Wallace Franklin “Frankie” Sturm III was honored as the 2018 Illinois Valley Central Distinguished Alumni Saturday, June 9, at IVC.
In front of family, friends and alumni, Sturm received the illustrious honor at the Alumni Association Dinner.
Since graduating from Illinois Valley Central High School, Sturm has made the world his home.
He’s traveled to more than 30 countries, lived in three of them, and learned French, Polish and Spanish. He has truly become a citizen of the world.
Sturm’s life of living abroad began early. From 2004-2006, he worked as an English teacher and freelance translator in Rouen, France.
After returning to school to study international relations, he moved to Washington, D.C. He spent two years as Communications Director for the Truman National Security Project, where he helped a network of policy and political professionals publish op-eds and blogs, as well as appear on television and radio.
He also conducted communications trainings for candidates and office-holders, including members of Congress.
Sturm then joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in 2010. He started his diplomatic career in Poland. As the Deputy Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, he organized public events for the U.S. Ambassador, spoke regularly to student and activist groups, appeared in the local press, and managed speaking tours on subjects as varied as women’s rights in Afghanistan and LGBT rights in U.S. foreign policy.
From 2014-2016, he served as a Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City. During that time, he conducted nearly 20,000 visa interviews. He also staffed the American Citizen Services office, which provides routine services such as passport renewals, while also helping U.S. citizens who are the victims of crime or are in need of emergency services.
From 2016-2018, Sturm was posted in Washington, D.C., where he served as a State Department spokesperson and supported the press engagements of the Secretary of State and other high-level officials.
In the summer of 2018, he will begin training for his next assignment as an Economic Officer in Paramaribo, Suriname.
Throughout his career, he has made use of his skills as a writer and a speaker.
He’s appeared on television and radio dozens of times, in English, Polish and Spanish. He has written about politics and foreign affairs in the Peoria Journal Star, Huffington Post, World Politics Review, Wired and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He’s also branched into fiction, with publications in Gravel Magazine, Tweed’s, Flash Fiction Magazine and 101 Words.
Sturm has a B.A. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago.
He is a term member at the Council of Foreign Relations, a Truman Project Security Fellow, and a member of the Peoria World Affairs Council.
As a student at IVC, he gravitated toward U.S. history, French, literature, and creative writing — classes that clearly set him on the path he’s on today.
He played trombone in the marching band, jazz band, concert band, pep band and pit band. He also played guitar, bass, and sang in several local rock and ska bands. He’s a proud member of the Class of 2000.
In 2018, Frankie married Krysia Arias, a wonderful woman from El Salvador. The two of them plan to spend their lives learning more languages, exploring more countries and creating new adventures together.