A strong desire to see the world led Vanessa Tantillo to study abroad in Spain during her junior year of high school, against the wishes of school administrators. Being oversees during the events of September 11, 2001 inspired Vanessa to serve her country and piqued her interest in public diplomacy.
Vanessa joined the Foreign Service in 2009. Her first assignment was to the U.S. consulate general in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where she served in a rotational assignment as deputy press and cultural attache and vice consul. Her current assignment is in the Office of Human Security in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, where she works on the food security portfolio.
Originally from Addison, Illinois, Vanessa received her B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago and her master's in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Outside of work, Vanessa has a keen interest in theater and music and was selected to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the 2011 U.S. Independence Day celebration in Ho Chi Minh City. She lives with her Chihuahua-mix, Gilda, whom she adopted from Vietnam.
Before joining the Foreign Service, Vanessa was an intern in the Bureau of International Information Programs and at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.