Staff Reports, wvnews.com
OAKLAND — On Nov. 9, Oakland native Catherine Baker was awarded a 2019 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship following a highly competitive nationwide contest.
The Rangel Fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.
“We are thrilled that Catherine will be joining the Rangel Program,” said Rangel Program Director Patricia Scroggs. “Growing up in the Oakland, Catherine became committed to a career of public service and will be an outstanding representative of both Garrett County and the United States as a U.S. diplomat. I am confident that she will excel in graduate school and the Foreign Service. I look forward to seeing all that she will accomplish in her career.”
Baker, the daughter of Dale and Susan Baker, was born and raised in Garrett County. With a growing interest in international affairs and public service, Baker used her high school years to deepen her knowledge, spending multiple years in internationally-focused activities like Model U.N., creating a globally focused charity project and teaching herself French.
She attended college at the University of Maryland, where she majored in Environmental Science and Policy, minored in French and was selected for the International Studies cohort of the College Park Scholars Program. This program on international political relations and ethics offered her the opportunity to spend five months in southern France where she attended French university, taught at a local school, and completed an independent study on differences in cultural identity between the United States and Europe.
Returning, she entered a French immersion program and was selected as a Global Fellow, which combined a seminar on global policy challenges with an internship in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
During this internship at the State Department, she learned about careers in the Foreign Service and decided to pursue a career representing the United States as as a Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis] Officer.
In 2016, she received a State Department Critical Language Scholarship to learn Urdu in an intensive immersion program in India. Learning Urdu allowed her to augment her existing language skills, study the growing strategic importance of South Asia, and function as a cultural intermediary as she formed relationships with my instructors, host family, and language partner.
Since returning from India, she has worked for the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, where she supports the Dean of the School of Language Studies, Ambassador Wanda Nesbitt.
“I am absolutely elated to be joining such a prestigious group,” Baker said. “The work that Rangel Fellows do before and after joining the Foreign Service is incredible and I cannot wait to begin my academic and professional journey among these new peers.”
The Rangel Fellowship will support Baker through a two-year graduate program to receive a master’s degree in an area of relevance to the Foreign Service. It will also provide extensive professional development opportunities, including internships, mentors, and skills training.
As part of the Rangel Program, Baker will work for a member of Congress on issues related to foreign affairs in summer 2019. In summer 2020, the U.S. Department of State will send her overseas to work in a U.S. embassy to get hands-on experience with foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service.
Upon graduation, Baker will become a U.S. diplomat.
Staff Reports, wvnews.com