Undergrads, alumnus take part in U.S. State Department programs
Boston College undergraduates Isaiah Brown ’24 and Hunter Linton ’25 and 2023 graduate Agustin Tornabene are spending part of the summer broadening their international perspectives through prestigious fellowships from the United States Department of State.
Brown, a political science major with a concentration in international politics who is minoring in Russian, is participating in the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program, which aims to provide college undergraduates with a deeper appreciation of current issues and trends in international affairs, a greater understanding of career opportunities in international affairs, and the enhanced knowledge and skills to pursue such careers.
Along with his fellow 2023 Rangel Scholars, Brown is living at Howard University, attending classes and participating in a variety of programs with foreign affairs professionals at Howard and at diverse locations around Washington, D.C. For Brown, it’s an opportunity to add to his notable international experiences: Following his freshman year, he earned a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Russian language and culture; as a junior, he spent a semester in the Republic of Kazakhstan at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, where he learned Russian and Kazakh language and studied Kazakh culture and Central Asian politics. He has received an Omar Aggad Fellowship from BC to return to Kazakhstan this summer to do field research for his senior thesis and is applying for a Fulbright research grant in Central Asia.
Brown hopes to work abroad after graduation, particularly in a capacity that will allow him to utilize his Russian language experience. He is also interested in governmental and private-sector diplomacy, and finds great value in building relationships with others from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures.
Linton and Tornabene were awarded Critical Language Scholarships, a State Department program that seeks to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the U.S. and other countries. CLS scholars gain language and cultural skills that enable them to contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.
“Through their remarkable linguistic aptitude in languages that are critical to U.S. security, Isaiah, Hunter, and Agustin have earned well-deserved recognition with these prestigious fellowships and have set themselves on a path towards future success in diplomatic service and cultural exchange."
A member of the Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program majoring in economics and Hispanic Studies with a minor in accounting for finance and consulting, Linton received a CLS to study Portuguese in Brazil. Last summer, he was awarded a BC Advanced Study Grant Fellowship enabling him to travel to Buenos Aires, where he conducted research on the impact of chronic inflation on Argentinians living below the poverty line. Prior to entering BC, he pursued an independent inclusivity project, “Spanish, Small Business, and Our Community,” that sought to raise the visibility of the Hispanic population in his hometown of Westminster, Md., while simultaneously increasing the customer base for local businesses.
Tornabene, who earned a bachelor’s degree as a dual major in Islamic Civilization and Societies and International Studies, will study Arabic with his CLS. He was an ROTC cadet and a John Marshall Fellow while at BC and wrote his senior thesis on Islamic law. As a student at Woodberry Forest School, Tornabene served as secretary general for its Model United Nations. He plans to commission into the U.S. Army and serve on active duty.
“Through their remarkable linguistic aptitude in languages that are critical to U.S. security, Isaiah, Hunter, and Agustin have earned well-deserved recognition with these prestigious fellowships and have set themselves on a path towards future success in diplomatic service and cultural exchange,” said Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program Director Kathleen Bailey, a professor of the practice in the Political Science Department.
Bailey noted that both Brown and Linton have been mentored by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations Tony Fernandes, a BC alumnus.
“We are so fortunate to have alumni like Tony Fernandes to mentor students in the field of diplomacy and foreign policy. He has generously lent his expertise and support to equip BC students with the skills and opportunities they need for continued excellence in their future careers.”
Above image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay