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WVU alumna to further foreign service career with prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Jerrica “Ashley” Fox, a Beckley, West Virginia, native and recipient of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, is using her education and experiences to promote diversity in her career. 

Ashley Fox headshot
Ashley Fox

Fox currently lives in Washington, D.C., where she works as a digital media coordinator in the central communications office at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy think tank that focuses on in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level. She previously worked as a press assistant to Senator John D. “Jay” Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., and digital content coordinator at the Center for International Private Enterprise.

Fox is one of 30 individuals nationwide chosen as 2019 fellowship recipients and the only WVU graduate to receive the award in at least a decade.

“When I graduated from WVU, I had a set plan for what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to achieve it. My career trajectory has been outside of what I predicted it would be. I never imagined that I would work on Capitol Hill or that I would be helping run the social media accounts for a major think tank,” Fox said. “Had I stuck strictly to my narrow idea of success, I would have never taken up some of the opportunities that have helped strengthen me as a professional and a person more generally.”

The fellowship program will support Fox through two years of graduate studies, a domestic and overseas internship through the Department of State and, following graduation, a five-year service commitment to in the Department of State’s Foreign Service. This term of service as a Foreign Service Officer can consist of anything from public outreach to working with foreign governments on important policy issues. Fox hopes to focus on public diplomacy work.

I want to learn—about people, places, things, ideas—anything. I want to help other people learn,” Fox said. “One of the great things about this career path is that your location and responsibilities change every couple of years. I never want to get to a point in my life where I feel like I’m not learning and growing, so I hope to continue growing professionally and personally within this role.”

Fox graduated from WVU in 2013 with degrees in political science and international studies and minors in English and philosophy. She hopes to inspire others who may not have had visibility in the diplomatic career path.

“Growing up, I didn’t really have someone who looked like me to aspire to be like and that really affected me,” Fox said. “Exposure is so important in visualizing goals, and I want to make sure that I’m doing my part to show exactly how diverse the United States is and that there isn’t a set demographic or background for achieving success.”