Skip to content

Iona Volynets Named a 2024 Marshall Scholar

December 11, 2023

SU News

Iona Volynets, a senior majoring in history and international relations in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences, has been named a 2024 Marshall Scholar.

Marshall Scholar Iona Volynets

Founded in 1953, the Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree at an institution in the United Kingdom in any field of study. Volynets was one of 51 students selected from around the country and is Syracuse University’s sixth Marshall Scholar.

Volynets is minoring in museum studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and Russian in the College of Arts and Sciences. They are a Coronat Scholar and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program.

“To me, being a Marshall Scholar means having an incredible opportunity that I am so grateful for. It means that I get to be a citizen ambassador to the U.K.,” Volynets says. “The U.K. has a very different approach to heritage management than the U.S. does, which I'm very excited to learn from—and I'm looking forward to seeing all of the U.K.'s really interesting heritage sites.”

Volynets plans to pursue a career in safeguarding Ukrainian cultural heritage. They are applying to Oxford University’s master of philosophy program in visual, material and museum anthropology. They plan to write their thesis on the role that Ukrainian cultural institutions have played in the fight for Ukrainian independence.

“Oxford is such an amazing fit for this goal, because of its very active Ukrainian Student Society (including the Oxford-Kharkiv association), work being done by professors to preserve Ukrainian cultural heritage amidst the war, its new Ukrainian archives and the fantastic Slavonic studies department, which hosts weekly open discussions,” they say.

“In addition, the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford is doing sector-leading work in museum decolonization, and I'd really love to get involved. Pursuing these opportunities will help me get the skills, experience and knowledge to prepare me to work at an institution safeguarding Ukrainian and other threatened cultural heritages,” Volynets says. “I can't express how excited I am to become involved with these communities and opportunities next fall.”

“Iona’s extraordinary record of service and leadership in the field of managing and safeguarding cultural heritage made them an outstanding candidate for the Marshall Scholarship,” says Jolynn Parker, director of Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA), which worked with Volynets on their application. “The U.K. is a global leader in heritage management. The opportunity to pursue a master’s at Oxford in this field will position Iona superbly for the career they plan.”

In October 2022, Volynets was named one of three Syracuse recipients of the Voyager Scholarship: the Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service, a new award for juniors committed to public service funded by the Obama Foundation. In April, they were named a 2023 Truman Scholar in recognition of their leadership, service, academic accomplishment and commitment to a career of public service.

In recent months, Volynets studied Russian for eight weeks in Tbilisi, Georgia, on the Critical Language Scholarship. They also visited six other post-Soviet states through the Voyager Scholarship to conduct research for their senior thesis on the diversity of national memory in post-Soviet states. They visited around 70 museums between their Voyager Scholarship and time in Tbilisi.

Volynets recently completed their time as a Lender Center Fellow, where they and other fellows were engaged in a project focused on migrant women’s wellness in the Northside neighborhood. They presented their work on culturally appropriate food bank services at the Environmental Design Research Association conference in Mexico City last June and are working to get funding to expand their research on food banks to other neighborhoods next semester.

Volynets has also served as a service-learning intern at the University’s Shaw Center. “I've continued working with the Environmental Design class, which this semester has meant learning a lot about Syracuse's Southside and the history of the 15th Ward,” they say. “I've also been researching how to identify and prevent volunteer burnout so that we can update our volunteer and service-learning guides.” Volynets has also been working in the archives at the Onondaga Historical Association, creating finding guides for their Underground Railroad and Zonta Group collections.

Additionally, they were an intern with Save the Children and the Council of Europe and a Teen Council member for the Smithsonian Galleries of Asian Art. During Winter Break, they will be working for Save the Children's Disability Inclusion department again. 

Students interested in applying for national scholarships that require University endorsement, such as the Marshall Scholarship, should complete an “intent to apply” form with Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising by the end of June 2024 and plan to work with CFSA.

By Kelly Homan Rodoski

Communications and Media Relations Office
200 Eggers Hall