By Whitney Hale
The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that recent College of Arts & Sciences philosophy graduate Benjamin Troupe, of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, was named a finalist for the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Troupe is one of 60 national finalists who will interview for the fellowship in Washington, D.C., in mid-April.
Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, the Pickering Fellowship Program provides graduate students with up to $37,500 annually in financial support for a two-year master's degree in a field related to the Foreign Service, as well as internships, mentoring and professional development to prepare them for a career with the department. Upon successful completion of the program, Pickering Fellows have the opportunity to work as a foreign service officer based on the needs of the State Department, serving in D.C. or at a U.S. embassy, consulate and diplomatic mission around the globe.
A member of Phi Kappa Phi, Troupe earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and minor in political science, summa cum laude, from UK in December 2017. At UK, he created and led the Fayette County Public Schools Recycled Bench Initiative in coordination with the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council, UK Recycling Office and Office of Sustainability, and funded in part by the UK Student Sustainability Council. Troupe also was a student member of the President's Sustainability Advisory Committee (2016-17 and 2017-18), the Sustainability Strategic Plan Steering Committee, the Faculty Sustainability Council(inaugural student member 2016-17 and 2017-18) and the Student Sustainability Council(2016-17).
In addition, Troupe conducted independent research on the interrelation of humanity and nature, and presented his research (“An Earth Ethic for the New Millennium”) at the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research and the 2017 UK Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars. Troupe’s research was partially funded by his 2016 UK Sustainability Research Fellowship.
Troupe, who previously interned in the Lexington Mayor’s Office and with the Kentucky Secretary of State, completed an internship as a Robert and Anne Trunzo Scholar at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin last summer.
The Pickering Finalist credits several UK faculty as mentors during his studies and the awards process. “I would like to especially thank Dr. Eric Sanday, Dr. Bob Sandmeyer, Dr. Eric Weber, Dr. Bill Swinford, Dr. Patricia Whitlow, Shane Tedder, and my friends and family for supporting and encouraging me throughout my academic career," Troupe said.
Troupe applied for the Pickering Fellowship through the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, part of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Student and Academic Life at UK. The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office's director, Pat Whitlow, well in advance of the scholarship deadline.