Khalil Bentley '20 awarded graduate school scholarship

Khalil Bentley ‘20, winner of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship.

International Studies major Khalil Bentley ‘20 has been awarded a prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship. In the Q & A below, Bentley shares insights about his time at Denison and his preparation for a future as a Foreign Service Officer.

What drew you to your major?

I always had in interest in international relations and working in government.

Did you have a favorite class or professor?

I had a lot of stand-out classes while at Denison including Pre-colonial African History with Dr. Joanna Tague and Modern Latin America with Dr. Lance Ingwersen. These classes broke down the very broad history of two large regions that I had interest in but knew little about. These classes were engaging, the professors were thoughtful and down to earth, and I felt challenged every time I came to class.

What are you planning to do with the Fellowship?

I will be able to pay for grad school to study diplomacy and foreign affairs and join the Department of State as a foreign service officer.

How did Denison prepare you for that work?

Denison brewed in me interest in the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America that I want to focus on while serving as a Foreign Service Officer. In addition, Denison prepared me for the Pickering Fellowship with beneficial opportunities such as serving as a student ambassador and mentor with the Paving-The-Way first year pre-orientation program with the Office of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs and opportunities like studying abroad in Cuba at the University of Havana through the Office of Off-Campus Study.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I encourage more students of color at Denison that are thinking about serving in government to consider diplomatic fellowships like the Pickering and Rangel Fellowships. My ambition is to see greater numbers of people of color participating in government and truly representing the mosaic that is the United States.


Khalil Bentley ‘20 applied for the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship through the Lisska Center for Scholarly Engagement. The Lisska Center supports Denison students, alumni and professors apply for nationally and internationally competitive fellowships and scholarships and research opportunities.

February 15, 2021