Admissions Blog

Diplomatic Fellowship Spotlight: Airin Wu (Charles B. Rangel Fellowship)

By Angel Ornelas '24
Posted Feb 29 2024


This blog is part of an ongoing series of Foreign Service Fellow spotlights. This post highlights Airin Wu, a current Rangel Fellow and second-year SIPA student. If you are not familiar already with the Diplomatic Fellowship Fellowships, I strongly recommend you keep reading to learn more about how you can become an American diplomat AND get your graduate studies paid for.

Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Airin Wu and I’m a second-year MPA student studying international security policy and technology, media, and communications. I’m originally from Los Angeles, California, and completed my undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego. 

What led you to join the Foreign Service? Why did you choose to pursue a career in international public service?

After doing relief work in Japan after the tsunami and earthquake occurred in 2011 and witnessing how so many countries rallied in support, I knew I wanted to pursue a career doing public service on a global scale. My internship at the Scottish Parliament increased my desire to learn about and work alongside other governments as I saw how Scotland was at the forefront of implementing various important policies. Additionally, my time at the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles and the Peace Corps HQ also cemented my desire to pursue a career in the public service sector. 

What was the application process like for the Foreign Service Fellowships? 

It was a pretty daunting process that consisted of two application essays (one personal statement and one financial statement), two letters of recommendation, transcript submissions, a writing test, and a lengthy interview with former ambassadors. It took several weeks to write my application essays and several days to prepare for the interviews. Thankfully, I received some helpful tips from people who had already undergone the process.

Why did you choose SIPA? What other graduate programs were you considering?

Overall, I chose SIPA because it had an established tech policy program, the student body was very global and its location was in New York. While I was considering other programs at Georgetown or Johns Hopkins, I now wholeheartedly know that SIPA was the right choice. During my time at SIPA, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as one of the Student Life and Social Chairs for the student association, have gone on trips like Taiwan Trek to learn about Taiwan’s presidential election, am about to participate in the Global Public Policy Network competition and am currently working as the Program Assistant for the Technology, Media and Communications (TMaC specialization). 

What have you enjoyed the most about being a Rangel Fellow?

As a Rangel Fellow, I’ve loved getting to know my cohort and have appreciated the opportunities provided to me, such as internships at the U.S. Embassy in Croatia and in former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Additionally, it’s been amazing meeting various leaders who are trying to increase diversity in the State Department. 

What advice do you have for prospective applicants interested in applying to Rangel and SIPA?

For those applying to the Rangel Fellowship, I would look at the Foreign Service Dimensions and incorporate the dimensions into your personal statement. I would also reach out to current fellows, both Rangel and Pickering, to hear about their experience and to see if they have any tips for the application process! In regards to applying to SIPA, I would look into the different courses offered and the professors that teach them. It’s important to be as specific as possible about why you want to attend SIPA as opposed to other programs and mention classes/professors you’re interested in learning from or opportunities you’re planning on taking advantage of (i.e. capstone, international treks, etc.) may help! 

What are you looking forward to the most this year?

This semester, I’m looking forward to participating in the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) Conference in Paris, doing my capstone in Estonia, and exploring more of New York! Though I’ll miss New York, I’m also excited to graduate as well.