As the recipient of a Fulbright grant supporting scholarly research abroad, Sarah Glacel ’01 left for Russia in August to begin a 10-month study of a nongovernmental organization’s efforts to protect Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake in the world. She also will take classes at Irkutsk State University, where she studied abroad during her sophomore year at Lafayette.
This trip is Glacel’s fourth to Russia. She first went as a high school exchange student, spending six weeks in St. Petersburg. Between high school and college, she spent a year in Russia through the American Field Service, attending high school classes while living with a family one hour from St. Petersburg. During her sophomore year in college, Glacel stayed with a chemist at the premier institute studying Lake Baikal, located 40 kilometers from Irkutsk. Her interest in the environment was heightened by the lake and the volunteer work she performed for a small, grassroots environmental group. Glacel helped both to establish an ecological festival for schools in the region and run ecological programs for a camp in Irkutsk.
As an EXCEL Scholar, Glacel assisted Josh Sanborn, assistant professor of history, with work for a book on conscription, nationalism, and violence in Russia in the early 20th century. Her experiences led to an honors thesis on the political aspects and impacts of environmental groups in post-Soviet politics. The environmental movement is not new to Russia, notes Glacel, but nongovernmental organizations sprung up only after the fall of the Soviet Union. She credits Sanborn, her adviser, with spurring her on during her senior year to write the best thesis possible.
If the university allows, Glacel will investigate the possibility of staying another year and earning a master’s degree. Since she is in ROTC, that will also depend on whether she can obtain another one-year deferment of her entry into the military.
Glacel graduated summa cum laude with honors in Russian and East European Studies/International Affairs. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Dobro Slovo (Slavic honor society), and Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society). She received the American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award, Bethlehem Honorary First Defenders Award, College President’s Award, Leopard Medal, and the Reserve Officers Association Award.