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Two Howard University Alumni Awarded 2020 Pickering Fellowships

Erick Boone and Uri-Biia Si-Asar


WASHINGTON – Two Howard University alumni, Erick Boone and Uri-Biia Si-Asar, are recipients of the 2020 Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship, a U.S. Department of State program that seeks to attract and prepare young people for careers in foreign service. Boone and Si-Asar are the first recipients from Howard University to be selected for the program in the past 10 years.

“The Pickering Fellowship recognizes young leaders with a passion and commitment to foreign service who seek to positively impact the global community,” says President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “Congratulations to Mr. Boone and Ms. Si-Asar for receiving this prestigious award. The Howard community looks forward to following your journey toward what we know will be successful careers in foreign service.”

Howard University administers the Pickering Fellowship annually. Upon successful completion of a two-year master’s degree program and fulfillment of foreign service entry requirements, fellows work as foreign service officers with the Department of State. Pickering Fellows serve in Washington or at a U.S. embassy, consulate or diplomatic mission around the globe. The program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the U.S. Foreign Service, women and those with financial need.

Information about the Howard University 2020 Thomas R. Pickering Fellows is referenced below:

Erick Boone, Class of 2018

Boone graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in legal communications from Howard University. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, his passion for international affairs and public service led him to Howard, where he enrolled in the School of Communications. While on campus, Boone volunteered in the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center, helped found the Howard University chapter of the United Nations Association on campus, and presented research as a member of the Annenberg Honors Program.

“Although I loved studying languages and foreign cultures, I had no definitive goal,” says Boone. “Following those passions provided me with experiences and skills that quietly formed a path for me. It led me to a place where my specific passions and skills converged—the Department of State. A career as a foreign service officer became that perfect union, and thanks to the Pickering Fellowship, it finally feels within reach.”

After graduation, Boone worked as a program assistant for the Young African Leadership Initiative. He traveled to France where he taught English and American History through the Teaching Assistant Program in France. He currently works as an intern for the Department of State and as a policy fellow for the U.S. Helsinki Commission, where he focuses on human rights issues. Boone plans to pursue a master’s degree in public diplomacy before starting a career as a diplomat.

Uri-Biia Si-Asar, Class of 2015

Si-Asar graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a concentration in international relations from Howard University. Born and raised in Twin Cities, Minnesota, Si-Asar traveled to Washington where she interned at the Federal Reserve Bank and the Office of Congressman Keith Ellison. She has also served as a program instructor with the Close Up Foundation, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that believes a strong democracy requires active and informed participation by all citizens.

“I am so honored and excited to become a Pickering Fellow,” says Si-Asar. “It means the world to me that others are willing to invest in me and my dreams. I've planned to become a foreign service officer since the 12 years old and I am happy to be one step closer to achieving that dream.”

Si-Asar, who is proficient in French and is TEFL certified, currently serves as a returned Peace Corps volunteer, where she is a secondary education English teacher in Benin, West Africa. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in international relations.

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About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 70 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.

Media Contact: Misha Cornelius, misha.cornelius@howard.edu