Lam Awarded Prestigious Payne Fellowship

Tracey Lam

April 11, 2014

HOUSTON, Texas – Tracey Lam, an alumna of Rice University and former Owl volleyball great, was awarded one of the 2014 Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowships following a highly competitive nationwide contest. The Payne Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in USAID’s Foreign Service.

“Being named a Payne Fellow is a huge honor and I hope a reflection of the quality of the Rice experience and the Rice student-athlete experience in particular,” Lam said. “The challenges my coaches, teammates, friends, professors, and the athletic community put in front of me prepared me for post-Rice life in ways I never could have predicted. One of my hopes upon graduating was that I would one day be able to give back to Rice as much as I had been given, and I hope that this fellowship is a step in that direction. The Payne Fellowship is an honor not my own but one shared by the Rice community and the Rice athletics family.”

Lam graduated from Rice University in 2011 with a B.A. in Asian Studies and Economics. During her studies at Rice, she was involved in many organizations and travelled extensively. She is currently a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in South Korea. She recently co-founded the Fulbright ETA Support Network that provides assistance to Fulbright grantees who have experienced sexual harassment in Korea. Her travel abroad includes trips to Nepal, Myanmar, and North Korea. She speaks Korean, Japanese, and Cantonese.

The Payne Fellowship will provide Tracey with approximately $90,000 in benefits over a two year period to pursue a master’s degree related to international development. She will attend Harvard University’s Kennedy School for Public Policy in the fall. As part of the Payne Program, Tracey will do a congressional internship in DC on issues regarding international development. In the summer of 2015, USAID will send her overseas to work in one of their Missions to get hands-on experience in international development programs. Upon graduation, she will become a USAID Foreign Service Officer, embarking on one of the most challenging and rewarding careers of service to her country.



“We are thrilled to have Tracey as a Payne Fellow in our second year,” Payne Program Officer, Tessa Henry said. “The Payne Fellowship selection panel was very impressed by her strong academic record, diverse international experiences, and commitment to making a difference in the world. I have no doubt that she will excel in graduate school and make important contributions to promoting global peace and prosperity as a USAID Foreign Service Officer.”

The Payne Program is a joint initiative between the U.S. Agency for International Development and Howard University that aims to enhance the excellence and diversity of the USAID Foreign Service.  Begun in 2012, the Payne Fellowship Program selects outstanding young people each year from around the country who exhibit the ideal qualities of a USAID Foreign Service Officer. Managed by the Ralph J. Bunche Center at Howard University, the Payne Fellowship supports those selected through graduate school and professional development activities that prepare them for their careers as USAID Foreign Service Officers. With the academic, professional and financial support from the program, Fellows will serve as diplomats around the world, contributing to a more diverse representation and effective execution of U.S. international development programs.

On the court Lam is regarded as one of the best liberos in Rice history. She was a three-time C-USA Libero of the Year (2008-10) and a two-time C-USA first-team all-conference selection. Lam holds the Owls career (2,399), single-season (698) and match (39) record in digs.



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