Where Opportunity and Valerie Kennedy ’18 Met

When she first set foot on campus, Valerie Kennedy ’18 brought with her an insatiable appetite for the opportunity that awaited her at St. Thomas, which culminated in being named a prestigious Fulbright Scholar. Surrounding herself with a team of faculty and alumni mentors, Kennedy explored, researched and traveled while pursuing her political science degree.

The network Kennedy built guided her to a variety of opportunities around the world. She conducted summer research in Ukraine where she became a developing expert on post-Soviet states and presented her findings to a global conference in Lithuania. She completed an internship with the Ukrainian United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and headed to Washington, D.C., where she helped monitor Russian disinformation campaigns. She accomplished all of this while she was a Tommie.

In her senior year, Kennedy leaned on the expertise of history assistant professor Michael Blaakman, himself a Fulbright Scholar. Kennedy said when she was awarded her Fulbright Scholarship to Tel Aviv, Israel, her team of Tommies were as celebratory as she was.

Now, opportunity has brought Kennedy to Washington, where she’s working in cryptocurrency and cybersecurity, with her sights set on becoming U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

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