FSU international affairs senior selected as Pickering Fellow, to serve in the Foreign Service 

Jenny Prunty
Jenny Prunty

Jenna Prunty, a senior at Florida State University, has been selected for the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program supported by the U.S. Department of State. 

The program provides funding, mentoring and professional development for a job in the U.S. Foreign Service to outstanding college seniors and graduates. The fellowship helps finance two-year graduate programs, provides two summer internships and offers a minimum five-year service commitment to the Foreign Service. 

“I’ve known since I started my undergraduate career that I wanted to be in the Foreign Service,” said Prunty, who is studying international affairs with a concentration in political science in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. “I’m excited to contribute my skills and story and to learn from the State Department and my cohort.” 

Last summer, the native of Evergreen, Colorado, participated in the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program, a six-week program hosted by Howard University that prepares undergraduate students for a career in international affairs.  

“Jenna’s drive and thoughtfulness allowed her to leverage her experience as a Rangel Summer scholar to a successful Pickering application,” said Bonnie Garcia-Gloeckner, assistant director for the Office of National Fellowships, who has helped Prunty over the past year as a fellowship adviser, providing feedback and guidance through various application processes. “From our very first meeting, I could see her total commitment to foreign affairs, language learning and cultural humility. As a Pickering Fellow and future foreign affairs officer, there is no doubt she will represent Florida State University with the utmost respect and dignity.” 

As a Rangel Summer scholar, Prunty received feedback on her resume, spoke with ambassadors and learned how to network. 

“I gained so many contacts from the Rangel Program, one of them being the program director of the Pickering Fellowship,” she said. “When I submitted my application, I think the name recognition went a long way.” 

Prunty looks forward to working with her Pickering cohort in training exercises and learning from their diverse backgrounds and identities, a value shared by Zafer Lababidi, associate teaching professor of Arabic. 

“Not only did Professor Lababidi teach me the Arabic language, but he also shared Arabic culture with our class and gave directed individual studies. It’s not something he had to do, but he did it because he knew we wanted to continue learning,” Prunty said.  

Lababidi’s generous instruction left a profound impression on Prunty.  

“The Rangel program was another opportunity to learn from cultures and people vastly different from me,” she said. “Now as I start my Pickering Fellowship, I’m excited to learn even more.” 

Prunty credits Florida State’s international affairs program for providing a solid theoretical foundation and teaching her the functional skills that prepared her for a career in the Foreign Service. 

“FSU has always been a haven for me academically, athletically and socially,” Prunty said. “I could not have asked for a better home to learn, grow and achieve.”