Cassie Frankel, a second-year student at the La Follette School of Public Affairs received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship for the 2017–18 academic year. Frankel will use the fellowship to study Arabic through UW–Madison’s Center for European Studies.
“I’m most interested in Middle East policy,” said Frankel, a student in the Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) program. “I’m also interested in the interplay between gender and foreign policy, both in elevating female voices in the male-dominated field and in gender-mainstreamed perspectives of international development and conflict resolution.”
Frankel, who was raised in Madison, speaks Spanish, French, and Hebrew and has dual citizenship with Canada. Associate Professor Mark Copelovitch, Frankel’s advisor, told her during their first meeting that she needed “to start learning Arabic yesterday to do what I want to do.”
Originally interested in the U.S. Foreign Service, Frankel said her first year at the La Follette School opened her eyes to the vast array of international opportunities outside of the U.S. State Department. She was particularly excited about the opportunities available with the U.S. Institute of Peace, which she discovered on the La Follette in D.C. trip, or working further with the World Health Organization, for whom she is interning this summer.
Frankel has a bachelor’s degree in political science from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where she completed six semesters of Hebrew. She has worked in Hebrew at various levels, from teaching 5-year-olds to serving as a research assistant doing coding, translation, and data analysis in Hebrew. She hopes a FLAS in Arabic will allow her to communicate more broadly in the Middle East, or work with diaspora populations in Europe and North America.
“Language skills are of the utmost value to any career in international relations,” she said in her FLAS application.