The Library of Congress, Spain ... and now Brooklyn

A new Foreign Affairs Information Tech fellow heads to NYU Tandon

If you were a child in the early 2000s, you might remember the craze for Neopets,  virtual creatures that users could adopt and care for online. For some, like Alicia Moran, the platform was more than just a fun way to pass the time; it was the spark that ignited her interest in computers and coding. 

Moran has come a long way from those days of teaching herself HTML to customize her Neopets’ environment and accessories. She recently became one of 15 individuals nationwide to be awarded a Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship by the U.S. Department of State — an honor that includes academic funding for a two-year IT-related master’s degree program, two summer internships (one domestic and one overseas), professional development, and mentorship. The Fellowship is a joint initiative of the State Department and The Washington Center, an organization that aims to help young people translate their degrees into fulfilling career paths. Upon successful completion of the fellowship, she will receive an appointment in the Foreign Service as an Information Management Specialist.

Moran, who earned an A.S. in Professional Studies from Bergen Community College and a B.S. in Information Technology from Pace University, will be headed to Tandon in the fall to pursue a master’s in Management of Technology thanks to the prestigious fellowship, which is funded by the Department of State and administered by The Washington Center to attract top technology talent that represents the ethnic, racial, gender, social, and geographic diversity of the U.S.

“I’m a native of New York City, and NYU has always been a dream school for me,” Moran, a first-generation college student whose parents emigrated from Mexico before she was born, says. “Becoming a FAIT Fellow will allow me to pursue all my passions at Tandon: travel, technology, and public service.” 

Moran’s required overseas internship will be far from her first global experience. As a Gilman International Scholar, she studied abroad in Spain as an undergraduate, and took the opportunity while she was away to visit Germany, Morocco, Italy, and numerous other locales. “During my time studying abroad, I had to work through language barriers, learn cultural awareness, and be adaptable in unfamiliar situations,” she says. “Those experiences have given me a unique perspective and will help me positively represent my country when I join the Foreign Service.”

(Her CV also includes a stint as a program analyst intern in the Office of the CIO for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery at the Library of Congress, where she helped ensure that the Library’s information systems remain available in the event of an IT service disruption and honed her interest in public service.)

“We’re very proud of the talented, diverse group of students selected for the 2023 cohort of this unique fellowship program,” said Kim Churches, president of The Washington Center. “As a pathway to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree and to launch a career in the Foreign Service, the FAIT Fellowship is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.”