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Catching up with Alexandra J. King Pile, BA International Studies ’07

By Lauren Rose

Alexandra J. King Pile smiles during a video. An American flag sits behind her.


February 15, 2023

We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Alexandra J. King Pile, BA international studies '07, who is currently working as a Foreign Service Officer for the United States Department of State. Read on to learn about the challenges and opportunities of her role, and how her time at Drexel prepared her for this path.
Alexandra J. King Pile smiles and shakes hands with President Biden.

What are you currently working on?

I am a U.S. Diplomat (also called Foreign Service Officer) serving at the Department of State Headquarters in Washington, D.C. I have been in the Foreign Service since 2012, but my position changes every few years. Now in my fifth tour, I am working on developing economic sanctions aimed at disrupting terrorism, human trafficking, conflict related sexual violence, hostage situations and wrongful detention. Sanctions are placed on those who engage in this behavior as well as those who finance it. Economic sanctions are just one of the tools used by the U.S. government to approach and disrupt networks of terror in order to keep our country and our allies safe.

What are the greatest challenges in your role?

It’s important that international partners know that we understand foreign policy and that we are not viewing issues of a global impact in a vacuum. As much as the U.S. can be leaders in that space—we will. The U.S. is and always will be a leader in galvanizing international partners to achieve the shared goals of democratic societies. This works best when our partners can see the wisdom in our vision.

What are you most optimistic about in your role?

It’s important that at the highest levels, our lead policy makers are experts in their field—it makes us confident and more competent in the view of the world. I feel most fulfilled when it’s obvious that we are leading from a place of strategic vision, and I believe that is where we are right now.

What makes you excited about the future of your profession?

I like what I see from a recruiting perspective. People are coming into the foreign service from all different perspectives—age, race, physical ability, career level and educational background. This means something! It means that the face we are putting overseas is moving toward representing the diversity of America. Increasing diversity is not just about hiring more people of color and hiring more women. It’s about appreciating the added perspective that a diverse workforce brings and allowing that perspective to shape the organization.

What do you cherish most about your time at Drexel?

I became an adult at Drexel! While having lots of fun, I learned how to learn, how to problem solve and how to use the tools in my toolbox. Grad school gave me knowledge that I pull from every day, but my undergraduate time taught me how to apply what I knew toward something practical. Also, I will always appreciate the opportunity I had to make history as a charter member of Drexel’s chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.