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Fellowship Prepares UCF Student for Life Around the World

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By Mark Schleub

UCF senior Nicholas Grandchamps' graduation is still a month away, but his future around the world is already taking shape.

Grandchamps was recently awarded a prestigious Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellowship that will pay up to $90,000 toward his tuition and living expenses as he pursues a master's degree, place him in paid internships in Washington, D.C., and a U.S. embassy in a foreign nation, and land him a job as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State.

"I was beyond excited. It was a shock at first, and I was humbled more than anything," Grandchamps said of learning he'd been selected. "I don't know how many hundreds applied from around the nation, but 60 finalists were chosen and then 30 fellows were selected. It was a very competitive process."

Named for the longtime New York congressman, the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program was established in 2002 as a partnership between the Department of State and Howard University to promote greater diversity and excellence in the Foreign Service.

It's a good fit for Grandchamps, a 22-year-old from The Burnett Honors College who grew up in Casselberry. He has a double major in legal studies and political science with a focus on international relations and comparative politics, plus a minor in global peace and security studies.

Foreign Service officers serve in one of more than 270 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions that represent U.S. interests in foreign nations around the world.

A couple weeks after graduation, Grandchamps and the other Rangel Fellows will report to Washington for orientation, which will prepare them for summer internships in congressional offices on Capitol Hill.

Following the Washington internship, Grandchamps will begin his graduate studies at either American University or George Washington University (he's been accepted by both). Between Grandchamps' first and second years, he'll intern at an embassy; his "top 3" list is Switzerland, Austria and South Africa.

Grandchamps will leave graduate school to start a five-year commitment in the Foreign Service.

"It's the perfect opportunity for me to launch into that career," he said.

It won't be his first time outside the country. Grandchamps has studied abroad in separate trips to France, Greece and Belize, and taken mission trips to Egypt, Haiti and Jamaica.

Eventually, Grandchamps hopes to launch his own foundation focusing on children, international development and human rights.

He is the third Rangel Fellow from UCF. Earlier fellows were Michael Marcous in 2010 and Sara Marti in 2006.

As a legal studies student, Grandchamps received ongoing mentorship from Lecturer Gina Fromang, J.D., and he travelled with her to Belize as part of a class on World Hunger, Morality and the Law.

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