The following are profiles of current and past recipients of the Kathryn W. Davis Public Diplomacy Fellowship.
James Wesley Jeffers, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2018-2019
Wesley Jeffers is a Public Diplomacy Desk Officer for Western Europe in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. He most recently finished his third tour as a Political Officer for U.S. Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan.
Wesley's first tour was at the PAO in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo where he opend the Public Affairs Section, establishing both cultural and media programs as well as the country's first lending library. His second tour was as a Consular Officer and Deputy Manager of the Non Immigrant Visa Unit at U.S. Consulate General Toronto, Canada. Wesley began working for the U.S. Department of State thanks to the Thomas Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship in August 2010.
Wesley is from Petersburg, West Virginia and obtained his BA in Political Science and Sociology at Tulane University in Louisiana and his MA in International Affairs and Human Rights at Columbia University in New York. He is a 2003 Horatio Alger National Scholar. He speaks Russian, French and Bengali.
Katherine "Kat" Tarr, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2018-2019
Katherine "Kat" Tarr currently serves as Coordinator for Japan and Korea for the Office of Public Diplomacy in the East Asia Pacific Bureau, where she works with both policy desk officers in DC and Public Affairs Sections overseas to assist in coordinating policy, messaging and programs.
Prior to this assignment she was Cultural Affairs Officer in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and before that Vice-Consul in Shanghai, China. She graduated with a Masters in International Policy Studies with a specialization in East Asia from the Monterey School of International Policy Studies (now the Middlebury Institute), in Monterey, California, and has a bachelors in Japanese Studies from Austin College in Sherman, TX. She was born in Dallas, Texas, and can speak Japanese, Spanish and a little Mandarin. She is now lliving in DC with with her husband, Davin, and their two cats. Twitter (professional): @KatTarrFSO
Maren Payne-Holmes, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2017-2018
Maren Payne-Holmes’s goal is to be well-versed in all aspects of the U.S. Department of State’s public diplomacy efforts. She just completed a tour as the Public Affairs Officer in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan where she focused on management and leadership. She managed a staff of sixteen, including mentoring two Entry-Level Officers, and a budget of close to $2.5 million.
Ms. Payne-Holmes focused on Cultural Affairs both in Turkmenistan and when she served in Astana, Kazakhstan as the Assistant CAO and she was responsible for the Education, Alumni, and Exchange programs, as well as a large number of cultural programs. As a Press Officer in the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau’s Press Office, she worked with traditional media and event organization. She covered China, Taiwan, Burma, and ten other countries, as well as major press events including Aun Sun Suu Kyi’s first trip to the United States after her release from house arrest and the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Ms. Payne-Holmes has also served in all three of the major Consular Sections of Embassy Manila and managed several of its premier portfolios, including the health screening process for more than five percent of all Immigrant Visas issued by the U.S. Department of State.
Before joining the Department of State, Ms. Payne-Holmes worked on a successful Congressional campaign for a first-time representative. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Russian and Eastern European Studies from Indiana University where she focused on Poland and identity politics in Eastern Europe. She is an avid reader and figure skater.
Julius Tsai, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2017-2018
Julius Tsai is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He just completed a tour in the Operations Center, the Secretary’s and Department’s 24/7 communications and crisis management center.
His previous assignments were at the U.S. Embassies in Manila, Philippines; and Beijing, China. In Beijing, he served as Public Diplomacy Officer in the embassy’s press office. He speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese, German, French, Japanese, and Tagalog; and has studied Classical Chinese, Greek, and Latin. He will be learning Georgian in preparation for his onward assignment as Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. Prior to the Foreign Service, Julius was an assistant professor of East Asian religions.
Mr. Tsai is a graduate of Swarthmore College, Harvard University and Stanford University. He is married to Anny Chuan; they have two children.
Elise Crane, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2016-2017
Elise Crane joined the Foreign Service in 2011, after completing her M.A. in International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Since June 2016, she has served as a Public Diplomacy desk officer focused on Ukraine within the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. From 2014-2016, Ms. Crane was a Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, where she led the consular public outreach team to promote U.S. tourism and educational and cultural exchanges. From 2011-2013, Ms. Crane was the Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, where she launched the Embassy’s interagency youth outreach program and oversaw all press relations.
Prior to the Foreign Service, Elise worked in Prague as a sales manager for Project Syndicate, a private media organization that distributes opinion content to newspapers around the world. In that role, she traveled to 30 countries to meet with editors and journalists and to promote press freedom. Ms. Crane is originally from Boulder, where she received a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Colorado. She speaks Spanish, French, and limited Russian, and she recently completed her first Olympic-distance triathlon.
Jason Frohnmayer, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2016-2017
Jason Frohnmayer is the press and public diplomacy officer in the Public Affairs, Planning and Coordination Office at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to Washington, Jason served in Canberra, Australia as the Cultural Affairs Officer and in Manila, Philippines as staff aide to the Ambassador and a consular officer. Before joining the Foreign Service, Jason worked for several years as an international supply chain manager for high tech manufacturing in both Japan and the United States. He was also a professional actor and university public speaking instructor.
Jason graduated from The George Washington University with a cum laude Bachelors degree in East Asian Studies and holds a Masters degree in Intercultural Communication, Rhetoric and Cultural Anthropology from Oregon State University. He is the recipient of three individual meritorious awards and several group awards. He speaks Japanese and is originally from Oregon.
Monica Damberg-Ott, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2015-2016
Monica Damberg-Ott joined the Foreign Service in 2009 as a Public Diplomacy Officer. Since August 2014, she is the Cultural and Educational Programs Coordinator in the Office of Public Diplomacy for the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP/PD). From 2012-2014 she served as a Political and Economic Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, India and from 2010-2012 she served as a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Damberg-Ott worked as an account executive for an advertising firm in New York. She received a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University and a M.A. from the American Graduate School for International Relations and Diplomacy in Paris, France. She speaks Polish and French. Her interests include photography, travel, and fashion.
Angie Smith, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2015-2016
Angie Smith is a regional policy officer for the Near Eastern Affairs region in the Bureau of International Information Programs, a bureau that develops multimedia and digital products that reach across platforms to connect foreign audiences to U.S. policy priorities through relatable dialogue. She served as Deputy of the Public Diplomacy section in Dublin, Ireland, from 2012-2014, where she worked on a number of initiatives including those involving youth in Northern Ireland and along the border. Previous tours include Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Jerusalem and Athens, Greece as a Foreign Service specialist. She earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago in film and studied Russian in Ukraine and Russia before joining the Foreign Service.
Shanna Surendra, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2015-2016
Shanna Dietz Surendra is currently Consul at the U.S. Embassy in London. She most recently served as the Desk Officer for Portugal and Malta where she oversaw the development and implementation of U.S. policy with European allies. In her previous assignment as Cultural Affairs Officer in Chennai, Ms. Surendra utilized educational and cultural initiatives to further foreign policy priorities and also served as the Consulate’s speechwriter. She joined the Foreign Service in 2009 and fulfilled her consular tour in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Ms. Surendra has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she worked for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development; taught English in Cairo, Egypt; and served as Assistant Editor to the academic journal, Perspectives on Politics. Ms. Surendra speaks Portuguese, Spanish, Hindi and Urdu. Originally from Michigan, she resides with her husband Shravan and son Rahm.
Carissa Gonzalez, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2014-2015
Carissa Gonzalez is currently pursuing Arabic langague training at FSI. Previously, she was the Deputy Public Affairs Officer in Montevideo, Uruguay, where she oversaw press, education, and cultural outreach initiatives, led the Mission's digital outreach and youth engagement strategy, and routinely served as the Ambassador’s speechwriter and Embassy Spokesperson. Earlier, Ms. Gonzalez served as the Political-Military Affairs Officer in Sana’a, Yemen (2009-2010), where she led the Department of State’s security and counterterrorism (CT) coordination with all host nation and U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and managed the external relations, rule-of-law, and Muslim outreach portfolios. In the turbulent environment resulting from the Arab Spring in Yemen, she served at various points (2010-2011) as Immigrant Visa Chief, Acting Information Officer/Press Attaché, Acting Political Chief, Acting Public Affairs Officer, and leader of a 24/7 Operations Center at post that oversaw all evacuation planning and communications with Washington and the public.
She has received multiple Meritorious Individual and Group Honor Awards for her service.
Ms. Gonzalez studied International Relations and Public Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School where she focused on both Latin American and Middle Eastern policy. While at Princeton, she authored a number of policy papers on U.S. national security, and an academic thesis on innovative public diplomacy approaches to combating violence against women in Jordan. Ms. Gonzalez also lived in South Africa as part of a joint research task force between Princeton and the University of Cape Town which worked on poverty alleviation solutions.
Before entering the U.S. Foreign Service in 2008, Ms. Gonzalez worked as a business strategy consultant in the banking, energy, and health services industries in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Texas, she speaks both Spanish and Arabic, plays the violin, and is an avid runner. Ms. Gonzalez looks forward to advanced Arabic studies in Washington and immersion training overseas in preparation for her onward assignment as the Public Affairs Officer and primary Arabic Spokesperson on all bilateral issues in Doha, Qatar.
Megan Tetrick, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2014-2015
Megan Tetrick is Attache for Culture and Education at the U.S. Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan. Previously, she served as the Political Officer for Internal Affairs and Human Rights in the Department of State’s Office of Russian Affairs. In that capacity, she drafted press guidance and statements on human rights and internal developments in Russia.
Earlier, Ms. Tetrick served as Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and a Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Quito. A Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine from 2003-2006, Ms. Tetrick holds a B.A. in journalism and politics from Ithaca College University and a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University.
Lia Miller, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2013-2014
Lia Miller is currently Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia. Previously, she was a public affairs specialist in the Office for International Media Engagement in the Bureau of Public Affairs. In June 2013, she served in the Operations Center as a watch officer. Prior to her assignment to Public Affairs, Ms. Miller served as the Foreign Assistance Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia managing the largest democratic transition assistance budget in the world. From 2009-2011, Ms. Miller was an advanced Arabic language student at both FSI in Arlington and the Tunis-based FSI field school. From 2007 to 2009, Ms. Miller served as the assistant general services officer in Managua, Nicaragua. Prior to that, her first posting was in Muscat, Oman where she served as the Acting Consular Chief and deputy public affairs officer in a rotational assignment. Ms. Miller is a graduate of Syracuse and Columbia University.
Erin Rattazzi, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2013-2014
Before joining the State Department, Erin worked for Human Rights Watch in London, England for several years where she created and developed the “London Network,” a young professionals group mobilized to achieve outreach, fundraising and advocacy objectives. Erin had been living in London when terrorists launched a series of coordinated attacks using the public transportation system on July 7, 2005. It was shortly after these attacks that Erin began considering a job in the Foreign Service. Erin joined the State Department in 2008 where she spent a year learning Vietnamese before heading to her first post in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. While in Vietnam, she managed a S/GWI grant to support women’s rights and gender equality for a rural community and development center. After her tour in Vietnam, Erin served in Kabul, Afghanistan as assistant information officer. It was an eventful year in Afghanistan, which included attacks on the Embassy, one Presidential visit and two Secretarial visits. While in Afghanistan, as part of the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign, Erin worked with the local videographer to film sixteen public service announcements featuring prominent and influential Afghans condemning gender-based violence.
As the public affairs officer in the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Erin led the Department’s public diplomacy and public affairs work to advance Sudan and South Sudan policy and helped to align these efforts with the President’s strategic goals toward Sudan and South Sudan, focused on supporting the development of two viable states at peace internally and with each other.
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Erin Rattazzi has a bachelor of arts in English and a bachelor of arts in history from UCLA and a master of philosophy in justice and transformation, specializing in human rights, from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She speaks Vietnamese and Spanish.
Glen Davis, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2012-2013
Glen Davis is the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus. Previously, he was Desk Officer for Public Diplomacy in Afghanistan, the primary liaison between Washington and post for the largest public diplomacy effort in the State Department. He has also worked as Deputy PAO in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where, as press officer and cultural attaché, he created a number of programs to foster reconciliation among Sri Lankans in the aftermath of the long insurgency that ended in 2009. Before that, he was vice consul in London. Mr. Davis has received two individual Meritorious Honor Awards from the State Department and several group awards.
Before joining the Foreign Service in 2006, Mr. Davis enjoyed one career as a student, teacher, and scholar of literature and philosophy and a shorter one as a telecommunications consultant. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he speaks Italian, French, German, and Sinhala and reads Latin and Greek. He holds an honors degree in History and Literature from Harvard University and Master’s degrees from St. John’s College in Annapolis and the University of California at Irvine. He has the unusual distinction of having met his wife at a monastery.
Addie Schroeder, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2012-2013
Addie Schroeder currently works as the Acting Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid. Her previous tours include: Line Officer in the Executive Secretariart, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer in Baghdad, Assistant General Services Officer in Moscow, and Consular and Economic Officer in Athens. She holds an MBA with a concentration in International Business and a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining the Foreign Service she worked for UPS. She speaks Arabic, Russian, and Greek, and her hobbies include running and scuba diving.
Nicholas John Crocker Snyder, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2011-2012
Nick Snyder is a Foreign Service officer. He is serving as Special Assistant for Asia in the Office of the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. In additon to the U.S. Embassies in Singapore and Vietnam, Nick also served at U.S. Embassy Beijing where he was an Assistant Spokesman. He held several portfolios in the Press Office, where he specialized in print media and served as the point person for media freedom issues.
Previously, Nick served as a member of the Operations Centers' INR Watch from 2005-2006, holding among the highest clearances in the United States government and routinely briefing senior State Department officials and agencies around Washington on breaking news and intelligence. His first Foreign Service assignment was at United States Consulate Casablanca where his duties included consular affairs, counterterrorism, and political reporting. Nick is the recipient of an individual Meritorious Honor Award, as well as several group Meritorious Honor Awards. he was selected by the BMW Foundation as one of its Young Leaders in 2006 and participated in the 2006 and 2007 Transatlantic Forum.
Prior to joining the Untied States government, Nick was an Information Officer at the United Nations Secretariat, where he helped organize the 2002 Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey, Mexico. A journalist for several years, he worked as a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Business Journal and The Hollywood Reporter, among other publications. Nick began his career as an M&A analyst at the investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.
Nick was born and raised in New York City where he attended The Buckley School and Trinity School. He received as A.B. magna cum laude in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University in 1996. He speaks French and Mandarin Chinese and is married to Carla Snyder. They have a daughter, Vanessa.
Michelle Lee, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2010-2011
Michelle Lee has been a Foreign Service Officer at the Department of State since 2003. She is a Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Vancouver.
Previously, Michelle was the Public Affairs Officer for Northeastern Mexico. She also served as a policy planning officer in the Department's Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She has worked on public diplomacy programs and public affairs for Central America and Cuba, was a Political Officer in Berlin, Germany, and a Political and Consular Officer in Accra, Ghana.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Michelle was a lecturer in the field of communication studies at Northeastern University in Boston, where she also completed her Ph.D. in Public and International Affairs.
She holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Melbourne (Australia) and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Speech Communication and Psychology from Otterbein College (Westerville, Ohio).
In 2007, Michelle published the book, A Fair Go, which discusses political rhetoric, national identity, and public policy in Australia. From 1999-2000, Michelle was a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio.
Jinnie Lee, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2009-2010
Jinnie is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S Department of State. She is currently Spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Previously, she served as Chief of the Domestic Politics Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. In that position, she was responsible for covering internal politics in South Korea. Prior to Seoul, she served as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Other assignments include Special Assistant in the Bureau for Intelligence and Research, Civilian Response Corps member in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, Deputy Cultural Affairs Officer in Baghdad, Consular Officer in Guatemala City, and Public Diplomacy Officer in Doha.
Before joining the State Department, Jinnie worked as an analyst at JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. Jinnie graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in International Relations and Africana Studies, and holds a Masters in Public Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.
Joseph Mellott, Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow for 2008-2009
Joseph (Joe) Mellott was the inaugural Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow. He is a Foreign Service Officer. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree at National Defense University where he is on detail from the Department of State. His previous posts include: Senior Advisor in the Bureau of African Affairs, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Executive Officer to the U.S. Ambassador to NATO.