University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM Alumna Named Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow

Allison Carragher
Photo courtesy of Allison Carragher.

University of Vermont alumna Allison Carragher ’06 has been named a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow. Carragher is the first UVM student to receive this highly competitive and prestigious award.

Carragher is one of 20 Pickering Graduate Fellows who will receive financial support towards a two-year, full-time master’s degree program in a foreign affairs field. She plans to attend graduate school at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University, where she will pursue a master of arts in international relations with a focus on international development. Ultimately, she aspires to become an economic officer in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Carragher’s Pickering Fellowship follows a distinguished undergraduate academic career at UVM as well as an impressive professional record. She graduated magna cum laude from the John Dewey Honors Program (which preceded the Honors College) as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  A political science major, Carragher received the department’s Warren R. and Mildred Austin Prize for International Peace and Security study in 2006.  She was also a member of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women as well as Pi Sigma Alpha (the national political science honor’s society).

After graduating she moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for a law firm before joining Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign in 2007 as a youth vote director. She worked in several swing states during the election (including Iowa, Colorado and Ohio) before returning to Washington and joining U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy’s staff. Carragher spent a year working for the Vermont senior senator before rejoining the Obama team in the White House. Most recently, she worked in the office of the President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution, which provides loans and political risk insurance to U.S. companies investing in emerging markets.

"Allison was a wonderful student, both talented and dedicated,” says associate professor of political science Pat Neal, one of Carragher’s mentors. “She is an excellent representative of our department and university, and she will surely make a great contribution to the public good through her service."

The fellowship will cover up to $40,000 per year of Carragher’s costs for two years of graduate study, which she will begin this summer. In addition to the financial support, Carragher will have the opportunity to participate in one domestic and one overseas internship with the U.S. Department of State. In exchange for the fellowship, Carragher (and all Pickering fellows) will commit to three years of service as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State.