UK Grad Student Named Javits Fellow

Rachel Philbrick, a graduate student in classics at the University of Kentucky, has been awarded one of only 33 Jacob K. Javits Fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education. The Javits Fellowship is awarded to students of superior academic ability who plan to undertake graduate study in the selected fields of arts, humanities and social sciences.

As part of the Javits Fellowship, the U.S. Department of Education awards fellowships to students on the basis of demonstrated achievement, financial need and exceptional promise. The selection is made by a panel of experts appointed by the Javits Fellowship Board. The Javits Fellowship covers study at the doctoral and Master of Fine Arts level in selected fields of arts, humanities and social sciences.

Subject to the availability of funds, a fellow receives the Javits Fellowship annually for up to the lesser of 48 months or the completion of their degree. The fellowship includes institutional payment and a stipend. In fiscal year 2011, the maximum stipend will be $30,000 and the institutional payment is estimated to be $13,755.

The Javits Fellowship is equal to the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship awards for doctoral studies. "I think this fellowship is wonderful because it shows that the Department of Education values studies in the humanities, as much as it values those in science," said Philbrick.

As a Javits Fellow, Philbrick wants to show the importance of the humanities. "I feel very honored to receive one of these fellowships," said Philbrick. "I think it gives me a responsibility to help demonstrate, through my work in grad school and later as a professional in the field, the real importance of the humanities to society."

A native of Cambridge, Mass., Philbrick is the daughter of Larry Philbrick and Marion Severynse. She holds bachelor's degrees in Latin and biology and society from Cornell University and a master's degree in teaching from American University. Philbrick will receive her master's degree in classics from UK in May.

During her time at UK, Philbrick's research examined the figure of Heracles in the "Argonautica," Apollonius Rhodius’ poem about Jason and the Golden Fleece. Her work led to an invitation to present a portion of that research at the Classical Association of the Midwest and South Southern Section meeting last October. Professor Bob Rabel served as Philbrick's adviser on her thesis.

Upon completion of her master's degree at UK, Philbrick will use the Javits Fellowship to enter a doctoral program in classics. "This fellowship will give me more freedom and greater resources to carry out my studies and my research," said the Javits Fellow. "It will certainly make traveling to Italy and Greece to study easier."

Philbrick hopes to one day become a classics professor.

Outside of her studies, Philbrick enjoys being active outdoors. She likes traveling abroad, biking the countryside around Lexington, and is a member of a group called the Todd’s Road Stumblers, who run outside of town. Philbrick also volunteers with the local chapter of Girls on the Run at Stonewall Elementary.

The Jacob Javits Fellowship was established under legislation of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The fellowship program honors Senator Javits of New York, long recognized for his support of education and the arts during his 24 years in the U.S. Senate.

Article Date: 4/18/2011
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