May 19-25, 2000
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Sullivan Award winners show deep commitment to caring
Here's the youngest 'Hoo
Wagner exemplifies value of mentoring

Rector unearths love for human evolution

Dyslexia forced graduate to create own path for success
Boiler passes a special test
Already a pioneering online journalist, graduate plans to take on TV reporting
Student's mentoring program takes root
Medical student with passion for public health earns second master's degree
Groundskeeper has watched U.Va. and its landscape grow
Help wanted: not just for high-tech fields, but for teaching jobs, too
BUCKS' vision to give back to community will continue
Watson discovers teaching and takes history to the Web
Seeing double
Heard's degree painted with broad strokes
May graduate's dream shows how education transforms lives
Christina Boiler
Stephanie Gross
Christina Boiler

Boiler passes a special test

By Jill Johnson

When U.Va. student Christina Boiler took the foreign service exam in November, she never expected to pass. After all, the national pass rate is low, and she was taking the test with ex-Peace Corps volunteers, lawyers, business professionals and people with advanced degrees.

But at age 22, Boiler defied the odds by passing both the written and oral parts of the exam. If she passes the security clearance, she will be eligible for a much-coveted foreign service officer job. Within two years, depending on job availability, Boiler could be overseas representing the United States and its foreign policies.

She is excited about such a possibility. "I would like to learn another language and culture while furthering U.S. interests abroad. What better way to do that than to work for the U.S. in an international setting?" she said.

A native of Spotsylvania County, Boiler will work in a Northern Virginia consulting firm starting this summer. She eventually plans to get a master's degree in business and international relations to combine her interests. At U.Va., Boiler majored in foreign affairs with a concentration in Southeast Asia, and minored in Spanish. She feels her classes prepared her well for the foreign service exam.

To be eligible, a person has to be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 20 and 59. The first exam is written, consisting of English usage, general knowledge and personality-related questions.

Of the approximately 10,000 people who took this portion in November, the foreign service only offered the oral exam to 3,000 people. Its purpose is to see how potential officers would react in real-life, diplomatic situations. Test-takers engage in role-playing and writing activities to assess their communication skills.

Less than half of the applicants pass the written and oral components of the foreign service exam on the first try, said an official with the department's board of examiners.

"The tests were hard, but fair," Boiler said. "They test you for your ability, not your education, experience, friends or family."

After graduating, Boiler will enter the workforce like many others, but she'll also be waiting -- waiting for the call that could send her across the world to represent her country.

See press release on One of The Few to Pass Foreign Service Exams on the First Try, May Graduate Awaits Call That Will Take Her Overseas


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