Co-President of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy Student Government Association, Laura Krahl will be graduating this semester with a Master of Public Policy degree. She recently received the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship and after graduation she will be traveling to Jordan this summer to study Arabic.
Krahl says she’s enjoyed being engaged in activities at the School of Public Policy during her time as a graduate student. “I’m pretty active in the School’s events and the events planned by the student councils,” she says. “I also help with orientation, open houses and admitted students events whenever possible. Working as a graduate assistant with career services has given me the opportunity to get to know a lot of our students.”
“I became interested in public policy while completing a terrorism analysis graduate certificate degree here at UMD,” Krahl says. “There was a class on U.S. counterterrorism policies and programs, specifically, that helped me narrow my interest and choose the international security and economic policy specialization.”
Krahl says she ultimately chose to pursue her degree at the School of Public Policy after hearing about it from a friend. "I had a friend in the program who was able to tell me a lot about it," she says. "Based on his description, I thought it would be a good fit for me."
"I think a degree in public policy is important because it sets you up to be successful in a variety of career fields," Krahl adds. "For example, I think it allows you to be successful in the federal, state or local levels of government but also in nonprofits or non-governmental organizations. My favorite thing about the degree is that I have skills as a generalist related to the American political system and government functions but I can also market my specialist skills in American foreign policy and intelligence."
During her time at the University of Maryland, Krahl has been studying Arabic for three years. “Our Arabic program is great and I have really enjoyed the classes at every level. I started studying Arabic because I knew that speaking a critical language would make me more competitive when applying for jobs in the international security field,” she says. “I think studying in Jordan will improve my Levantine dialect, which is pretty widely spoken in the Middle East, and it will also improve my regional knowledge.”
“I decided to apply for the Critical Language Scholarship because I wanted to reach an advanced professional level of Arabic proficiency and it’s really difficult to do that without spending time in an Arabic-speaking country,” Krahl adds. “Given my passion for learning the language and culture, I thought I would be a competitive applicant. It’s an honor to have been selected for the scholarship. It’s a competitive process and I am grateful that I will have the opportunity to participate in the program.”
After studying in Jordan this summer, Krahl will return to Washington, DC to work for the State Department.