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BU Grad Lands Marshall Scholarship

Viktorya Vilk (CAS’07) to study art conservation in London

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Marshall Scholar Viktorya Vilk (CAS’07) will study museum curating in London. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Viktorya Vilk missed the phone call from the regional chairman of the Marshall Scholarships because she was doing laundry. By the time she saw the message, it was too late to call back, so she spent a sleepless night worrying about her fate.

“I called him in the morning and was absolutely ecstatic to hear the news,” Vilk (CAS’07) recalls. “I tried to sound mature, but I think I just babbled ‘Thank you so much!’ repeatedly into the phone. I felt as if I’d won the lottery.”

Vilk, a summa cum laude graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, was one of 40 American college graduates chosen for this year’s prestigious British scholarship, and the only scholar from Boston University. She joins an exclusive club that includes the likes of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (Hon.’95), inventor Ray Dolby, and Pulitzer Prize–winning writers Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize.

The competitive scholarships, each valued at approximately $60,000, offer American students who have excelled in college the opportunity to further their studies at any university in the United Kingdom. The British government launched the program in 1953 in gratitude for the Marshall Plan, America’s post–World War II effort to help Europe rebuild.

The CAS art history major hopes to study curating at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art, one of the world’s leading centers for the study of the history and conservation of art and architecture. Founded in 1932, the institute houses iconic Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, as well as numerous other important works from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

Vilk can’t wait to haunt the museums of London and Europe. “I’m absolutely obsessed with art and thrilled that I’ll have access to some of the greatest art in the world,” she says. “In the past, however, I focused more on the masterpieces these museums housed rather than the museums themselves — architecturally, contextually, socially. I’ve realized that a museum’s location is integral in defining its programs and exhibitions.”

Vilk was four when her family emigrated from Ukraine in 1989, eventually settling in Boston. As an undergrad, she interned at Christie’s Auction House in London, the Nichols House Museum on Beacon Hill, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, where she researched the museum’s extensive Monet collection. Until she starts her studies next fall, Vilk is working at BU’s Office of Sponsored Programs, helping search out grants for humanities professors — invaluable training, she says, for a future museum curator.

Melanie Hall, a CAS associate professor of art history and director of museum studies, was Vilk’s internship advisor.

“She’s been an engaging, enthusiastic, and extremely bright student,” Hall says. “It’s extraordinarily prestigious that she’s been awarded a Marshall Scholarship. It’s very nice for the University, it’s very nice for the art history department, and, of course, it’s very nice for her. She’ll be able to study at the premier art institution in the UK, and she’ll bring that knowledge back with her to the States.”

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at cdanilof@bu.edu.


One Comment on BU Grad Lands Marshall Scholarship

  • Elmer on 01.25.2008 at 9:18 am

    Yay Viktorya!

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