Frimel Recipient of Full-Ride Scholarship to Oklahoma State

Congratulations to Joe Frimel, who got a full-ride scholarship to Oklahoma State University.

Mizzou's columns

Thesis research will be on spatial analysis of traffic signs in Eastern Europe

Joseph “Joe” Frimel, a senior in the Department of Geography, deserves a big round of applause for his most recent accomplishment: Getting a full-ride scholarship for a masters in geography at Oklahoma State University.

Frimel chose Oklahoma State because of the faculty there – Dr. Reuel Hanks specifically, who shares joint academic research interests: Cultural geography of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“I felt it would be a good match academically,” he says.

Frimel, who will become a full-time teaching assistant, will most likely be helping a professor teach a course or help a professor with grading, while doing his studies and thesis research on the spatial analysis of traffic signs in Latvia, a country located in Eastern Europe on the western border of Russia.

“In particular,” he says, “I want to look at a specific neighborhood within a Latvian city and discover what languages are recorded on the street signs there, as well as note how frequently they appear. Latvia is a very linguistically diverse country, so I think my findings will be interesting – I’m really curious to find out how the languages displayed on the signs correlate to the percentage of those who speak whatever language, respectively.”

Frimel plans to travel to Latvia in summer 2022 to conduct research. He will be there a few months, if he can do so safely at that time, without risk of COVID or related restrictions.

“For example, if let’s say 20 percent of the population speaks Russian, then I’d think around 20 percent of the signs would be in Russian,” he says. “Or maybe it’s not like that at all. I’d kind of like to discover that.”

Joe Frimel

Start to a Bright Future

Frimel’s long-term goals are to 1) either become a geography professor specializing in Eastern Europe, or 2) become a member of the United States Foreign Service, which communicates U.S. foreign policy to foreign countries or institutions, or 3) an embassy attaché, an official who serves either a diplomatic role or support staff for an organization that is run by an ambassador or other head of diplomatic missions.

He believes at Oklahoma State, he will learn from other geographers, with different backgrounds in a different area of the U.S. and will become a more well-rounded individual and professional geographer as a result.

“I was thrilled to find out Oklahoma State had both accepted me and offered me funding,” Frimel says. “I got so excited that I called my grandparents right away and told them the good news before I shared it with my parents. My mom, at first, was a little upset that she wasn’t the first person I called, but she understood.”

Frimel says he will miss Mizzou geography – especially the faculty and students he’s grown to know and care about. “Some of my fondest memories at MU Geography have been all the extra-curricular activities we’ve done as a department, such as Mizzou Geography Club and the end-of-semester get-togethers.

“I don’t think there’s one particular moment that really sticks out to me as my most favorite because I’ve just really enjoyed the entirety of my undergraduate experience here at Mizzou.”