The Hoosier native is a first-generation college student who earned his bachelor’s degree in informatics and a minor in human-centered computing this past year at Indiana University.
“I’m taking it one step at a time,” Makonnen said. The former LSAMP scholar was selected as one of the fifteen fellows for the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Information Technology (FAIT) Fellowship.
While beginning his Masters of Science in Information Systems at IU’s Kelley School of Business, Makonnen’s academic funding, housing, and travel expenses for two summer internships are covered with the prestigious fellowship.
Over the summer Makonnen will be completing an internship in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Department of State. The following summer the internship will be at an international U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
After looking for opportunities within his interest, Makonnen found FAIT and applied. He mentioned that the application process is very rigorous and it was important for him to prepare for several rounds of interviews and scripted questions.
Makonnen is one of the five graduate students selected for this fellowship. Makonnen’s role as a U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Specialist (IMS) will provide IT services domestically and abroad to over 250 overseas posts in nearly 200 countries.
But, Makonnen believes that none of these opportunities would have come to fruition if it weren’t for the previous opportunities.
Being part of IU’s Group Scholar Program, an LSAMP Summer Program 2019, and working with IUanyWare helped Makonnen gather the skills necessary to apply to the fellowship.
“I’m grateful for everybody who helped me get here,” Makonnen said. “Those other opportunities led me here.”
Makonnen has worked previously at the Vehicular Autonomous Intelligence Lab (VAIL) where he worked with the Intelligent Systems and Engineering department. He also worked with IUanyWare as intern coordinating testing, helping with tickets, and understanding the infrastructure and platform.
Although Makonnen continues to stay humble and keep himself motivated he says “I haven’t done anything yet.”
The incoming graduate encourages students to do their research and spend time revising their applications for fellowships and scholarships.
IU provides opportunities for students to apply for fellowships similar to FAIT, to learn more about opportunities similar to these, visit: https://engagedlearning.indiana.edu/index.html