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TAMIU Alum Receives Rangel International Affairs Fellowship, Accepted into Georgetown University Posted: 6/01/17

TAMIU Alum Receives Rangel International Affairs Fellowship, Accepted into Georgetown University

 

Eduardo Castillo
 

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) alum Eduardo Castillo, ’14, will soon be one of the newest faces representing diversity in the United States Department of State and abroad.

Castillo, a recipient of the prestigious U.S. Department of State’s Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, has been accepted into Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program this Fall.  The program is ranked No. 1 in the world for graduate study in international affairs.

As part of the Fellowship, Castillo will receive $95,000, which includes a living stipend over two years to complete his master’s degree. In addition, this summer, he will participate in a Congressional internship program on Capitol Hill.

During his summer break as a graduate student, the Fellowship will arrange an internship program for Castillo to work at a U.S. embassy abroad. Upon graduation, he will gain automatic entry into the Foreign Service.

The Rangel Graduate Fellowship Program is a highly competitive national program and annually selects 30 outstanding Rangel Fellows who wish to pursue careers in the Foreign Service. The Program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service and those with financial need.

Castillo, a first generation University graduate in his family, said he is grateful for the opportunity he has received through the Fellowship.

“I am excited,” he said, “Every time that I think about it, it feels surreal. There is so much that will be different and my life will change drastically. I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Castillo holds a bachelor’s degree in English from TAMIU and participated in TAMIU’s Study Abroad program four times, traveling to China, Europe, Turkey and Costa Rica. He speaks Spanish, Mandarin, Turkish and French.

He said TAMIU’s Study Abroad program was instrumental in igniting his interest in Foreign Service.

“In the beginning, I wanted to be a lawyer but as soon as I did my first semester abroad, that opened my eyes,” Castillo said.

While in China, he met a friend from Turkey and ended up visiting his country to help him teach a basketball camp for young children.

Castillo said upon graduation from Georgetown University, he hopes to get a Foreign Service assignment in China.

“China is still a developing country and I feel that I have the opportunity to gain knowledge there and impact what’s going on,” Castillo said, “I also want to show them diversity because there, some people haven’t seen someone who looks like me and who speaks Spanish. When they think of Americans, they assume they have blonde hair and blue eyes.”

The opportunity to serve his country abroad is invigorating, Castillo said.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to travel around the world,” he said, “You will be moving every two or three years to another country and that’s something that I welcome as a challenge.”

Castillo continued, “You also explore new cultures, new languages and meet a whole bunch of people. It’s an honor to be able to represent the United States abroad.”

As a first generation University graduate, Castillo said his parents have always encouraged him to get a University education.

“They are excited and they’ve always encouraged me to try my best,” he said, “They can’t understand yet the whole weight that this (Fellowship) carries but they are supportive of everything that I do and are extremely proud.”

Castillo said he feels that being from Laredo and already exposed to an international setting helped his Fellowship application stand out.

Also, TAMIU gave him the tools and opportunities he needs to succeed, he said.

“At TAMIU, I had the opportunity to participate in Study Abroad programs,” he said, “I’ve been fortunate to meet different mentors and participated in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Latino Leadership Initiative in 2013. All these things expanded my horizon and what I thought was possible.”

Castillo advised students aspiring to follow in his footsteps to step out of their comfort zones.

“Step out of your comfort zone because only then, can you learn what you like and dislike and how to fulfill your potential,” he said, “If you are always in the same zone, studying the same thing, the same area, you will not learn what’s out there and you will not take advantage of what TAMIU has to offer to students.”

Castillo said is proud of representing Laredo, Texas on the world scene.

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2180, email prmis@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

Effective June 1, summer University office hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. – noon on Fridays.