Elon University senior Cedric Pulliam, a political science and international studies double major with aspirations of joining the U.S. Foreign Service, will participate this summer in a highly selective national program that introduces scholars to diplomatic officials and career opportunities in international relations.
Pulliam, also an African and African-American Studies minor, is one of 15 college students from across the United States selected for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, a six-week academic initiative at Howard University in Washington, D.C., started in 2002 as a way to promote diversity and excellence within the ranks of the Foreign Service.
It is the second consecutive year that an Elon student has been selected for the program.
Pulliam joins scholars from the University of Virginia, Northwestern University, Spelman College and Morehouse College, to name just a few of the institutions represented in the newest cohort. Rangel Scholars live on campus and take three courses for credit that transfer to their home schools, all at no charge and with a $3,500 stipend for living expenses.
In addition to classes, the scholars visit the U.S. Capitol, various embassies, the White House, the CIA and other federal agencies. They’ll also tour universities in the area, several of which are renowned for their international studies graduate programs.
“It’s going to be opening doors and helping me do my graduate school touring in the area,” Pulliam said. “Past scholars say nothing but great things about it. Some of the courses they’ve taken have been quite beneficial.”
Currently living in Malta as part of a Study Abroad program that he created, Pulliam’s interest in foreign service and international humanitarian law piqued this spring with the deluge of refugees escaping their home nations of Libya and the Ivory Coast, often risking death on the high seas until reaching the shores of the island nation.
He interned in Malta’s prime minister’s office and in the foreign ministry office as part of his Study Abroad experience. And volunteer work with Jesuit Refugee Services cemented his intentions to work abroad after he graduates from Elon.
“The Rangel program is a perfect setting for me,” Pulliam said in a recent Skype interview with University Relations from his residence in Malta. “We’re going to be meeting ambassadors, Foreign Service officers, and other figureheads within the government. I’m quite excited.”
The program is another accomplishment for a student who has immersed himself in academic and extracurricular activities at the university. Pulliam is a student program coordinator for the SMART mentoring program, and he’s involved with the Isabella Cannon Leadership Program. He serves as senator for the Student Government Association, an organization with which he’s been a member since his freshman year, and he’s a member of the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity.
The son of Charles and Tammy Pulliam of Woodbridge, Va., Cedric Pulliam is a Periclean Scholar in the Class of 2012, and he works on the Multicultural Student Council and as a Multicultural Ambassador for the Office of Admissions.
“He loves being active. He loves being engaged intellectually. He loves interacting with people,” said Prudence Layne, an associate professor of English and one of Pulliam’s mentors on campus. “I’m hoping the Rangel program, with its introduction and exposure to ambassadors and diplomats and other experiences he’ll have in D.C., will allow him to determine if he wants to go the foreign service route, or the legal route, or both.”