Garrett Burgess, from Elkview, will graduate with degrees in political science and Russian studies and a minor in foreign literature in translation. He is the former wing commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment at WVU, president of the WVU Model United Nations, president of the Russian Club, an avid runner, and was named the 2017 Mr. Mountaineer.
As a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow, he serves as a sexual assault responder with the Title Xi Peer Advocate Program, and an outreach assistant with the WVU College of Law Veterans Advocacy Clinic assisting veterans who may have been wrongly discharged from service and left ineligible for VA benefits.
He has had the opportunity to study abroad the past three summers. In 2015, he received the Project Go scholarship through the ROTC program to travel to Latvia and Lithuania to study Russian; in 2016, he traveled to France; and in 2017, to Romania.
While studying in France, he learned of the devastating floods in southern West Virginia, including his hometown. When he returned home that summer, he spent the latter part of his summer helping his father rebuild their family home and engaging in other flood relief efforts.
In 2017, with the help of the Jay Rockefeller WVU Political Science Grant, he began co-authoring Wild. Wonderful. Wicked., a journal documenting the stories of the people impacted by the floods.
Also in 2017, he interned with the U.S. State Department in the Region Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Riga, Latvia, where he conducted research on the effects of the Russian language on politics and relations between the Baltic nations and Russia.
He has been named a Gilman International Scholar, WVU AFROTC Commander’s Scholar, recipient of the National Air Force ROTC Distinguished Graduate Award, and a finalist for the British Marshall Scholarship.
Following graduation, he will commission into the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant as an Intelligence Officer where he wishes to focus on human intelligence in Eastern Europe.
He plans to pursue a master’s degree in Russian and Eastern European studies.