, including internships, mentors, and skills training.

As part of the Pickering Program, Ells will have an internship based in Washington, D.C., working with the U.S. Department of State in summer 2022. In the summer of 2023, the U.S. Department of State will send her overseas to work and to gain hands-on experience with U.S. foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service.

Upon graduation, she will become a U.S. Foreign Service officer, endeavoring to promote peace and prosperity around the world.