Students Erin Nelsen ‘20 and Andrea Duarte ‘19 are no strangers to success, but recently they’ve taken their achievements to the next level.
Erin Nelsen has been awarded an extremely competitive summer internship with the U.S. Department of State. Her internship will take place at the Bureau of African Affairs in the United States embassy in Dakar, Senegal. She will specifically be working in the Department’s Economics-Commercial section.
“I was very aware of the competitive nature of State Department internships,” said Nelsen. “I fully anticipated having to search for other summer opportunities. But when I received the offer, it was an overwhelming sense of euphoria.”
Nelsen is a sophomore double majoring in International Relations and Women and International Development. She applied for the position in early October, and was accepted in December, but had to undergo a rigorous background check before her secret security clearance was confirmed, which happened late last month.
Nelsen previously served as a fellow in Senator Amy Klobuchar’s campaign office, where she founded a mentoring group that focused on building a non-partisan community of women interested in helping other women in their political endeavors, and contributed to the United Nations Association of Minnesota as a journalist. She hopes that these experiences, along with her new internship, will help further her dream of one day serving as a U.S. ambassador.
Andrea Duarte is a finalist for the Truman Scholarship, a prestigious award which grants $30,000 toward graduate-level education. The scholarship is awarded to junior students who show exceptional leadership skills and who will pursue a career in public service. Duarte will participate in the regional finalist interviews, hosted at St. Kate’s, on April 6.
“This is more than a scholarship to me,” said Duarte. “It is a recognition of my accomplishments as a student, leader and community member.”
It wouldn’t be her first recognition.
Last year, Duarte won the Phillips Scholarship, another highly competitive honor, and was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to the Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet — a collaboration between the governor’s office and the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota — dedicated to creating equal opportunity for young women.
Duarte is a junior studying political science. She plans to pursue a masters in public policy and juris doctor degree at the University of Minnesota law school and Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She will dedicate her career in public service to advocating for immigrant and women’s rights.
The Truman Foundation reviewed 756 files from 313 institutions this year. Of that initial pool, 194 students made it to the final round. Only 55 – 65 people are generally selected to win the scholarship.