LINCOLN, Neb. — Maryville native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Patrick Baker is one of 10 students nationwide selected for this year’s Cargill Global Scholars Program.
Over the next two years, Baker and the other members of his cohort will travel the globe while networking with leaders and policymakers.
A sophomore global studies and political science major, Baker was selected based on academic achievement and demonstrated leadership potential.
He will join other undergraduates from Brazil, China, India, Russia and Indonesia preparing for foreign policy careers and given the opportunity to participate in international summits, seminars with Cargill executives and one-on-one mentoring.
“This opportunity is truly amazing, as it allows me to talk to and learn from people who are working in the exact career I want to go into,” Baker said.
“Growing up, my parents always had the news on, we were always talking about current events and the TV show ‘The West Wing’ was always playing.
“When I began understanding it as I got older, I became obsessed with learning about current events and everything in the political world. As I began seriously looking into what I wanted to do when I was older, I knew I wanted to work in public policy in some form.”
Baker, who is pursuing a minor in Arabic, believes his experience with diverse communities at UNL was key to his acceptance.
“Coming from a small town, I had limited experience working with people from different cultures,” he said. “(UNL) presented me with opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and learn from and become friends with international students and teachers — a skill necessary to have when working internationally.”
Emira Ibrahimpasic, UNL’s assistant director of global studies, said Baker’s drive to learn about new perspectives embodies the values of the program.
“The goal of the global studies program is to prepare our students not only to excel in an increasingly connected, complex and ever-changing world, but to change it for the better,” Ibrahimpasic said. “For Patrick, whose interests lie in foreign and public service, the program was a natural fit.”
Next year he plans to study abroad in the Middle East.