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WVU alumna awarded Rangel Fellowship to pursue foreign service career

Photo of WVU alumna Giana Loretta standing in front of a green hedge holding a large bouquet of red and yellow flowers. She has long blonde hair and is wearing a navy blue floral dress.

Giana Loretta, a WVU alumna and 2024 recipient of the prestigious Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, will use the funds to pursue a degree in global human development and said she hopes it will help her get closer to her ultimate goal of serving her country as a U.S. diplomat. (Submitted Photo)

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West Virginia University alumna and global citizen Giana Loretta is a recipient of the prestigious Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship.

The Shinnston native is the second WVU alumnus to secure a Rangel Fellowship, which provides up to $42,000 annually for two years to students who plan to earn master’s degrees and begin careers in the foreign service.

Loretta, who graduated from WVU in 2023 with degrees in political science, philosophy and communication studies, will use the fellowship to pursue a degree in global human development at Georgetown University.

Both the fellowship and degree will help pave the way for her to become a foreign service officer.

“I am incredibly passionate about expanding global academic equity, so I am eager to implement and support educational and cultural exchange programs that foster mutual understanding and collaboration between the U.S. and other nations,” she said.

As someone who witnessed educational inequities growing up in central West Virginia, Loretta is a passionate advocate for equity in K-12 schools. While at WVU, she was named a Newman Civic Fellow and used the one-year fellowship to champion education policy change.

“I firmly believe that education is an inalienable human right, so my overarching career goal is to help students across all cultures and contexts access high-quality academic opportunities that will allow them to flourish,” she said.

To facilitate that, Loretta spent the last year teaching English to eighth and ninth grade students in Bulgaria as a Fulbright Scholar.

“Without a doubt, being a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” she said. “I’ve witnessed firsthand how educational and cultural exchanges strengthen partnerships and friendships between nations. I will always be grateful for the time I spent with my wonderful students and colleagues.”

Upon successful completion of the Rangel Fellowship, Loretta plans to serve her country as a U.S. diplomat.

“As the world becomes more globalized, I want to play a role in advancing peace, prosperity and democracy,” she said. “It is imperative to invest in the next generation of global citizens and the foreign service is uniquely positioned to make a profound impact on students around the world.”

Ultimately, she aspires to serve as a Regional English Language Officer within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of English Language Programs.

“In this role, I would be able to develop English language programs, and teaching and learning resources in foreign governments and educational institutions, that would strengthen the networks and personal connections necessary to maintaining U.S. national security,” Loretta said.

For her, success means growth.

“Being awarded the Rangel Fellowship is an accomplishment, but it isn’t success. Success is going to be what I do with the fellowship — the policies I influence, the lives I impact, the relationships I build, and how I grow as a person and professional,” Loretta said. “No matter what, I will always aspire to keep moving forward and make a positive difference however I can.”

WVU students receive support from the ASPIRE Office as they compete for nationally competitive awards like the Rangel Fellowship.



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