SMU student Delphina Rivas selected for US Department of State's Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship

Following a highly competitive application process, SMU student Delphina Rivas is one of 15 individuals nationwide selected by the U.S. Department of State for the notable Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship.

In this two-year fellowship program, Rivas will receive up to $87,000 in academic funding for two years, two summer internships, professional development and mentorship. Upon successful completion of the fellowship, Rivas will receive an appointment in the Foreign Service as an Information Management Specialist.


Born and raised in Texas, Rivas is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Computing from SMU (Southern Methodist University). At SMU, she participated in the Hilltop Scholars Program, and is now a Provost Scholar. Rivas developed her appreciation for experiencing different cultures while working as a student assistant in Southern Methodist University’s International Student and Scholar Services program. In her free time, she enjoys ceramics, theatre, quilting, and most other types of art.


“I am excited to use my background of interacting with international students to learn more about other countries and cultures,” says Rivas. “The opportunity to fuse my passion for travel with my technological abilities is a dream come true.”


Funded by the Department of State and administered by TWC, the FAIT Fellowship aims to attract top technology talent that represents the ethnic, racial, gender, social, and geographic diversity of the United States. The FAIT Fellowship encourages applications from women, minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, and those with financial need.


FAIT Fellowship program provides each fellow with:

  • Up to $87,000 in academic funding over two years (junior and senior years of a bachelor’s degree program or a two-year master’s degree program)
  • Two summer internships – one at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. and one at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas
  • Professional development and personalized mentoring during the fellowship program

After successfully completing the FAIT Fellowship program and the Foreign Service entry requirements, Fellows receive an appointment in the Foreign Service as an Information Management Specialist, and they launch exciting careers using their technology skills to support U.S. diplomacy abroad.


“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 (TWC). “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.”


Of the 15 FAIT Fellows for the 2023 cohort, seven are in the graduate fellowship and eight are in the undergraduate fellowship. Listed below are the 15 fellows, along with the universities they plan to attend as FAIT Fellows:


Graduate fellows:

  • Christopher Catalina, University of Utah
  • Kacey Grafing, Central Michigan University
  • Lisa Guagliano, Georgetown University
  • Justin Hayes, Western Governors University
  • Mason Perry, Brigham Young University
  • Brandon Sanders, University of Alabama
  • Courtney Souter, Georgetown University

Undergraduate fellows:

  • Mohinur Abdullaeva, Baruch College
  • Iyouel Endashaw, George Mason University
  • Othello Herbert, Columbia University
  • Levi Kottut, University of San Francisco
  • Karol Planadeball, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott
  • Maisha Rauzat, Pace University
  • Delphina Rivas, Southern Methodist University
  • Swechchha Shrestha, University of Maryland, College Park


The 2024 application cycle for the FAIT Fellowship program is planned to begin in September 2023. Announcements will be posted online at and shared on social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. -- The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars