Life is coming full circle for Erika Lewis, a 2007 Rangel Fellow and Foreign Service Officer. In high school, she was first introduced to the Foreign Service on a trip to the State Department representing Mexico in the Model UN Program. Five years later, Erika took her oath of office in that same State Department auditorium, no longer a visitor, but an employee.
As a Foreign Service Officer, Erika was stationed in Mexico, the same country she represented back in high school. “I decided to apply for the Rangel Program because I believed it would provide me with the tools I needed to prepare for a career in the Foreign Service,” she said. Erika graduated with a BA in International Business from Howard University in 2007 and immediately entered the Rangel Program. She received a Master of Public Policy from Pepperdine University in 2009. During her undergraduate years, she studied at the University of Ghana, Legon and served as an intern in the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Her experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student have contributed to her professional success, but the Rangel Program has given her so much more. In addition to the “genuine investment” in the lives and careers of the Fellows that she says comes from the Rangel Program staff, Erika most valued the legislative component of the program. During the summer before the start of graduate school, Erika interned for Senator Joseph Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, having the best internship experience imaginable. With the understanding that comes from working in Congress, Erika feels prepared to bring her classroom and real-world experiences to the Foreign Service.
To prospective fellows, Erika said that she “would absolutely recommend the Rangel Program.” Currently stationed in the Bureau of Foreign Assistance in Washington with her husband and two daughters, Erika is pursuing a career as an Economic Officer. Prior to this, she served in Yaounde, Cameroon where she contribute to the development of Africa through strengthening the trade and investment relationship between the United States and Africa. Committed to service, Erika also volunteers in the communities in which she works.