University Scholar Erin Bourque SSH’19, an expert on the language, culture, and politics of Russia and the post-Soviet states, has earned the highly selective Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which funds two years of postgraduate study, provides mentoring and internships, and facilitates entry into the Foreign Service of the US Department of State as a diplomat. The Pickering Fellowship seeks to attract and prepare outstanding young people, based on financial need, who will help the Foreign Service corps reflect the ethnic, gender, social, and geographic diversity of the United States. The Program encourages applications from members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women, and those with financial need.
Bourque’s first foray into Russian studies was in high school, when she received a scholarship from the US Department of State that took her from her native New Hampshire to Yaroslavl, Russia, for six weeks, where she was “dropped down in Yaroslavl barely able to say hello.” A member of the University Scholars and Honors Programs, Bourque has taken full advantage of all that Northeastern’s experiential learning model has to offer — the integration of rigorous coursework, community service, global experiences, full-time work, and student-driven research – to bring her desire to become a diplomat fully into focus. Bourque studies within our rigorous Political Science program with a focus on International Affairs and a minor in Russian Language and History and has excelled with a nearly perfect academic record. Complementing and infusing her intellectual accomplishments, Erin has amassed an extraordinary record of real-world engagement. Within Boston, Erin served as community coordinator for Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) South End, helping to build community resilience, where she was recognized with the Community Service Award for her work.
The ABCD award was the first in a long line of accolades, many of which have furthered her engagement with the field of resilience and the region of Eastern Europe, where she will have spent 20 months in total by the time she concludes her current co-op at the US Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania. A Critical Language Scholarship to Vladimir, Russia; a Boren Scholarship to fund an entire year of study in Kazakhstan; a Summer Scholars Independent Research Fellowship to study food systems sustainability across Europe; and a Global Resilience Institute citation “for outstanding contributions to the mission of advancing resilience through research and collaboration” together tell a tale of achievement begetting achievement, engagement deepening engagement.