Cargill program propels Husker toward foreign policy career
Husker Patrick Baker is one of 10 students in the nation to be accepted into the 2019 Cargill Global Scholars Program — a two-year cohort that will take him across the world to network with leaders in policy.
A sophomore global studies and political science major from Maryville, Missouri, Baker was selected for the program on merits of exemplary academic achievement and leadership potential.
"I am truly thankful for this wonderful opportunity," Baker said. "Emira Ibrahimpasic and Laura Damuth have been outstanding in their help with the application and interview process. My recognition through this honor would not have been possible without them."
Over the next two years, Baker will join other undergraduate students from Brazil, China, India, Russia and Indonesia to develop his foreign policy career through financial assistance, 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.
For Baker, acceptance into the Cargill Program affirms a lifelong dream of working in politics.
"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," Baker said. “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 Nebraska was key to his acceptance.
“Coming from a small town, I had limited experience working with people from different cultures,” Baker said. “Nebraska 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.”
He also advises other incoming students to expand their worldview as he did.
“Take a foreign language and make friends with native speakers of that language,” Baker said. “I went outside my comfort zone and took Arabic last year, and I truly believe it was one of the best choices of my college career. Through that class, I had the opportunity to become friends with Omani and Middle Eastern students, which in turn taught me valuable lessons about understanding different cultures.”
Emira Ibrahimpasic, assistant director of Global Studies at Nebraska, 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 to not only 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, applying for the Cargill Global Scholars Program was a natural fit."
Baker will begin his Cargill adventure this summer with a four-day trip to Minneapolis, where he will meet with the nine other scholars from the United States. He also plans to study abroad in the Middle East next year.