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August 22, 2013

Richfield Springs resident awarded Fulbright Grant to Russia

Staff Report
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Richfield Springs  

A Richfield Springs resident will soon be traveling to her to Russia thanks to her award in the 2013-14 Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Meredith Doubleday, who graduated from the University of Rochester in 2013, was chosen among 13 students and two alumni from the college to receive grants, according to a college media release. 

The grants will enable participants to advance their studies, perform research and teach English abroad while serving as young ambassadors to their host countries.

Doubleday, a Russian, classics and religion major, grew up in Richfield Springs among a strong Russian Orthodox community. However, according to a media release, her first time engaging with the language was in an academic setting at Rochester, where an introductory course under professor John Givens would soon translate into a rich undergraduate career studying the language and culture. 

Doubleday studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia during the fall 2012 semester, where she volunteered as an English instructor at the Language Club and taught a wide age range of adults. She has also traveled to the country several times as a member of the Russian Orthodox Youth Choir and given presentations on her work with this group to students, faculty and political representatives in addition to her musical performances.

“Her decision to devote her Russian honors thesis to pre-revolutionary Russian orthography demonstrates the depth of her passion for Russian,” states the release. “Moreover, Doubleday’s years of experience navigating between Russian and American cultures position her extremely well for the ambassadorial duties of a Fulbright fellow.”

Doubleday’s Russophile proclivities have also found expression through her experience working in museums. Summer stints at the Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers’ Museum have enabled her to obtain a competitive internship at the Hermitage Museum during her semester in St. Petersburg. This experience led to another prestigious internship with the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress in the summer of 2012. There, she updated the virtual card catalog of rare, pre-revolutionary Russian books and maps from the Library’s 80,000-volume Yudin Collection.

According to the release, Doubleday found that certain maps in the collection were created by the great-grandfather of family friends who hosted her while she was in D.C.

At Rochester, Doubleday served as president of the Undergraduate Religion and Classics Council, was a member of the Slavic Club, participated in Colleges Against Cancer and Relay for Life. Doubleday was also a Freshman Fellow and volunteered as a language tutor in a Rochester city elementary school through the Modern Languages and Cultures Council. Her list of academic accolades is extensive, including the Iota Book Award from the Rochester chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the Sophomore Book Award for Russian, the Classics Honor Society and the Slavic Honor Society. Doubleday was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this spring, graduating summa cum laude, and with highest distinction in both Russian and classics. Doubleday has returned to the Library of Congress for the summer before heading back to Russia to commence her Fulbright year.

The Rochester Fulbright student scholars will be heading to 10 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Doubleday will be placed in Voronezh, Russia.

Fulbright Grants, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offer opportunities for career-launching study, teaching, and research abroad to college graduates and current graduate students. Since 2008, 45 Rochester students and alumni have received a Fulbright Grant, which is among the most prestigious and competitive post-graduate fellowship programs.

Belinda Redden, director of fellowships at Rochester who worked with many of the students who earned Fulbrights, said this has been an extraordinary year in national student fellowship competitions at Rochester, perhaps the best ever.

“Our candidates achieved many firsts and exceeded prior results in numerous award contests, but I am especially thrilled that so many of our Fulbright applicants, with their diverse backgrounds, academic concentrations, extracurricular interests and career aspirations, selected to pursue their varied and inspiring projects around the globe,” she said in the release. “All of us at Rochester who worked with Fulbright candidates this past year are extremely proud and pleased for our students’ success on this national scale. We know that they are already inspiring future Rochester Fulbright applicants, making it all the more important that we celebrate the triumphs of our winners.”

Doubleday is  a 2009 graduate of Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School and the daughter of Fred and Louise Doubleday.