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Current Scholars

Patrick McGee

Class of: 2015
Hometown: Dallas, TX
School: Arts and Science
Major(s): Political Science

Patrick has varied interests but relishes the opportunity to engage and to learn through the care of others and our world. He believes that service isn’t something to participate in at certain points in time, but developing a habitual atitude of service and of care is the secret to a succesful life.

After serving on the Vanderbilt University Speakers Committee last year, Patrick is now co-Chair of the committee and is responsible for bringing interesting and entertaining speakers to campus and coordinating their visits.

Patrick has a passion for Nashville and its people. Throughout his Vanderbilt career, this passion has led him all over the city to participate in a variety of projects and to develop deep relationships with individuals from all walks of life. This year, it led him to Jake Ramsey—an inspirational and boundlessly energetic middle-school teacher at KIPP Academy and Ingram Scholar alum who made it his year-long mission to push his students to become their very best. Patrick enjoyed helping Jake in this quest throughout the year as a tutor and a mentor.  When there were 18 students who were not on track to pass their district exams Jake made it his mission to not let this happen. Patrick was determined to help and mobilized many of his friends to come help get these students to the next level.

An active member of the Sigma Alpha Epislon fraternity, Patrick serves as Philanthropy Chair and enjoys finding opportunities for its members to engage in the community in positive ways. He is also in charge of organizing service events and coordinating fundraisers throughout the year.

Patrick’s summers have focused on global issues and organizations that have the capacity and desire to fundamentally alter how the world works.

Last summer, Patrick served as an Intern for the EastWest Institute based in their Brussels office and traveling to New York, Berlin, Istanbul, Gaziantep, and Moscow. The EastWest Institute ( is an international, non-partisan, not-for-profit global think-and-do tank focused on confronting critical challenges that endanger peace. For over thirty years, the institute has been recognized as discreet and trusted advisors and intermediaries for governments and leaders around the world and has been integral shaping global events from behind the scenes. Patrick's main focus was to assist with the planning of the 9th Worldwide Security Conference: Reshaping Economic Security in Southwest Asia and the Middle East that was held in Brussels in November of 2012. He also spent time researching and writing trip reports and meeting summaries on a variety of the institute’s initiatives.  

The summer of 2013 found Patrick in Brazil doing his Ingram Summer Project for Aliança da Terra. Aliança da Terra is an action-oriented not-for-profit alliance of landowners and other stakeholders of all types in rural Brazil. They have a variety of programs and work very closely with the Kamayura and Xavante Indians, small-hold homesteaders, large landowners, and multi-national agribusinesses. They are committed to finding practical solutions for sustainable production by understanding that agricultural producers must be recognized as part of the solution when developing policies and programs to mitigate environmental degradation. They firmly believe that economic advancement and conservation must be balanced for either goal to be successful in sustainable ways.

Within this complex mosaic and vast network of stakeholders, Aliança recognized a desperate need for leadership in wildland firefighting. In 2009, they created their own elite fire brigade and since then have extinguished over 110 fires and trained scores of Indians and private landowners. These impressive accomplishments represent the tip of the iceberg in the needs facing Brazil in terms of wildland firefighting. In three short years, this fire brigade has earned international recognition including developing a close relationship with the U.S. Forest Service and being the feature of a BBC documentary entitled The Toughest Place to be a Firefighter.

They have reached a point where they need to turn this project into an institution with the potential to profoundly shape wildland firefighting practices and effectiveness in Brazil. Patrick’s summer project focused on research on wildland firefighting in Brazil and around the world and the creation of a manual that explains this research, analyzes the Aliança fire brigade, officially determines lines coordination, and plots a course for the future. This manual provides a way for Aliança and its partners to share their goals and plans with a broader community and is useful to them as they grow and formalize this program.