Alumna named Payne Fellow

Krina Patel, a summer 2012 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, has been named one of five people from across the country to receive a prestigious 2014 Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship.

The Payne Fellowship is an initiative funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and administered by Howard University that supports outstanding young people interested in pursuing careers in the foreign service of USAID. The award allows recipients to attend a graduate program and to join the foreign service upon its completion.

As part of her fellowship, Patel, who majored in political science and international studies at VCU, will attend a two-year master's of public health program at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

"I'll be in the Department of Health Policy and Management and I'll be pursuing a global health certificate," Patel said. "I want to work abroad in global health and development and eventually secure a leadership position in this field."

After completing the fellowship, Patel will work abroad for USAID, she said.

"I'm thrilled about this opportunity," she said.

Patel currently works in the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator at the U.S. State Department.

After graduating from VCU, Patel interned in the office of U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

"I covered hearings relevant to international affairs, especially health and development," she said.

Patel also had international work experience, having worked in India, and attended a Semester at Sea voyage focused on international development and took several courses at VCU dealing with international development.

Deirdre Condit, Ph.D., an associate professor and chair of political science and international studies in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, called Patel "one of those rare unstoppable forces of nature" and said she will excel as a Payne Fellow.

"From the first moment I met Krina, from her first question in class, it was clear she was someone special," Condit said. "She exudes an exceptional combination of intellectual curiosity, talent, wisdom, dedication, humility and enthusiasm for everything she does. What made her a fabulous choice for the Payne Scholarship is her energy and drive, combined with a kind of fiery determination to succeed."

Salwa Sheibany, an instructor of Arabic and French in VCU's School of World Studies, said that Patel was a "model student" and that she is going to "make a difference in the life and health of those less fortunate than her."

"Not only was she an avid learner, she was dedicated to learning and was at the top of her class because of it," she said. "She is intelligent but modest.  She is honest and genuine. Her infectious energy and smile touched everyone that she encountered. Her dedication and determination toward her education opened many opportunities for her."


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