CIE Student Spotlight – Madeline Brancel

CIE Student Spotlight – Madeline Brancel

I graduated from UWM in 2016 with a B.A. in Global Security Studies; a Committee Interdisciplinary Major (CIM) in Portuguese Language and Lusophone Studies; and a certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. CIE’s well-regarded Global Studies program was my sole reason for choosing UWM. As a person with vast and intersectional interests, the “choose your own adventure” model of the Global Studies major was very attractive to me. The study abroad and international internship requirements developed my skill sets in ways the traditional classroom experience alone could not.

As a sophomore in college, I fulfilled the study abroad requirement by applying for a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to attend Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal for the academic year. While there, I directly enrolled alongside the Portuguese student body to study human rights law and international institutions, Lusophone history, and the Portuguese language.

The international internship requirement of the Global Studies major led me to return to Portugal for the first semester of my Junior year to serve as a Consular Intern in the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon. As an intern, I worked closely with the Office of Public Affairs to develop presentations for local schools about the International Day of the Girl Child, in support of the film “Girl Rising.”

As a senior, I continued my Portuguese studies with support from the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship, awarded by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Following this, I received a Boren Scholarship to continue my studies of Portuguese at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique. While in Maputo, I interned at a Center for Vulnerable Children, and petitioned to create my own major, resulting in dual degrees from UWM.

The Global Studies program is relatively unmatched in its flexibility and willingness to work around diverse student interests. The scholarships available through CIE allowed me to spend 2.5 academic years studying and interning abroad, all while continuously fulfilling my degree requirements.

Upon graduation, I moved to Boston, MA to work with an international development organization, World Education, Inc. (WEI), where I am a Junior Program Officer supporting programs in Mozambique. In the past year, I have been the principal Boston backstop for a USAID-funded Community Library Program, implemented in partnership with the Peace Corps. The interdisciplinary structure of the UWM Global Studies program laid my foundational framework for a career in international development, and prepared me with the soft and hard skills necessary for today’s competitive job market. Thank you, CIE!