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Rickey Laurentiis McGhee

Student Stories

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“Your support helps students like me become the next generation of writers, scholars and academic leaders.”

“I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading,” says recent graduate Rickey Laurentiis McGhee.  “I always knew intuitively that I wanted to be a writer, but I thought my options were limited to short stories and novels. When my mom gave me a book of poems by Nikki Giovanni, it opened up a new world. I began publishing poems while I was in high school.” 

Rickey received a scholarship to Sarah Lawrence College, where he focused on creative writing and literature. While there, he won a fellowship to Cave Canem, an organization that cultivates the artistic and professional growth of African-American poets. In 2012, he received a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards for young poets in the United States. 

Washington University was Rickey’s first choice for graduate school. “In the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, I was able to explore my interdisciplinary interests,” Rickey says. “I had the opportunity to work with distinguished poets on the faculty, including Professor Carl Phillips, whom I met at Cave Canem, and Professor Mary Jo Bang.”

Rickey says he is grateful for the financial support that has allowed him to pursue an academic career. “As a member of the Chancellor’s Fellows Program, I also had the support of a diverse community of outstanding future professors,” he says. “The Annual Fund provides essential resources for every student in the Graduate School in Arts & Sciences. And that commitment to excellence ensures the strength of the program.”

Rickey’s plans include working at a publishing firm in New York City and pursuing a doctorate in either English or American studies. “Your support helps students like me become the next generation of writers, scholars and academic leaders,” he says.

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