Following a highly-competitive nationwide contest, Shiru Kimani ’22 has been selected for the U.S. Department of State Thomas Pickering Fellowship Program, an award that fully funds a two-year master’s degree program for students pursuing a degree relevant to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
The program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, will support Shiru’s tuition, room and board, and fees at a U.S.-based institution.
As part of the fellowship program, which accepted just 3.5% of applicants in 2021, Shiru will have extensive professional development opportunities, including mentorship and skills training. She will also complete an internship based in Washington, D.C., working with the U.S. Department of State in Summer 2023, and a year later the U.S. Department of State will send her overseas to gain hands-on experience with U.S. foreign policy and Foreign Service.
"We are truly thrilled and excited that Shiru will be joining the Pickering Fellowship Program. She demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership and commitment to service during her time at St Lawrence University. These experiences bode well for her success through graduate school and in the Foreign Service as well," Director of the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program Lily Lopez-McGee stated. "I look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in her career."
Shiru, an international economics and multi-language combined major and statistics minor, credits the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and St. Lawrence’s alumni network for helping her secure the fellowship.
“Participating in SLU Connect-D.C., [St. Lawrence's] LINC Mentor Program, and the McNair Program helped me get this opportunity,” Shiru said. “I made an extensive network with alumni who worked in the government and if it weren't for Marsha Sawyer and Jenny Townsend from the [University’s] McNair Program, I wouldn’t have been able to do research and solidify my career goal of being a foreign services officer.”
Associate Dean of Academic Advising Elun Gabriel says that Shiru’s selection for the fellowship represents a number of the hallmark connections and learning opportunities students have at St. Lawrence.
“Shiru is a great student who represents a variety of experiences we celebrate at St. Lawrence like the McNair program, combined majors, student-mentored research, and the internationalization of our curriculum,” Gabriel said. “It’s wonderful to see her receive this recognition.”
After completing the fellowship program and meeting the Foreign Service entry requirements, Shiru will have the opportunity to be employed by the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service for a minimum of five years. She hopes the role will bring her overseas to serve as a diplomat and inspire future Laurentians.
“I want to mentor St. Lawrence students who want to enter the foreign service and encourage them to pursue fellowship opportunities,” Shiru said.
Shiru Kimani is from Hayward, California, and is a member of St. Lawrence’s Class of 2022. She studied abroad in Toulouse, France during the Fall 2021 semester and recently completed an internship at JP Morgan's Private bank as a Wealth Management summer analyst. Shiru holds several leadership roles on campus as a Student Ambassador for the Diversity and Inclusion Department, President of the Bible Study Club, a Residential Life Community Assistant, a Student Alumni Ambassador, and Concert Co-chair for the Association of Campus Entertainment. Shiru is a Digital Scholarship Research Assistant and is involved in the LINC Mentorship Program and Campus Kitchens.