An Oklahoma City University alumna described as both driven and delightful has been awarded a prestigious fellowship in her pursuit of a foreign policy career.
DeEtta Cravens was awarded a 2014 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, giving her approximately $90,000 in benefits over two years for her to pursue a master degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, as well as one internship in Washington, D.C., this summer and one at a U.S. embassy overseas next summer, both related to foreign policy.
“The thing that separates DeEtta is her focus,” said Mary Benner, director of academic services at OCU. “She was active on campus, was active in the community and she just has known what she wanted to do and has gone about and done it.
“(She is) dedicated to a life of service, driven to reach her goals and a delightful person,” Benner said.
Cravens majored in political science, Spanish and philosophy. During college, she studied international affairs in Chile and studied Portuguese in Brazil. After graduation, she spent one year in Thailand as an English teaching assistant.
Her passion is mentoring youth, and she feels a responsibility to help others reach their goals.
“I really believe that youth and education is one of the most productive ways to transform society. I think that education truly has the power to transform a life,” Cravens said. “I’ve seen the transformation done for me. I’ve seen what working hard and what being empowered can do to a person’s life. So I want to contribute to that cause in my career.”
While Cravens is at Harvard, one of the things she will focus on is youth and education issues in developing nations. Cravens said that Harvard is making up the difference for her tuition so large bills from schooling won’t be a worry.
“I’m inspired by people that give back to the community, average people who mentor, who see the value in giving back,” Cravens said.
Upon graduation, she will be offered full-time employment as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Foreign Service.
She is currently in Washington working with Rep. Charles B. Rangel on issues related to U.S. foreign policy.
Funded by the U.S. State Department and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, the Rangel Fellowship supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Cravens said only 20 people nationwide are awarded it every year.
“We are thrilled to have DeEtta as part of the program. She brings a strong academic and professional background, as well as a longstanding commitment to service,” said Patricia Scroggs, program director. “I have no doubt that she will excel in graduate school and make important contributions to promoting global peace and prosperity as a U.S. diplomat.”