International Relations Major Awarded Fellowship with Department of State
Rachel Arthur ’23 has been awarded a two-year fellowship in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) and administered by the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at James Madison University.
The Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellowship is a paid full-time opportunity that offers valuable experience in managing international security and humanitarian assistance-related programs.
Arthur—a native of Fairfax, Calif., with minors in economics, history, and German—is interested in working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). She discovered the fellowship via Idealist, a job board that works to connect people to social-impact jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities.
“While the fellowship is with the Department of State, I am excited about the way my responsibilities as a fellow will teach me about the grant process (which funds NGOs) of the State Department and how much the Office of Weapons Removal works with NGOs as implementation partners,” said Arthur.
During the first year, Arthur will work with the resource management team, learning about and assisting with managing Conventional Weapons Destruction (CWD) programs around the world, and negotiating grants, contracts, and other agreements for CWD implementation.
The second year of the fellowship is with the Program Management Division, where she will travel abroad to oversee CWD projects in various countries. “For context, the PM/WRA manages the CWD program, which includes an array of assistance activities that enhance U.S. security, protect civilian populations from the dangers posed by conventional arms, assist victims of conflict, and facilitate economic development. CWD encompasses small arms and light weapons destruction and stockpile management programs, as well as humanitarian mine action assistance,” said Arthur.
“The fellowship allows Rachel to build on her interdisciplinary studies in international relations as well as her internship with a global NGO in Washington, D.C.,” said Associate Professor of Politics Rebecca Evans. “She was a strong candidate because of her academic achievements, intellectual curiosity, and charismatic personality, in addition to her commitment to helping others locally and globally as a Bonner Leader, Melrose Fellow, and Model United Nations delegate.”
Arthur values the manner in which the fellowship supports her long-term career goals. “This is beneficial whether I decide to continue on in the government sector, or if I work for an NGO in the future. Gaining exposure to the various offices, grant processes, and general organization of State is valued in many internationally oriented fields because of the power and resources that the State department has access to,” said Arthur.
“For now, I hope to move into the nonprofit sector after completing my fellowship and take everything I learned over the course of my two years to inform my work in the humanitarian sector.”
Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations Johannes Karreth, who is Arthur’s adviser, called the fellowship a natural continuation of her path. “Since Rachel first started at Ursinus, she has shown a keen interest in conflict resolution and humanitarian issues,” he said. “Her experience at Ursinus combines intellectual, scholarly pursuits—using the scientific research and analysis skills acquired as an international relations major—and practical commitment, in many service roles and as an intern at an international development NGO. In conversations with Rachel preparing for this fellowship, it was clear to see how our four questions—especially ‘What will I do?’—shaped her profile as an exceptionally strong candidate who is driven by asking thoughtful questions and finding ways to make an impact.”