2021 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow Recipient

The Pickering Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to promote positive change in the world.  Upon successful completion of a two-year master’s degree program and fulfillment of Foreign Service entry requirements, fellows have the opportunity to work as Foreign Service Officers in accordance with applicable law and State Department policy, serving in Washington, DC and at a U.S. embassy, consulate, or diplomatic mission around the globe.   Fellows also agree to a minimum five-year service commitment in the Department of State’s Foreign Service.  The five-year service commitment begins upon entry into the Foreign Service.   Based on the fundamental principle that diversity is a strength in our diplomatic efforts, the program values varied backgrounds, including ethnic, racial, social, and geographic diversity.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Betty Thai is a first-generation Chinese American studying Political Science and East Asian Languages and Cultures at Dornsife. She is also pursuing a Master Studies in Law through the Progressive Degree Program. She is also highly active on-campus: Former Chapter President and Current Director of Programming of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Staff Writer for US-China Today, USC First Generation Mentor, and more.

Betty became inspired to pursue a career in Foreign Service after completing a semester abroad at Peking University as a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar. The Pickering Fellowship will be her next step after graduating this May, pursuing a 2-year Master’s degree related to Foreign Service and completing a domestic and international internship with the US Department of State. Upon graduating, she will enter the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer, representing the U.S. for a minimum of 5 years. Betty looks forward to this next chapter, hoping to create policies advocating for underserved communities worldwide.