December 22, 2014

African Graduate Students Eligible for Full-Tuition Scholarship to Georgetown MSFS Program

Mitchelle Osok’s life changed after a conversation with a politician in Nairobi, Kenya.

Osok, who worked for the Kenyan Parliament at the time, spoke with a Member of Parliament about his American alma mater: Georgetown University.

“He said, 'I saw this awesome scholarship they’re offering in the MSFS program for an African student,'” Osok recalls. He encouraged her to apply to the program, and she did.

From Nairobi to Washington

In 2014, Osok became the first student to receive a full-tuition scholarship to the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. 

The scholarship, designed for talented students from Sub-Saharan Africa, gives Osok the opportunity to pursue a two-year, full-time graduate degree in international affairs.

The second MSFS scholarship will be awarded in 2015.

Increasing Diversity in the School of Foreign Service

The scholarship is one of Georgetown’s efforts to expand its global network in Africa and diversify its student body.

Currently, non-U.S. citizens make up between 30 to 40 percent of the student body in the MSFS program.

“We are a program that brings students together at Georgetown from all over the globe,” said Anthony Arend, director of the MSFS program.

According to Arend, the best way to train for a career in international politics is to interact and learn with students from all over the world, such as Osok.

“Having Mitchelle as one of the class leaders brings dynamism to the program,” Arend added. 

The Top Applicant

Osok was selected from 51 qualified applicants to receive the inaugural scholarship.

A young woman with strong leadership skills and a passion for women’s issues, Osok had been actively engaged in student organizations at the University of Nairobi and in local politics in Kenya.

As a student representative for the University of Nairobi’s School of Economics, Osok helped expand internship opportunities within the Kenyan government for her fellow economics students. She also served as chairwoman for the Women Student Welfare Association, through which she launched a mentorship program that paired female students with successful professional women.

Osok’s leadership extended beyond the university’s walls. During the country’s last general election, Osok oversaw the youth campaign for the current Nairobi governor, Evans Kidero. In addition, she spoke at several student conferences for women in the United States at the invitation of Kenyan officials.

With a wide range of leadership experience under her belt, Osok was ready to further her education and selected the MSFS program for its curriculum, class size, and opportunities for students. 

In Her Own Words

The scholarship was a personal accomplishment for Osok and her family, and she views it as “a source of encouragement for the youth and women in Africa.”

“I was ecstatic,” she recalls, adding that her father told her, “'You need to understand what you’ve just achieved here, Mitchelle.'”

The 25-year-old graduate student appreciates this new chapter in her life and encourages African students interested in a career in international affairs to apply for the scholarship.

“You learn to deal with different cultures,” Osok said of her Georgetown experience. “You get exposed to so much and it will affect your thinking.”

She describes coming to Georgetown as “the best decision in her life.”