Oral Histories

Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28) (SFS’78)

Henry Cuellar is the Representative for Texas’ 28th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cuellar has five advanced degrees, and points to education as the principal platform for his two decades in Texas public service. He calls access to higher education the economic engine “to make big changes in our society.” While at Georgetown, Cuellar recalls how he did not have the financial means to go back home for each vacation. This, he says, gave him time to reflect with students in similar positions on what Georgetown meant to him. Cuellar describes his time at the SFS as “the catalyst” that launched him into the success of the rest of his life.

Helene Mallett (SFS’59)

Helene Gettler Mallett enrolled in the School of Foreign Service in 1955 without knowing that she would be part of the first class to include women. She recalls many occasions when she was the only woman in a large class of men. However, she suggests this did not detract from her Georgetown experience, which she looks upon fondly: “I’ve got a master’s, I’ve taught college, done this and that, and nothing ever challenged me like Georgetown.” Mallett notes that the female students didn’t have “the average experience.” They didn’t live on campus, for example. Similarly, Mallett recalls how the post-graduation trajectory of the female and male students diverged. Mallett explains how she and other women graduates never heard back from the State Department after interviewing to be a Foreign Service officers. Instead, Mallett became a teacher, which she describes as deeply fulfilling.

Amb. John Feeley (SFS’83)

Following graduation, John Feeley served in the U.S. Marines as a helicopter pilot. In 1990, he joined the State Department for a career that lasted 28 years, where he focused on Latin American affairs. During his diplomatic career, Feeley held many positions, including Deputy Executive Secretary on the staffs of Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. His final posting was as Ambassador to Panama. Currently, Feeley runs Gotham Lights LLC, a Miami and Washington, DC-based consultancy focused on the commercial, cultural, and socio-political integration of the Americas. In addition, he is a Latin America Fellow at the School of Foreign Service.

Reilly Dowd (SFS’13)

Reilly Dowd (SFS’13) came to Georgetown to explore the intersection between storytelling and international politics. Thanks to the Culture and Politics major, Dowd was able to tailor her major to her needs. She took courses in investigative journalism and documentary film that perfectly feed into her current project. She is the director of Dreams of Daraa, a documentary film about the Syrian Civil War and Refugee Crisis, seen through the lens of one woman, Hanadi, and her three young children. Dowd cites Professor Shiloh Krupar as a big influence on her work: ”She taught me that it was ok to be a creative person in an ultra policy and politics-focused academic program,” Dowd said. “It was in her class, ‘Theorizing Culture and Politics,’ that I began to explore the idea of becoming a documentary filmmaker.”