University of Richmond junior Rylin McGee, of Rochester, New York, has received a Gilman scholarship. McGee’s award will fund a study abroad experience this spring in Russia, where she’ll be completing a special program focused on environmental studies.

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two- or four-year college or university. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward study abroad experiences. Gilman scholars are also eligible for 12 months of noncompetitive eligibility hiring status within the federal government. 

McGee is majoring in international studies with a focus on development and change. She is double minoring in Russian studies and mathematics.

“Through my studies, I have developed a particular interest in how development impacts the environment,” McGee said. She will study in Irkutsk, which is in the Siberian region of Russia.

“The city provides a unique venue to study how Russia's history of industrial development is changing the local environment,” McGee explains. The city is located above Lake Baikal, the deepest fresh water lake in the world, and is at the heart of many local environmental initiatives.

In addition to studying the language and environmental history and policy, McGee will be interning with the School of Russian and Asian Studies as a researcher and writer exploring environmental issues and affairs in Russia.

“Beyond pursuing my academic interests I am excited to improve my language skills, experience a completely different culture and explore the land,” said McGee, who noted she would not be able to participate in this experience without this scholarship.

“Study abroad experiences are a hallmark of a Richmond education,” said Dana Kuchem, director of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships. “Even with the multitude of campus funding sources, study abroad can be a financial challenge. This award allows a wider range of students access to international opportunities which serve a formative role in students’ understanding of themselves and the world around them. Rylin has distinguished herself from thousands of applicants across the country in being selected as a Gilman Scholar.”

Nearly 70 percent of University of Richmond students complete a study abroad experience before graduating.

University of Richmond has had 19 Gilman Scholars, including McGee, since the program started in 2001.

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