NECC Grad Selected for State Department Fellowship
If you want to know what it’s like to have the whole world at your fingertips, just ask recent NECC Computer and Information Science Program graduate Enoch Masih of Andover. He is one of only 15 students from across the country to be selected for the prestigious Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship program, funded by the U.S. Department of State.
The program, which is administered by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC), provides up to $75,000 in academic funding for two years (the junior and senior years of an IT-related undergraduate degree program or a two-year IT-related master’s degree program). Additionally, students participate in two summer internships with stipend support – one in Washington, D.C., and one at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad – as well as professional development training.
It was not a direct path for Masih to this point. After graduating from Andover High School, he moved to Florida and enrolled in school for nursing. But after just a few years, he returned home to help a family member recover from surgery. He also started working at a nearby Apple store and discovered that, while he loved nursing, he might have a future in the technology industry. “We were allowed to express our creativity, I found my passion in tech as well,” he remembers.
Masih decided to enroll at NECC to further explore that passion. He says, at first, he was unsure exactly what he wanted to do, but that his professors helped him narrow it down. “There’s programming, there’s networking, there’s cyber security. I’ve dipped my toes into so many things. NECC has really set me toward my goal.” Masih also became involved on-campus as peer tutor and a member of the National Society of Leadership & Success. He currently works part time at the college as an academic lab technologist.
Masih graduated from Northern Essex in December 2020 and he will transfer to UMASS Lowell this fall to get his bachelor’s in information technology. In the meantime, Masih continues to take classes at NECC so he can transfer as many credits as possible to UMASS Lowell, something he encourages all students to do.
After completing the FAIT Fellowship program and meeting State Department requirements, fellows receive appointments as U.S. Foreign Service information management specialists and begin exciting careers using their technology skills to support U.S. diplomacy abroad.
The 2021 cohort of the FAIT Fellowship is the fifth cohort of this program that launched in 2016 as part of the department’s efforts to attract top technology talent and increase diversity in the Foreign Service.
Masih is looking forward to exploring the potential for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. “I’m excited for what’s ahead- when I look back at my experience at NECC, I’m grateful for all the opportunities.”
Northern Essex offers a variety of technology programs and degrees. You can learn more by visiting our CIS page.
This story was written by Melissa Bouse, NECC digital and social media specialist.