A vision for global diplomacy: Gabriel Kornas, Rangel Fellow's academic and professional journey toward Master of Public Affairs

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March 7, 2024
Gabriel Kornas, an MPAff student and Rangel Fellow from Seattle, Wash. poses in front of the LBJ School.

Gabriel Kornas is an MPAff student and Rangel Fellow from Seattle, Wash. The University of Washington graduate earned his undergraduate degree in International Studies and chose the LBJ School for its reputation amongst the best public policy programs in the country.


Gabriel Kornas, MPAff '24

Policy interests: International Management, Diplomacy

“I was drawn to the reputation of the LBJ School as one of the top policy programs in the U.S., but also the breadth of course offerings, faculty with deep expertise, and the flexibility the MPAff program offers for students to explore a range of policy interests." 

Please share your academic and professional journey. 

As an undergraduate student at the University of Washington, I had the opportunity to intern twice with the U.S. Department of State both in Washington, DC and overseas. I realized I wanted to serve my country overseas and help advance U.S. foreign policy. I spent a couple years working in federal government relations for the University of Washington before receiving the Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellowship. I've since been able to serve as a Rangel Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives and overseas at the U.S. Embassy in Belgium. 

Are there any personal experiences or stories that have driven your interest in public affairs? 

My interest in public affairs is driven by my desire to serve my country. As an undergraduate student at the University of Washington, I interned with the U.S. Department of State, which is where I learned more about the Foreign Service. As a Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellow, I am excited to be embarking on a career as a Foreign Service Officer representing the U.S. abroad. 

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing US or global policy today? 

In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges facing global policy is bringing all voices and stakeholders to the table to address urgent issues. The world is more interdependent than ever before. Global cooperation, including bilateral and multilateral relationships, are key so that we can act swiftly on shared issues such as counterterrorism, irregular migration, disinformation and public health emergencies. 

Are there any faculty members, innovations, or research centers at LBJ that you're particularly excited to be working with? 

I've been excited to work with the Clements Center for National Security and the Strauss Center for International Security while at LBJ. The faculty and resources at LBJ have provided so many opportunities to expand on my professional and academic interests. For example, I was part of a team representing the Clements Center at the U.S. Army War College's annual strategy competition. 

Are there any mentors, role models, or leaders in the public affairs field who inspire you? 

There are so many! I am thankful to have been mentored by lots of people doing incredible work in public affairs. One public figure who inspires me is former Congresswoman and LBJ Professor Barbara Jordan. While attending LBJ, I've gotten to learn so much about her life and legacy of public service which is a huge part of the history of Austin. 

What are your future plans or aspirations? 

As a Rangel Fellow, I will join the U.S. Foreign Service upon graduating from LBJ in summer 2024. I look forward to being part of representing the U.S. overseas. 

What goals do you hope to achieve in your career? 

My long-term career goal is to help create and implement policies that reduce disparities in health, education, and overall life outcomes for marginalized groups in Texas and beyond. 

Learn more about the Master of Public Affairs. The Round 2 Deadline is March 15. 


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