Meet the Fellows: 2015 Pickering Fellow Elvia Valle
This is one of a series of posts featuring Fellows from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation network.
It was a high school experience that initially sparked Elvia Valle to pursue global studies and seek a career with the Foreign Service. The 2015 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellow talks about her path:
“I grew up in a small town near Austin, Texas. After meeting a high school exchange student when I was 9, I became obsessed with going abroad myself. Financial need added to the difficulty of my search, but Rotary International turned this dream into reality, and I was able to spend a year in France when I was fifteen—the minimum age to do a high school exchange.
“During this year,” Elvia remembers, “I was confronted with difficult questions about America’s very unpopular engagement in Iraq. This made me realize the importance of understanding American domestic and foreign policies so that I could better represent the U.S. abroad. More importantly, the exposure to foreign cultures and dialogue inspired me to do a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange year in Germany after high school and to subsequently major in Global Studies at St. Edward’s University.”