LEAD Student Benie Kwarteng '23 Awarded Prestigious Rangel Fellowship

February 24, 2023
Submitted By: Dina Morris Lyga, The Women's Advancement Initiative

LEAD student Benedicta “Benie” Kwarteng was awarded a 2023 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship following a highly competitive nationwide contest. A distinguished panel selected her out of almost 900 outstanding candidates. The Rangel Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. The Rangel Fellowship will support Benie through a two-year master’s degree in an area of relevance to the Foreign Service. It will also provide extensive professional development opportunities, including internships, mentors, and skills training. As part of the Rangel Program, Benie will work for a Member of Congress on issues related to foreign affairs in summer of 2023. In the summer of 2024, the U.S. Department of State will send her overseas to work in a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to get hands-on experience with U.S. foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service. Upon successful completion of the program, Benie will become a U.S. diplomat in summer of 2025, embarking on one of the most challenging and rewarding careers of service to her country. She will work to promote peace, prosperity, and human dignity around the world.

This spring, Benie will graduate from the University of Hartford with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science with a minor in French. She has remained highly engaged throughout her undergraduate career at the University of Hartford—including serving as a member of The Women’s Advancement Initiative’s LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) program and as Student Ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences and Honors Program. Benie was awarded a 2021-22 Dorothy Goodwin Scholarship, and a Benjamin Gilman Scholarship to study abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

In addition to the Korean language skills she cultivated during her study abroad experience in South Korea, Benie also speaks Akan-Twi, Akan-Fante, and French. Benie has specifically leveraged her proficiency in Akan-Twi and Akan-Fante throughout her field work in Ghana for her honors thesis.

Though internationally minded, Benie has remained dedicated to her home and school communities, having completed previous internships at the Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections Office and at the Governor M. Jodi Rell Center for Public Service.

Her dynamic academic and extracurricular journey is recognized by her acceptance into four top graduate schools in International Affairs: Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California San Diego, and the University of Denver. Her achievements and experiences have now led her to the Rangel Fellowship, and she is excited to prepare for her career in diplomacy. 

“The Rangel Program is thrilled to welcome Benie into our program. Her outstanding background, including her strong academic credentials from the University of Hartford, made her a highly competitive candidate. I have no doubt that she will excel in her graduate program and will contribute to promoting peace, prosperity, and human dignity around the world as a Foreign Service Officer."
— Patricia Scroggs, Director of Diplomatic Fellowships at Howard University

About the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program:

The Rangel Program is a U.S. Department of State program that aims to enhance the excellence and diversity of the U.S. Foreign Service. Begun in 2003, the Rangel Fellowship Program selects outstanding young people each year from around the country who exhibit the ideal qualities of a Foreign Service Officer. Administered by Howard University, the Rangel Fellowship supports those selected through graduate school and professional development activities that prepare them for their careers as Foreign Service Officers. With the academic, professional, and financial support from the program, Fellows now serve as diplomats around the world, contributing to a more diverse representation and effective execution of U.S. foreign policy.