Jaime Cantwell ’22 Awarded NYU Shanghai’s First Rangel Fellowship

jaime cantwell, nyu shanghai's first rangel fellowship winner
Feb 1 2024

Jaime Cantwell ’22 is one step closer to her dream job after being awarded the Rangel Fellowship by the US Department of State’s Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program. As NYU Shanghai’s first ever Rangel Fellow, she will receive funding for a master’s degree, two summer internships, mentorship from a Foreign Service Officer, and a guaranteed appointment as an FSO upon graduation. Cantwell is one of 45 fellows selected this year from a record number of over 1200 applicants.

“The Rangel Fellowship will give me a guaranteed appointment in the Foreign Service upon completion of my master’s program, which is the career I’ve dreamed of since 2016,” said Cantwell. “The Foreign Service appealed to me because it is a career where I can use my language skills, learn about other languages and cultures, and contribute to the diversification of US representation abroad.”

Hailing from Redmond, Washington in the US, Cantwell graduated from NYU Shanghai with a social science major (political science concentration) and minors in Chinese and linguistics and says that the University has been instrumental in providing career-shaping opportunities. Working alongside the Admissions team as an International Admissions Ambassador Captain, she addressed applicants and their families all over the world. “This job became an integral part of my undergraduate experience…[and] developed my skills in public speaking and intercultural communication that I will use as an FSO.”

Learning to adapt to new and different environments was another crucial skill that Cantwell developed as a student moving between the Shanghai and New York campuses–a skill that has mattered a lot in preparing for her future career. 

“That was a driving force in my choice of my current master’s in Central and East European, Russian and Eurasian Studies through the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree Scholarship program, where I’ve studied in Estonia, the UK, and Poland,” she said. “Because of my NYU Shanghai experience, I am also better prepared to move countries every two to three years as an FSO.”

Foreign Service Officers choose from one of five areas to specialize in–Political, Economic, Management, Consular, and Public Diplomacy, and Cantwell says her NYU Shanghai experience was a motivation for selecting Public Diplomacy.

“Experiencing the positive impacts of international exchanges on US-China relations made me want to be involved in US educational exchanges with other countries, which is a major part of a Public Diplomacy officer’s role,” she said.

Over the years Cantwell has actively pursued scholarship opportunities from the US State Department, and has been awarded the Boren Scholarship, Critical Language Scholarships, Fulbright, and most recently the Erasmus Mundus scholarship. She is quick to credit NYU Shanghai’s tight-knit community and the willingness of staff and faculty to help students navigate the fellowship application process.


Jaime Cantwell playing violin as concertmaster

Left:  Filming the video Shanghai History Preserved in Song with Professor Gu Beilei of the Chinese Language Program. Right: Playing a concert as concertmaster.


“Anna Kendrick from Global Awards, Professor Ivan Rasmussen, and Professor Kelly Donovan organized a mock interview when I was selected for the final round of selection – I am especially grateful for their help in preparing for the interview,” she said.

“Over the two plus years that I have known Jaime, I truly saw her intellectual and personal development as she responded to our tough questions professionally, succinctly, and with amazing poise,” said Rassmussen. “Jaime will become a fantastic diplomat and, before she embarks on that career, the next step will be further graduate studies building upon what she's learned at NYU Shanghai."

“We are delighted to celebrate Jaime as the first-ever Rangel Fellow from NYU Shanghai,” said  Interim Global Awards Advisor Steve Iams. “She exemplifies the civic spirit and global mindset required for international exchange and diplomacy, and she will be an outstanding Fellow.”

Before embarking on graduate school, Cantwell will spend a summer as an intern at the United States Congress, followed by an internship with an overseas US Embassy or Consulate. She looks forward to bolstering her professional network through development workshops, being paired with a mentor in the Senior Foreign Service, and by participating in Rangel cohort activities. 

“These internships will help me to deepen my understanding of US foreign policy and strengthen the skills I’ll need to be successful as a Foreign Service Officer,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being part of a diverse community of individuals with shared interests and goals…[and] joining the Foreign Service with a cohort of Rangel fellows that I’ll get to know over the next two years!”