Penn State senior, athlete named a Rangel Fellowship finalist

Scout Cheeks aims for a career in the Foreign Service

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Scout Cheeks, a Penn State senior and Division I rugby player, has been named a finalist for the Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellowship Program.

If accepted, Cheeks will become only the third student in Penn State history to receive this competitive honor, which seeks to promote greater diversity in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State by providing financial support for students as they pursue graduate study and ultimately a career of international service.

The fellowship also places participants in two internships located in Washington, D.C., and abroad at a U.S. embassy or consulate as part of their professional development.

“We are thrilled that Scout has been selected to interview for the Rangel Fellowship,” said Caitlin Ting, interim director of the University Fellowships Office. “Scout is hardworking and determined. Despite previous accomplishments, she remains humble and reserved, qualities which will undoubtedly allow her to foster multilateral relations between the U.S. and other countries and help her succeed as a Foreign Service Officer.”

Cheeks was awarded the Boren Scholarship in 2016, allowing her to travel to Brazil and study Portuguese. She called this latest opportunity a “great complement” to her passions in linguistics and international affairs.

“Working in the Foreign Service means so much more to me than just diplomatic initiatives,” said Cheeks, a Pittsburgh native who’s studying international affairs and criminology. “If awarded, I plan to use the opportunity to make a direct impact on people’s lives: promoting peace, creating change on the social and political level, advocating for diversity, and being a spokesperson for those whose voices often go unheard.”

This semester, Cheeks is an intern with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Chair at Penn State, where she tackles social justice issues. On campus, she is also a member of the Multicultural Resource Center Council and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, among other affiliations.

She’s currently in the process of applying to foreign policy graduate programs, and the Rangel Fellowship marks a critical transition to her end goal: a career in the Foreign Service to “help formulate, represent and implement foreign policy.”

The Rangel Fellowship Program received more than 500 applications this year, with only 60 individuals advancing to the final selection round.

To learn more about fellowship and scholarship opportunities, visit

The University Fellowships Office is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated December 07, 2017