Alumni

Undergraduate

Haley Anderson, BA 2011

Haley Anderson, BA 2011

This fall Haley (Russian and East European Studies major) begins studies at New York University School of Law as an International Law Dean's Scholar. Additionally, her article on the role played by perceptions of the United States in the Russo-Georgian War of 2008 will be published in this semester's foreign language edition of The Oculus.


Ryan Baird, BA 2013

Ryan Baird, BA 2013

"During the end of my junior year in high school and after three discouraging years of German I was encouraged by the Russian language teacher to enroll in Russian 101 my senior year. Against all advice from my parents I enrolled and soon discovered that my tongue was meant to speak Russian. Shortly after high school I spent two years (2005-2007) in Ukraine as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My work there brought me very close to the people there. I obtained a greater fluency of Russian, and learned much about every day life in eastern Ukraine and about some of the history of that area. Returning home I studied Russian more in depth and have read a lot on the history of Russia and eastern Europe. My wife and I will celebrate our three-year anniversary this December and will also welcome our first child. We moved to Charlottesville a year ago after I completed my associates degree and now I plan on completing a degree in Russian Language and Literature while double majoring in Foreign Affairs. I hope to apply my understanding of this region and language to a rewarding career in Foreign Affairs or intelligence."


Rachel Ball, BA 2012

Rachel Ball, BA 2012

"When I first arrived at UVa, I enrolled in First-Year Russian to satisfy the foreign language requirement for graduation. I have a knack for languages and wanted to take something that was challenging and used a different alphabet. While taking that first semester of Russian language, I was fascinated by the complexities of the language and the rich history. I quickly signed up for as many Russian classes as possible, including politics, history, culture, literature, and folklore. Now that I am a Fourth-Year and have had the opportunity to study in Moscow this summer, I have developed a passion for Russian language and culture.


Melissa Bender, BA 2011

Melissa Bender, BA 2011

After spending the fall semester of 2009 studying abroad in St. Petersburg, Melissa graduated in May with a double major in Foreign Affairs and Russian and East European Studies. She is currently interning in the Communications department of Management Systems International, an international development company and USAID contractor. Although she is working in (purely-English language) Communications now, she hopes to further her study of Russian within the development community, specifically through democracy, human rights, and governance projects in Russia and the CIS region.


Ryan Briggs, BA 2013

Ryan Briggs, BA 2013

From the very first day of Russian 1010 as a wide-eyed and clueless first year Russian student, I knew I was hooked. Russian is a language that is as multi-layered and interesting as the people and culture from which it emanates. The early days were hard work (though as were the later days!), but the wonderful professors and students around me kept me learning and exploring. Russian became a constant in my 8 semesters, even as everything around me changed. The department worked to accommodate my passion for Russian with my demanding Commerce schedule. From the rapids of verb declension and 17 letter words, to daily conversation and watching Soviet-era movies, everyday was different. It's an adventure I wouldn't replace for anything, and I couldn't be more thankful for the Slavic department and the professors who helped me get there. (Special thanks to Professor Lilia Travisano for the hours upon hours of extra teaching time spent with me in her office, I certainly couldn't have done it without you!)

Ryan now works in New York City in the financial services industry (and wants to use his Russian far more than he currently does)


Hillary Hurd, BA 2013

Hillary Hurd, BA 2013

"Ever since I saw the animated adaptation of "Anastasia" in 1997, I was totally taken with the idea of Russia and Eastern Europe. Despite the rather childish incentive to study Russian, I have not found a way to turn back. While the language, with all of its cases and complexity, has been a rewarding challenge, it’s the literature that has kept me hostage. From Tolstoy to Gogol to Dostoevsky, there are few writers holding such powerful lenses to the human experience and few places more naturally obscure than Russia."


Chelsea Kelly, BA 2011

Chelsea Kelly, BA 2011

Chelsea Kelly graduated with a minor in Russian and Eastern European Studies in May 2011. She spent the summer traveling through Asia and co-authoring a publication for the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based organization that researches small arms and light weapons policy issues. In the fall, she will begin her 1L year at Yale Law School.


Ross Koon, BA 2012

Ross Koon, BA 2012

"I arrived at my study of Russian through the kindness of Lilia Safyanovna, who allowed me to sit in on her already-full RUSS 101 class on my first day as a UVA student. I had always been fascinated with Soviet-era history and politics, and wanted to explore the language. Little did I know it would grow to be the most beautiful, intriguing, frustratingly complex, and mystical subject I've ever studied. The incredible first-hand experience of the faculty and staff, along with their unending willingness to engage with and help their students, has opened a rich new world for me to explore. These past few years in the Slavic Department have transformed my study of Russian language, history, politics, literature, culture, and so much more from a simple hobby into one of my most fulfilling passions."


John Pfeiffer, BA 2011

John Pfeiffer, BA 2011

After graduating in May, John moved up to New York City to work for Global Advertising Strategies, a Russian-owned marketing and advertising firm. He found the position while reading an article about Snob magazine, a Russian-American publication, which Global does the ad placements for. He credits His Russian and Eastern European Studies major and his interest in Russian culture for helping him get his position, and he uses his Russian knowledge daily -- reviewing Russian advertisements, translating information into/from Russian for account managers and just small talk around the office. The last three months have been a crash-course in the world of marketing and advertising, but it has been a wonderful experience thus far!

 


Meredith Richardson, BA 2013

Meredith Richardson, BA 2013

"I started studying German in high school and fell in love with foreign languages—I wanted to learn to speak as many foreign languages as I possibly could! When I got to UVa, I started studying Russian and decided that though it is a devilishly difficult language, it is beautiful and enthralling. Of all the languages I’ve studied, Russian is my favorite. I decided to major in Russian Language and Literature so that I can become fluent in Russian and become very knowledgeable of the Russian culture through the literature. I hope to use my foreign language abilities in my future career and in my future travels.”


Danny Rosenmund, BA 2012

Danny Rosenmund, BA 2012

"After initially only being acquainted with the great Russian composers of the late 18th century, I started to branch out into the language, literature, and art of Russia. I absolutely loved everything I encountered and found myself entrenched in the language and culture of Russia. After spending a month in the country studying with Professor Ryan, I plan to continue my studies of Russian music and culture in graduate school."


Graduate

Katherine Bowers, BA 2002, M.A. 2004

Katherine Bowers, BA 2002, M.A. 2004

Katia is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She teaches Russian and comparative literature and culture. After finishing her MA in Slavic Languages and Literature in 2004, she continued her graduate studies at Northwestern, where she completed her PhD in 2011 with a specialization in Russian literature. From 2012-2014, Katia was a postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Cambridge and a Research Fellow of Darwin College. Katia's research areas are eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russian literature, and she is particularly interested in questions of genre and narrative, as well as cultural history, and comparative European literatures.


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Erin Franklin, M.A. 2010

Erin Franklin, M.A. 2010

Erin is working toward her Ph.D. in Slavic linguistics at the University of Chicago. Her main language is Russian; Polish is secondary. Her current area of interest is language contact.


Sasha Johnson-Coleman, M.A. 2002

Sasha Johnson-Coleman, M.A. 2002

Sasha is currently an assistant professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA, teaching mostly linguistics and research and methods courses. After graduating from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, she earned her Ph.D. in Linguistics with a concentration of Sociolinguistics and Language Variation from the University of Georgia in 2008. Her research interests include language and identity, language and education, language and the workplace, and critical discourse analysis. She is married and has a son.


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Katya Jordan, Ph.D. 2014

Katya Jordan, Ph.D. 2014


Jeanette Lacoss, Ph.D. 1997

Jeanette Lacoss, Ph.D. 1997

Jann’s dissertation, “Contemporary Russian Chlidlore: Coping with Change and Dissolution” was followed by a chapter on the folklore of Harry Potter, in The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a Literary Phenomenon. She now serves as Associate Director of Admissions at Caltech, where she oversees international admissions for undergraduates. She continues to collect folklore and as a folk artist has crocheted pi to about 30 decimal points.


John Lyles, Ph.D. 2011

John Lyles, Ph.D. 2011

John Lyles completed his dissertation, entitled "Confronting the Shadow: The Depiction of Caucasians in Russian Literature and Film" in 2011. He is currently at The College of William and Mary teaching second-year Russian and Dostoevsky. He is continuing his research on Dostoevsky's Poor Folk and on the depiction of Caucasians in Russian literature and film.


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Holly Myers, M.A. 2010

Holly Myers, M.A. 2010

After graduating with an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures in spring of 2010, Holly studied at the London School in Bishkek, Kazakhstan in the summer of 2010 on her own. She studied at KIMEP in Almaty, Kirghiz Republic, 2010-2011 through ACTR. She is currently a Ph.D.-track graduate student in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Columbia University. She has not not decided on a dissertation topic, but her research interests include Central Asian literature, zhenskaya proza, and contemporary Russian literature.


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Reed Johnson

Reed Johnson

B.A. Russian and Eastern European Studies, Wesleyan University; MFA Creative Writing, University of Virginia (Henry Hoyns Fellow), MA, Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Virginia (Jefferson Fellow), current PhD candidate.

Research Interests: Chekhov's short fiction, narrative theory, genre studies, literary translation, Soviet and contemporary Russian literature.

Publications: FICTION: "Triage," Narrative, December 2012; "Lemonade," New England Review, Spring 2013; "The Year in Numbers," Gettysburg Review, Summer 2014. NONFICTION/ESSAY: “If Holden Caulfield Spoke Russian,” The New Yorker (online), Sept. 11 2013; “The Unread: The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript,” The New Yorker (online) July 9, 2013. LITERARY TRANSLATIONS: "Glebov Junior," by Vsevold Benigsen, Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 2013; "The Lost Player" and "Players," by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Meridian, Spring 2012; various screenplays, including a full-length feature film script by Vladimir Sorokin in preproduction in the US. CRITICISM: "Lost Classic: Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky" in Meridian, Spring 2012; "One Thousand and One Kolyma Nights: Shalamov and Scheherazade in “The Serpent Charmer,” Gulag Studies, 2013.

Papers Presented: "Translation and Palimpsest: Natalya Klyucharova's 'One Year in Paradise,'" University of Virginia Slavic Forum, February 2011; "Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky's Memories of the Future," Southern Conference on Slavic Studies, 2012; “Shalamov and the Ethics of Storytelling,” American Association of Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, 2013

Courses Taught: Contemporary Satire (2009); Fiction Writing (2010); Theory and Praxis of Literary Translation (2012). Teaching Assistanceships: Second-Year Russian (2011-12), Dostoevsky (2013), Anthropology of Tourism (Semester at Sea: 2014).

Awards: Jefferson Fellowship (John S. Lillard Fellow, Jefferson Scholars Foundation); Henry Hoyns Fellowship, University of Virginia; Ivan Klima Fellowship, Prague Summer Program; Emily Balch Award for Best Short Story by UVa Graduate Student; Second Place, Narrative Magazine Spring Fiction/Nonfiction Competition, 2012; Runner-Up, James Jones First Novel Fellowship (2015).


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Vicky Vutova

Vicky Vutova

M.A. Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia; Humanitarian Profile (Summa Cum Laude), American College of Sofia, Bulgaria; B.A. Russian Area Studies (Magna Cum Laude), Washington and Lee University

Research Interests: Slavic folklore (fairy tales, myths, legends, art, traditions, holidays, dances), Nina Sadur, Russian Modernism, Pushkin and classical mythology, Karamzin, Nabokov’s space organization, Bulgarian and Russian purge literatures

Papers Presented: "Witch’s Tears: Sadur’s Moral Scary Fairy Tale of the Modern Day Rusalka," University of Virginia Slavic Forum, February 2011.

"Nabokov's 'Opened' and 'Closed' Spaces: Space Organization in The Defense and Glory as an Expression of Nabokov's Memories of Russia," at an interdisciplinary conference focusing on "The Self and Other", UVa Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, February 2012.

"The Vizroditelen Proces in Bulgaria", University of Virginia Slavic Forum, March 2012.

"The Four-Winged Seagull or Four Interpretations of Nina Zarechnaia as the Seagul in Chekhov's play, The Seagull", NESEEES Conference, Seton Hall University, March 2012.

"The 'Uncles', the Revolutionaries, and the Outsiders: The Three Inseparable Colors Ivan Vazov uses in Under the Yoke to Paint the Picture of the Bulgarian Nation in the 1870s", SCSS Conference, Savannah, GA, March 2012.

Languages: Bulgarian, Russian, Spanish

Courses Taught: English as Second Language (American College of Sofia); RUSS 1010, RUSS 2020, RUSS 3030

Publications:

"10 Things You Would Have Never Guessed Bulgaria Gave to the World", SSGS Obrazovanshchina Newsletter (December 2010).

Translation of a poem by the Bulgarian poet Peyo Yavorov into English, SSGS Obrazovanshchina Newsletter (May 2011).

“Life in the Russian House”, SSGS Obrazovanshchina Newsletter, (Fall 2011).

Extracurricular Activities: Directed the Spring 2012 student staging of Chekhov's Свадьба. Performance available online, here.

Awards:

First Year Russian Award (2006-2007), Washington and Lee University
Linda Cooper and Bobby Henderson Award (2009), Washington and Lee University


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