Agnes Hwang ’20 CLAS Selected for 2024 Payne Graduate Fellowship

Agnes Hwang ‘20 CLAS Selected for 2024 Payne Graduate Fellowship

VILLANOVA, Pa. (March 14, 2024) — Agnes Hwang ’20 CLAS has been named a 2024 recipient of the USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship. Hwang is the first Villanovan to receive this prestigious fellowship, which attracts exceptional candidates interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Payne Fellowship, funded by USAID and administered by Howard University, prepares individuals for careers in foreign service and provides funding for a two-year master’s degree at a U.S. institution in a field related to international affairs, as well as related summer internship placements. Upon meeting USAID entry requirements, Payne Fellows receive five-year appointments as a Foreign Service Officer following the completion of their graduate studies.

“It is a great source of pride for our entire community that so many Villanova students and alumni are selected for prestigious fellowships and scholarships,” remarked Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD, Villanova University Provost. “In true Villanova fashion, Ms. Hwang continues to use her considerable talents to better her community, our country and the world through her commitment to service. We congratulate her on this achievement and wish her continued success in her career.”

Hwang, a native of Tenafly, N.J., earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Political Science from Villanova University, where she also minored in Chinese. Her interest in foreign service was sparked during an internship in Shanghai through the Freedman Foundation Scholarship, and further developed during her study abroad experiences in Copenhagen. Hwang also volunteered as a teacher’s assistant in Philadelphia, supported political campaigns and worked on policy initiatives for affordable housing and outreach to Korean immigrants during her time at Villanova. She was also a 2022-23 Fulbright ETA grantee and traveled to Taiwan as an educator and cultural ambassador.

As a Payne Fellow, Hwang plans to pursue a graduate degree in international development and aspires to support democratic grassroots movements as a USAID Crisis, Stabilization and Governance Officer.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit