Wellesley College Alumnae Appointed to United States Foreign Service

September 8, 2009
Molly Tarantino

Wellesley Alumnae (from top): Jessica Berlow, Jennifer Jensen and Katherine Musgrove

WELLESLEY, Mass. – Wellesley College graduates Jessica Berlow ’03, Jennifer Jensen ’09 and Katherine Musgrove ’09 have received appointments to the United States Foreign Service – joining the ranks of another famous Wellesley diplomat.

“It just seemed fitting that we will be serving under (Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton, really letting Wellesley leave its mark on the State Department,” Jensen said.

The women will begin training Sept. 14 and will be assigned to new countries about every two years. Each completed rigorous evaluation and testing, sometimes lasting more than a year. Of the more than 20,000 applicants, only between 250-500 were ultimately offered a spot.

“Foreign service officers are the people who work in U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to protect U.S. interests abroad,” said Musgrove. “Officers have one of five career tracks: management, consular, political, public diplomacy or economic track.”

Jensen and Musgrove will both serve as economic affairs officers, while Berlow will serve as a political affairs officer.

Berlow majored in political science and Japanese studies at Wellesley before winning a Fulbright Fellowship to Okinawa, Japan, to pursue research on the American military presence in Japan and U.S.- Japan defense relations. Following the completion of an M.A. in international relations and economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, she joined the State Department as a presidential management fellow and currently serves as a foreign affairs officer working on counternarcotics policy for southwest Asia. She speaks Japanese, Spanish and Mandarin.

“I look forward to building upon the Washington and interagency policy-making experience I've gained while working for the Department's Civil Service,” she said. “During my time with the Foreign Service, I hope to be able to pursue postings to several countries across East Asia, Southeast Asia and Central Asia, as well as perhaps return to Afghanistan or Pakistan in the near future.”

Jensen, a 2009 graduate of Wellesley, majored in East Asian studies and minored in economics. While at Wellesley, she spent a summer teaching piano lessons in rural Korea and another studying at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China. She was a member of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and participated in a variety of community service activities. She also participated in Strait Talk, a Brown University-based organization that brings together 15 top students from mainland China, Taiwan and the United States to create solutions to the Taiwan conflict, something she described as a deeply formative experience.

Musgrove, a 2009 graduate of Wellesley, majored in economics and Spanish. While at Wellesley, she was active in the Chamber Music Society and the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra and served as president of the Guild of Carillonneurs. A summer internship at the Department of Commerce in Kansas City gave her some insight into her future career interests and goals.

“I knew when I started my senior year at Wellesley that I wanted a job that was in the public or not-for-profit sectors and I also wanted my job to have an international focus,” she said. “The Foreign Service was a perfect combination of those criteria.”

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.