Ivan Pineda graduated in May 2019 magna cum laude from the University of South Florida (USF) with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Quantitative Economics. He is also a graduate of the Judy Genshaft Honors College. Ivan was selected for the 2020 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship to support graduate studies and entry into the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. After completing a Master’s in International Economics and China Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and two internships as a Rangel Fellow, he will become an Economic Officer.
Pineda is no stranger to public service and the high-stakes, demanding work he will experience in the Foreign Service. As an Air Force Reservist, he was responsible for managing service members’ medical records and implementing simulation exercises as part of preparation for his wing’s continuous global deployments. Due to his exemplary service during military training, he graduated first in his class at the Air Force Military Training Health Administration School. As an intern on Florida Senator Dana Young’s re-election campaign, Pineda worked with Senator Young’s Spanish-speaking constituents to explain the Senator’s stances in key local issues and communicate their policy concerns to help Senator Young plan a more inclusive and effective campaign.
In summer 2017, Pineda studied Chinese at the American Council’s Taiwan Intensive Summer Language Program with support of the Freeman Asia Scholarship and the Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship. The following summer, he was selected for the Critical Language Scholarship program in Dalian, China. “I experienced intensive study and practice of the Mandarin language and was involved with my host community in a way that few Americans get to experience,” Ivan says. This robust training in Mandarin language prepared him to undertake his Honors College thesis that explored transnational issues affecting politics and economics driving Chinese investments in renewable energy sectors in Italy and Brazil.
While at USF, Pineda developed and executed programs surrounding health and community involvement as a Peer Health Educator with the Student Wellness Center and as a Lead Fellow in student government. He also contributed to efforts to internationalize USF through involvement in the Chinese Language Club and the United Nations Student Alliance. Ivan believes his involvement in the USF community provided an exceptional avenue for him to achieve his goal of supporting entrepreneurship and other commercial interests between the U.S. and foreign governments. “USF provided me with opportunities to get involved on campus and encouraged me to develop a scholarly mindset through classes and research opportunities,” Ivan says.
During the application process for these national scholarships, Ivan worked closely with the Office of National Scholarships (ONS). "USF and ONS have truly been a blessing for me," he says. "ONS supported me throughout the entire process, from finding out what programs I’m eligible to apply for to working with my recommenders to submit a competitive application,” he says. “I think it is important to have a clear goal in mind and articulate how a scholarship program will help you achieve it.”
The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship aims to promote greater diversity and excellence in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. Fellows receive $37,500 annually for a two-year graduate degree in a field of their choice related to the Foreign Service, paid summer internships with a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and at embassies abroad, professional development training and mentoring from senior Foreign Service Officers.
The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 15 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.
Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) offers a variety of scholarships to undergraduates who plan to study abroad on a program that is at least four weeks in length. Preference is given to first-generation students, ethnic minorities, and community college students. Eligible students must demonstrate financial need.
Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. Preference goes to students studying Asian language and culture.