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Nahid Kadirzada ’16 is one of 10 undergraduate students selected to receive a Pickering Fellowship, which includes money for two years of school, two 10-week internships with the U.S. Department of State, and a commitment to work in the Foreign Service for five years after graduation.

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Meet a future ambassador

Kadirzada is one of ten undergraduate recipients in the nation
Johanna Bakmas May 27, 2015

Pacific economics major Nahid Kadirzada, a senior from Fremont, California, who is fluent in English, Farsi, Pashto and Spanish, is a recipient of the 2015 Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, a prestigious award given to just 10 undergraduate students nationally who aspire to careers in the United States Foreign Service.  

Funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowships provide academic and professional preparation for outstanding candidates to enter the Foreign Service. Fellows receive financial support worth up to $37,000 annually towards their senior year of college and first year of graduate school, and agree to work as a Foreign Service officer for a minimum of five years after earning their master's degrees.

"What a great accomplishment for Ms. Kadirzada to win this award alongside students from other elite undergraduate institutions," said Rena Fraden, dean of the College of the Pacific, the university's liberal arts college. "I'm so proud of our economics faculty who are doing such an outstanding job of preparing Pacific students to compete and win such opportunities." 

Pickering Fellows have demonstrated skills critical to the U.S. diplomatic corps, including dedication, initiative, integrity, and cultural adaptability. Starting this fall, Kadirzada and her cohort will begin their journeys towards representing the U.S. as Foreign Service officers.  

Kadirzada, who will spend her last year at Pacific finishing coursework, preparing for the Foreign Service exam and applying to graduate school, credits three Pacific faculty members for helping her earn the fellowship: Pacific Fellowship Advisor Susan Weiner, School of International Studies Professor Analiese Richard, and economics Professor Peter Meyer. "Professor Meyer has been a tremendous help," recalls Kadirzada, who originally enrolled in an economics course to fulfill a general education requirement. "I took one Economics class with him and I fell in love with the subject and switched my major to economics."

Meyer, Kadirzada's academic advisor, has nothing but praise for his former student. "She has maintained a strong international bent in her work.  She digs deeply into any topic she pursues, reading the prominent authors and the more obscure ones," said Meyer.

Now, Kadirzada will have one more accomplishment to add to her list.

Recipients of the Pickering Fellowship are expected to enroll in a master's degree program relevant to the Foreign Service and participate in one domestic internship and one overseas in the summers of 2016 and 2017. To learn more about the Pickering Fellowship program, visit       

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