Autumn Herndon ’19 Receives Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Herndon will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in international studies.

Photo of Autumn Herndon walkingManhattan College senior Autumn Herndon has been awarded a 2020 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, following a highly competitive nationwide contest.  

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. 

“We are truly thrilled and excited that Autumn will be joining the Pickering Fellowship Program. She demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership and commitment to service during her time at Manhattan College,” said Lily Lopez-Mcgee Ph.D., director of the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program. “These experiences bode well for her success through graduate school and in the Foreign Service as well. I look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in her career.”

After receiving a Gilman scholarship earlier this year, Herndon studied Spanish and marine biology in Panama and volunteered as an English teacher at an indigenous primary school. She also studied sociology in Colombia and lived with a homestay family in Paris to learn French. 

A native of Clifton Park, N.Y., Herndon was an intern at Corewoman in New York City, where she worked on the research team to gather data and report on political gender gaps in Latin America. She plans to advance her studies in development in graduate school to pursue a career in the Foreign Service.

The Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship will support Autumn through a two-year graduate program to receive a master’s degree in an area relevant to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. It will also provide extensive professional development opportunities, including internships, mentors, and skills training. 

As part of the Pickering Program, Autumn will have an internship based in Washington, D.C., working with the U.S. Department of State in summer 2021. In the summer of 2022, the U.S. Department of State will send her overseas to work and to gain hands-on experience with U.S. foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service.  

Upon graduation, Autumn will become a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, embarking on one of the most challenging and rewarding careers of service to her country. She will work to promote peace and prosperity around the world.


About the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program is a program funded by the U.S. Department of State, and administered by Howard University, that attracts and prepares outstanding young people for Foreign Service careers in the U.S. Department of State. It welcomes the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the State Department, women, and those with financial need. 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. 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 More information can be found online at

By Pete McHugh