Supporting Equity and Inclusion in the U.S. Foreign Service
by David Oehler BA ’14
Sarah Lind-MacMillan BA ’22, a Chinese transracial adoptee and L&C’s current student body president, has been awarded a 2022 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University. The Rangel is awarded annually to only 45 students nationwide.
The fellowship subsidizes two years of graduate study and extensive professional development opportunities, including internships, mentors, and skills training. As a Rangel Fellow, Lind-MacMillan will intern with a member of congress on issues related to foreign affairs in summer 2022. In summer 2023, the State Department will send her overseas to intern in a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to get hands-on experience in U.S. foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service. Upon successful completion of the program, Lind-MacMillan will become a U.S. diplomat in summer 2024.
“I always knew I wanted to major in international affairs,” says Lind-MacMillan. In fact, she was dedicated enough to finish her major early, completing her thesis (which received departmental honors) in her junior year. Over the course of her time at Lewis & Clark, Lind-MacMillan cofounded the Adoptee Club, which she still leads, and grew her initial position as engagement and outreach coordinator for the Associated Student Body (ASB) into her current position as president. Lind-MacMillan says she “did not plan on becoming the student body president,” but when presented with the chance to run, she realized that it would allow her the opportunity for further community service and involvement.
Lind-MacMillan credits her background and upbringing with inspiring her to follow this path. “As a Chinese transracial adoptee, I am particularly excited about showing that all kinds of people can represent America,” she says. “I remember numerous times growing up when people would tell me I was not an American because I was Chinese. I want to help remind others that America is a diverse country with many ethnicities and backgrounds represented.”
Indeed, Lind-MacMillan connected with her heritage from a young age, attending a Chinese immersion school in Minneapolis, where she learned Mandarin and interacted with many teachers and students from all over China and Taiwan. “This kind of cross-cultural exchange was really valuable … and it has shaped my approach to international relations today.”
In addition to her studies, Lind-MacMillan is currently interning with the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, where she is assisting in research for an annual report on human trafficking. She credits Elizabeth Bennett, Joseph M. Ha Associate Professor of International Affairs, for fostering her interest in human rights, as well as Laura Thaut Vinson, assistant professor of international affairs and Lind-MacMillan’s advisor, for her support and feedback.
Now, with graduation on the horizon, Lind-MacMillan looks to her future work as a Rangel Fellow with equal parts excitement and trepidation. “I have developed so many amazing friendships at Lewis & Clark and in Portland that it is hard to leave,” she says, “But I know this opportunity will help me grow further.”
Lind-MacMillan is the third Lewis & Clark student honored with receipt of this fellowship. She follows closely on the heels of Rangel Fellow, previous student body president, and friend Mikah Bertelmann BA ’21, who she says also played a role in inspiring her to apply. Paloma Gonzalez BA ’04 was L&C’s first Rangel recipient.
“I have been so lucky to be part of a strong community that believes in me and have mentors who have pushed me to be better,” says Lind-MacMillan. “I want to bring that same kind of support into the foreign service to create a better space for people of diverse backgrounds.”