During National Black History Month (February) we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of African Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.


Andrei Cotton, Black History Month 2018

Andrei M. Cotton
Deputy Director
Counterterrorism Bureau Office of Terrorist Screening and Interdiction

Andrei Cotton is a career member of the Foreign Service. He currently serves as Deputy Director of the Counterterrorism Bureau Office of Terrorist Screening and Interdiction. Other assignments include Political Officer at Embassy Lilongwe, Malawi; Political-Military Officer at Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh; Regional Counterterrorism Coordinator for East Africa at Embassy Nairobi, Kenya; Political Officer at Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan; Consular Officer at Embassy Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Consular Officer at Embassy Bogota, Colombia.

Andrei is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ecuador, 1998 – 2000) and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. He is from Atlanta, GA and earned a B.S. degree at Auburn University and a M.S. degree at Tuskegee University.

Sydney Cross, Black History Month 2018

Sydney Cross
Humanitarian Analyst
Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Office of the Geographer and Global Issues 

Humanitarian Information Unit

Sydney Cross is a third-tour Career Foreign Service Officer serving as Humanitarian Analyst with the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Office of the Geographer and Global Issues in the Humanitarian Information Unit. The Humanitarian Information Unit, identifies, creates, and disseminates multidisciplinary information and analysis to U.S. Government decision makers and humanitarian partners on humanitarian issues. In her role as a humanitarian analyst, Sydney supports the Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migration, and produces written and visual analytics on a range of current and enduring humanitarian challenges and complex emergencies in Latin America, the Caribbean, and West Africa.

Sydney started out her career with the U.S. Department of State as a Pathways Intern after seeing flyers around campus to interview for the program in 2008. She worked with Bureau of Administration in the Privacy Division, while she earned her B.A. in International Affairs at Trinity Washington University and M.A. in Political Science at Howard University.

Sydney’s interest in the Foreign Service goes back to when she was a junior in high school when her teachers at Lutheran High School North pushed her to pursue her dream to become a diplomat. This was further solidified through her participation as a Rangel Scholar in 2009. In 2010, she was awarded the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship. She is a supporter of the Rangel program, and seeks opportunities to increase awareness of the need for diversity in Foreign Affairs. She previously served at the U.S. Embassy Mexico City, Mexico as a Consular Officer and U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as a Political Officer.

Sydney is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and assists with mentoring African-American high school seniors with the college application and transition process. She is also a former Board of Directors member of the Girl Scout Council of Eastern Missouri. She is a native of Saint Louis, Missouri and is a die-hard St. Louis Cardinal Baseball fan.

Pamerla Gipson, Black History Month 2018

Pamela Gipson
Information Systems Security Officer (ISSO)
Bureau of Consular Affairs, Consular Systems and Technology division (CA/CST)

My name is Pamela Gipson and I work for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Consular Systems and Technology division (CA/CST). I am an Information Systems Security Officer (ISSO) and with that role, I assist with a number of duties which include: Assessment and Authorization (A&A) matters, access control, incident response, policy creation and updates, procurement, and database activities. I have been with the State department since February 6, 2017 and although I am still fairly new to the State Department, I look forward to continuing to grow my career here!

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future