Aaron Thompson is a second-year PhD student in SLL and the president of the Society of Slavic Graduate Students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Aaron received a dual B.A. in Russian and anthropology from the University of Arizona in 2015, and then lived in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he worked for an education consultancy. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to study primarily how Russian literature from 1850-1950 created, supported, and deconstructed ideology, especially ideologies of religious institutions. He is most interested in the ways through which writers and poets sought to answer existential questions Russia faced on the nature of the connection between the individual self and the whole community. Aaron is also a candidate for the Digital Humanities certificate and a founding member of the Russian Natural Language Processing research group. In his spare time Aaron enjoys exploring Virginian nature on and off his motorcycle and cooking foods from around the world with his cat, Lev.