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Past MA Students


Laurel Grace Baker

Laurel graduated from the University of Michigan with Highest Distinction, earning a B.A. in Russian (Highest Honors), a B.M.A. in Vocal Performance, and Minors in Linguistics and Translation Studies. Her thesis challenged the linguistic field’s current assessment of adult second language acquisition, and her other undergraduate research largely concerned Eurasian folk music and advocacy for Russian indigenous peoples. As an applied linguist, Laurel has held various freelance-writing and English-teaching positions, and has spent two summers in Europe and a semester at La Sorbonne Nouvelle (via Middlebury in Paris) honing her skills in Italian, French, German, and Spanish. At Stanford, she hopes to improve her Mandarin and Russian, explore Sino-Russian-E.U. Relations, and continue to champion her anthropological pursuits in indigenous visibility and folk music.

Nate Bogardus

Nate graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan with a double major in Russian and International Studies with a concentration in security, norms, and cooperation. During his undergraduate studies Nate followed his growing interest in Russian literature to Saint Petersburg, where he interned at the Museum of Nonconformist Art. Among his research interests is Soviet nuclear enthusiasm, development, and testing, particularly in Kazakhstan. He has also worked on a project to identify and record combatants who fought in both the Russian Imperial and Red armies. Outside of school Nate enjoys whittling and hiking. Nate is from New Haven, Connecticut.

Oliver Corcoran

Oliver Corcoran graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a double major in Russian and East European Studies, and History; a minor in Global Medieval Studies; and language certificates in Italian and Spanish.  While at the University of Pennsylvania, he served as the Russian Department language assistant.  He has spent summers studying abroad in Bishkek and Moscow, and also worked at Tinkoff Bank in their start-up telecoms division in Moscow.  As a CREEES student, Oliver hopes to research questions of energy security in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in particular the way green energy transition could be used to help smaller nations in these regions escape exploitative asymmetric interdependencies in the energy sector.


Jacqueline Kline

Jacqueline Kline graduated from Smith College in 2022 with a double major in Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies and Film & Media Studies, writing her capstone project on the nineteenth-century travel diary of a Russian monk in Orthodox Ethiopia. In her senior year, she studied abroad at Prague’s Film and Television Academy (FAMU). Since graduating, she has interned remotely at SRAS, a Slavic study abroad company, and has an article forthcoming in Vestnik, a student journal.

Daria Novikov

Daria Novikov graduated magna cum laude from The Ohio State University with B.A.s in Political Science and Russian and was twice awarded the Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship. During her senior year, she worked at the Kennan Institute, studying the Great Soviet Encyclopedia and brain drain from modern Russia. She assisted Ohio State faculty with policy research and translated her great-grandmother’s memoirs from Russian into English. Daria has spent two summers assisting the Policy and Research department as a Council Aide at the Cleveland City Council. Most recently, Daria worked with to translate war coverage into English. During her time at Stanford, she plans to learn Ukrainian and study the effects of Soviet repressions and disinformation on post-Soviet civil societies.

Claire Rips-Goodwin

Claire graduated with honors from the University of Kansas, receiving a bachelor’s in Russian and Eastern European Studies and a minor in history.  Her B.A .honors thesis evaluated the role of native reformers in building Uzbek nationhood in the late imperial period and the colonialist dynamics inherent to early Soviet nation building. Claire is interested in inter-ethnic relations within the Soviet Union and Russia as well as religion under totalitarianism. At CREEES she hopes to continue to investigate Soviet attitudes towards Central Asia and their relationship to broader trends of 20th century imperialism.


Alexa Black

Alexa graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a double major in History and English Literature and a minor in Russian Language. As an undergraduate, she completed a semester at University College London and an immersive Russian program with American Councils in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In 2020 she was awarded a Boren Scholarship to complete the Russian Overseas Flagship Capstone program, conducted virtually from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. Alexa’s research interests include national identity building in the Soviet context and environmental justice in Soviet and modern Central Asia.

Benjamin Bronkema-Bekker

Benjamin Bronkema-Bekker graduated with Highest Honors from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in political science, international studies, and Russian. His thesis assessed the role of internally displaced pensioners in bringing a resolution to the Donbass conflict. Ben has professional experience in environmental and labor organizations, and has conducted research for Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and Centers for Equity, Community, and Leadership. He is interested in post-Soviet peace, conflict, and security studies, as well as technology, environmental, and U.S. foreign policy.

Xingru Chen

Xingru Chen graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a double major in Russian Language and Finance. She spent her junior year studying at Pushkin State Russian Language Institute in Moscow. She aspires to learn and apply interdisciplinary knowledge into the studies of political economy of Russia and evaluations of business opportunities in Post-Soviet countries. During her college years she interned at CHN-RUS Energy Cooperation Investment Fund, People’s Daily, Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University, Center for Public Diplomacy Studies, and worked as a volunteer for several business and cultural exchange activities between China and Russia. As a CREEES student, Xingru hopes to probe into economic and political dynamics between China and Russia/Central Asia and improve her mastery of the Russian language.

Estelle Ciesla

Estelle Ciesla graduated from University College London with a B.A. in Politics, Sociology and East European studies. During her undergraduate career, she served as student president of the School and Slavonic and East European Studies. Estelle spent a year in Russia, living in Saint Petersburg, Moscow and Kazan. Her academic interests include surveillance studies and technopolitics. She has written her undergraduate dissertation on the impact of facial recognition cameras in Russia. At CREEES, she plans to further investigate the impact of technology on Russian politics by exploring how Russian opposition groups use social media to mobilize support.

Katherine Davidson

Katherine Davidson graduated from Bowdoin College with majors in Russian with a concentration in area studies, and Government with a concentration in international relations. Her honors thesis analyzed the US and UK policy formation process in response to Russian disinformation in 2016 elections and assessed the impact of structural differences on government responses. Kate has interned for Praescient Analytics, a data analytics company, the US House Committee on Homeland Security, and GameOn Technology, which offers intelligent chat applications. Her academic interests include Russian exercise of sharp power, foreign policy dynamics of the near abroad, the relationship between technology and international security, and Russian poetry.

Saga Helgason

Saga Helgason is Icelandic and graduated with distinction from the University of Iceland in 2019 with a BA degree in Russian Studies and a minor in Business Administration. Her BA thesis explored the changing attitudes of historians on the origins of the Cold War, focusing on security concerns. After graduation, she spent the summer in Moscow at the Pushkin Language Institute to further her Russian language skills and immerse herself in the culture. Saga has completed one year of the MA program in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Iceland whilst interning at The Arctic Institute, as part of the Institute’s podcast team. She spent the summer of 2021 at Íslandsbanki, working on the bank’s Sustainable Financing Framework, with particular focus on seafood companies. Through the CREEES program, she plans to deepen her academic interests in international security, sustainable energy and natural resource management, US-Russia relations and Arctic geopolitics. Saga hopes to further her career in Arctic affairs given the region’s strategic implications for the US, Russia and Iceland.

Christina Hill

Christina Hill graduated from Columbia University in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in History and Slavic Studies. Her senior honors thesis analyzed the KGB’s active measures in the Global South during the Cold War. Following graduation, Christina spent a summer in Almaty, Kazakhstan interning at the US Consulate General and later remained in Almaty to study Russian and work as a Princeton in Asia fellow. In 2020, she began working as a staff assistant for US Senator Brian Schatz in several of his issue areas.  Christina has a career interest in international policy and security and hopes to attend law school to focus on international law after receiving her masters degree from CREEES.

Grace Kier

Grace Kier graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Government and a B.A. in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. As an undergraduate, she studied at the Saint Petersburg State University and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and wrote her capstone on state building efforts in Gagauzia. Following graduation, she was a James C. Gaither Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she researched Russian foreign policy and military activity. Grace’s writing has been published by Foreign Policy, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and Her research interests include U.S.-Russia arms control and the separatist states of the former Soviet Union.

Rachel Landau

Rachel Landau graduated with honors from Brown University, where she concentrated in Literary Arts and Slavic Studies. She has been a poet-in-residence at Pushkinskaya-10, an intern at the Partnership for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Folklore, and a participant in CAMP AS ONE. After graduating from Brown in 2020, Rachel interned remotely at PEN America’s Eurasia department, where she researched and wrote about the intersection of cultural work and free expression in the region. Her academic interests include poetics, radicalization, and non-conformist art. Outside of her primary research, Rachel writes and translates poetry.

Rajiv Sinha

Rajiv Sinha graduated from University College London (UCL) with a B.A. in Politics & East European Studies in 2020.  As part of this degree, he spent a year at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, specialising in Russian language & culture, media studies, and business.  Since undergraduate study, Rajiv has worked at a fast-growing startup in London in the field of music technology.  He has held various positions within the Green Party of England & Wales, completing a term as Treasurer of the Young Greens in July 2021.  He is also a board trustee on the Paddington Development Trust, a charity dedicated to alleviating poverty and inequality in deprived areas of London.

Alexandra Steiner

Alex graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in International Studies and Russian with a specialization in Global Security. Before Stanford, she spent two years at the National Endowment for Democracy, where she worked on politics, human rights, and independent media in Eurasia. In addition to two intensive Russian immersion programs, Alex received an academic year FLAS Fellowship to complete the Russian Overseas Flagship Capstone Program in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Her interests include post-Soviet democratization, US-Russian relations, and the interactions between politics, historical memory, and civic consciousness in Central Asia. Alex is from Portland, Oregon.


True Sweetser

True Sweetser is a coterm student who completed an undergraduate degree in History and a minor in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Stanford. Within history, his focus is on Russian history, particularly the history of political thought, and this intersects with his interests in Russian literature and the Russian view of reality. At CREEES, True plans to continue his studies of Russian history and literature, particularly during the Soviet era, and to grapple with depictions of Russian nationalism in the past and present. During his previous years as an undergrad, True was a member of the varsity Stanford Men’s Swimming and Diving Team and the USA Swimming National Team, where he represented the US internationally at multiple world championships and the Pan American Games.


Jasmine Alexander-Greene

Jasmine Alexander-Greene graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Russian and a minor in History. Her undergraduate career included preparing the Ambassador Jack F. and Rebecca Matlock Archives, summer study at St. Petersburg State University and advanced Russian at Indiana University’s Summer Language Workshop. Jasmine has been an ACTR Post-Secondary Scholar-Laureate and finalist for a Fulbright English Teaching grant to Russia. Her academic interests include political folklore, urban anthropology, late Soviet history, and patriotism and national identity under Putin. She will use her time at CREEES to investigate the present-day position of Russian monotowns.

Zach Cowan

Zach Cowan completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University, where he focused on the study of Russia.  As an undergraduate, Zach pursued work in the public, private, and non-profit sectors and actively engaged with Russian communities in both Russia and the US.  Zach studied in Moscow through an exchange program before joining Amazon in Seattle, where he spent time in business management and oversaw strategic programs at the company.  Zach’s academic interests include domestic affairs in Russia, governance, and the impact of demographic change in the country.

Steven Newman

Steven Newman is joining the CREEES program as a co-terminal Stanford student. He majored at Stanford in International Relations, specializing in Europe & Russia and International Security, with a minor in Modern Languages (Russian and Italian). Steven interned at the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria and will study Czech this summer in Olomouc, Czechia on a scholarship from the Czech Ministry of Education. He plans to improve his mastery of the Russian language while studying at CREEES and to reach an advanced working level in other Slavic languages. Steven is interested in how Eastern European and Eurasian satellite states have navigated their post-Soviet independence, and hopes to pursue a career promoting US diplomatic relations and developing global business opportunities.

Sanja Savić

 Sanja Savic is a co-term student, who completed a double-major in Slavic Languages and Literatures and Psychology and a minor in Italian as an undergraduate at Stanford. Her studies focused on human semiotic potential in foreign languages and literatures, language acquisition and linguistic relativity. She has worked as a research assistant at the Stanford’s Language and Developmental Lab and as a teaching Fellow for Stanford’s Psychology One program. She was awarded the J. E. Wallace Sterling Award for Scholastic Achievement. While at CREEES, she plans to investigate the interaction between language and identity in Balkan countries.


Carly Seedall

A native of Portland, Oregon, Carly earned a degree in International Relations from Franklin University Switzerland, completing a semester at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; an internship in refugee counseling with Caritas Germany; and a Tajiki Persian immersion program with American Councils in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. After volunteering for EU Border Management Northern Afghanistan, Carly compared international counter-narcotics initiatives in Tajikistan and Afghanistan as part of her Bachelor’s thesis. Following graduation, she returned to Tajikistan as a Resident Director for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) and later moved to Göttingen, Germany, to work in academic publishing. As a CREEES student, Carly hopes to research migration and the politics of development and humanitarian work in Eurasia and achieve Russian proficiency. She is also completing a professional certification in Humanitarian Logistics from the Fritz Institute.



Rossella Cerulli

Rossella Cerulli grew up in Boston and while an undergraduate at Stanford finished coursework for a double-major in Political Science and Slavic Studies in three years. She spent the summer of 2018 in Kyrgyzstan as a State Department Critical Language Scholar, and in the 2018-19 academic year served as a delegate to the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum (SURF). On campus she has worked as a research assistant at the Law School and in the Slavic Department. During summer 2019, she is conducting U.S.-Russia relations research at the The American Security Project in Washington, DC. As a CREEES student, she hopes to further develop Russian language skills while deepening her knowledge of national security issues relating to U.S.-Russia relations. 


Stuart McLaughlin

Stuart McLaughlin is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated with distinction from The Pennsylvania State University with B.A. degrees in Spanish and Russian with a minor in Arabic. After graduation, Stu was awarded with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he analyzed the sociolinguistic and political complications of multilingualism among the Russian-speaking and Azerbaijani sectors in the capital. Through the CREEES program, Stu will apply his passion for foreign languages to analyze the impact of generational multilingualism on sociopolitical identity in the post-Soviet space. He is continuing his study of Kazakh in summer 2019 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under a Title VIII grant.


Matthew Sparks

Matthew Sparks graduated from the University of Chicago in June 2019 with general and special honors, having double-majored in Russian and Eastern European Studies (REES) and Political Science. As part of his REES major, Matthew studied Russian language, and his thesis focused on the patriotic re-contextualization of history under Stalin and Putin. Matthew spent two summers at the Kathryn Wasserman Davis School of Russian at Middlebury College in Vermont to advance his Russian language proficiency. Matthew’s academic interests include foreign security policy and international relations between the U.S. and Russia as well as the greater Eastern European/Eurasian region.

Abigail Thompson

Abigail Thompson, native of Columbia, Missouri, Abigail received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science and a Master of Arts in Applied Economics in spring 2016 from the University of Alabama. At present, Abigail is working concurrently towards a J.D. at Stanford Law School, an M.A. at CREEES, and an LL.M. in European and International Business Law at the University of Vienna. Before coming to Stanford, Abigail completed the Russian Summer Program at Middlebury College as a Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace and spent nine months in Irkutsk, Russia on Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship and Critical Language Enhancement Awards. During her time at Stanford, Abigail has interned for Judge Zel Fischer, the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court; served as a criminal defense attorney in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties with Stanford Law School's Criminal Defense Clinic; and worked on energy and global dispute matters as a summer associate with King & Spalding, LLP in Houston, Texas. Abigail hopes eventually to serve as a multidisciplinary resource for those dealing in global energy and Arctic affairs.  


Justin Tomczyk

Justin Tomczyk graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Russian Studies and Informatics. His undergraduate career included FLAS fellowships in Kyiv, Ukraine during summer 2015 and a year of study at the Russian-Armenian Slavonic University in Yerevan, Armenia during the 2017-2018 academic year. Following the completion of his degree and the 2018 Velvet Revolution, Justin Tomczyk remained in Yerevan to work as a researcher specializing in political stability in the post-Soviet space. His research interests include Armenia-EU relations, regional integration in the South Caucasus, and energy politics in the former Soviet Union.




Madelaine Graber

Madelaine Graber graduated with distinction from Stanford University with a B.A.H. in Psychology and a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures. She engaged deeply in the psychological sciences through an honors thesis focused on how relationships between hormones in the brain are affected by stressful life experiences; she merged her two majors in her Slavic capstone project in which she analyzed how Chekhov depicted psychosis in his stories. As a CREEES student, she hopes to continue to both improve her Russian language skill and apply her psychological training to issues of foreign relations between Russia and the rest of the world.

Jake Zawlacki

Jake Zawlacki graduated from the University of San Diego where he received a B.A. in Art History and Interdisciplinary Humanities. After graduating, he served in the Peace Corps as a Community Youth Specialist in the predominantly Kazakh western province of Mongolia. Following his Peace Corps service, Jake received a Fulbright research grant to study the health impacts and demographics of traditional Central Asian cradleboards in the Kyrgyz Republic. He is currently studying Kazakh this summer at Nazarbayev University under a FLAS grant.


Amber Frankland

Amber Frankland graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a BA in Russian and East European Studies and Linguistics. She wrote her BA thesis on discourses surrounding top Soviet and American racehorses in international competition during the 1950’s and 1960’s. In the course of her undergraduate career she studied abroad in Saratov, Russia and interned at the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg. Her academic interests include language politics and policy in Russia and Central Asia, Eurasianism, Turkic-Russian language contact, and the role of cultural exchanges in international diplomacy. She is a recipient of a FLAS grant for Kazakh.


Pat Goodridge

Pat Goodridge recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in linguistics and took Russian political history courses. His undergraduate research focused on first- and second-language acquisition of Russian. An avid blogger, he does regular guest posts on the critical languages for Career Linguist and writes Russian vocabulary articles for Transparent Language’s Russian Language and Culture Blog. He was the only undergraduate to attend Duke’s 2016 Slavic Summer Institute, and this summer is studying Kazakh at UW-Madison on a State Department Title VIII grant. He is a recipient of an academic year FLAS grant for Russian.

Persia Goudarzi

Persia Goudarzi graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, where she double majored in Aerospace Engineering and Russian Studies. A Domestic Russian Flagship student at UCLA, Persia received a certificate in Russian Language and Culture for STEM Majors and a Critical Language Scholarship from the State Department. Her senior thesis focused on the development of NATO-Russia relations in the post-Cold War era and Russia’s pivot to Asia. A FLAS recipient, Persia’s academic interests include Russian foreign policy, Sino-Russian relations, Geopolitical developments in Central Asia and the evolution and future of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Jules Hirschkorn

Jules Hirschkorn is a graduate of Boston University where he majored in aerospace engineering with a concentration in Russian language. In addition, he spent a summer term in St. Petersburg studying Russian language and culture. After graduation, he received a commission in the US Air Force and subsequently served 11 years on active duty, primarily as a special operations pilot. Jules is pursuing an interest in contemporary geopolitics and language. He currently serves as a reservist in the USAF.

Hristiana Petkova

Hristiana Petkova obtained a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles with a double major in Political Science and Russian Studies. She combined her two fields of study by focusing her honors thesis on recent Russian foreign policy making, including a possible explanation for Russia’s annexation of Crimea. In 2015, she recieved the David L. Boren scholarship to study abroad in Almaty, Kazakhstan for an academic year in order to achieve professional fluency in Russian. At Stanford, she hopes to continue exploring Russia’s foreign policy mechanisms, focusing especially on the role of status and prestige in the former Soviet region.

Andrew Postovoit

Andrew Postovoit graduated from the United States Military Academy, with a B.S. in American Politics. He commissioned as an Army Officer in 2008 and has served in a variety of capacities, currently as a Foreign Area Officer.  Andrew studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA and spent the last year conducting Eastern European regional studies and travel at the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany. After graduate school, Andrew plans to serve in the field of defense cooperation in Eastern Europe.

Skyler Samuelson

Skyler Samuelson graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2017 with a B.A. in Russian Literature and Language. In her undergraduate thesis she explored the theme of the underground in African American and Russian literatures through Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground. Her other Russian interests include Teffi, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, Russian translation, and singing Russian songs. Her other great passion is rowing, and she will be rowing for Stanford’s lightweight women’s team while in the CREEES program. 


Joel Beckner

Joel Beckner is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, with a B.A. in International Relations. Shortly after graduating he received his commission in the US Army and has served in various capacities in Germany, Iraq, and South Korea. Joel is now a Foreign Area Officer, has studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and subsequently spent 15 months traveling throughout Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Joel plans to focus his studies on the emerging Arctic and the implications of this phenomenon for Russia and NATO.

Melanie Dalby

Melanie Dalby graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in political science and in Russian studies. As a member of UCLA’s Russian Flagship program, Melanie recently completed a capstone year Russian language study abroad program in Almaty, Kazakhstan, as well as a two month study in Vladimir, Russia. Her undergraduate thesis analyzed Russian foreign policy on state sovereignty, particularly in cases regarding the United Nations Security Council. A FLAS recipient, Melanie plans to continue studying the issue of foreign policy divides between the United States and Russia, especially regarding former Soviet states.

David Ernst

David Ernst graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2010 with a BA in Government in History. He subsequently worked as a research assistant at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC on strategic futures in the Middle East and Central Asia for contracts with the Department of Defense. Later, he worked as a paralegal in the Department of Justice in a unit devoted to prosecuting violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He is a recipient of an academic year FLAS grant for Russian.

Ivan Jiang

Ivan Jiang graduated from Bates College with a B.S. in European Studies. During his undergraduate studies, he also studied economics and mathematics, and aspires to combine his knowledge of various disciplines to evaluate business opportunities in Post-Soviet countries in a more holistic way. Besides Russian history, he is also very interested in the ethnic policies of the Soviet Union and their impact. He has lived in Hamburg and St. Petersburg, improving his knowledge of German and Russian.

Benjamin Kim

Benjamin Kim was born in Boston, MA and raised in Columbia, SC. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in 2005. During his 11 years of service in the Army, Ben has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as an Infantry platoon leader and company commander, respectively. Ben currently serves as an Army Foreign Area Officer (FAO) in training based at the US Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. He will be stationed in Europe until January 2017. After graduate school, Ben hopes to serve in the arena of defense cooperation or as a military attaché at an embassy.

Seulgi Ko

Seulgi Ko studied Russian language and Economics at Incheon National University in South Korea. She joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea in 2012 and was posted to the Korean Embassy in Ukraine as a Third Secretary from 2013 to 2015. During this time, she developed a keen interest in Russo-Ukrainian relations. Her academic interests include Russo-Ukrainian relations, Ukraine’s role between Russia and Europe and the geopolitical situation surrounding Ukraine. Upon completion of her MA program at Stanford, she plans to pursue a diplomatic career in Russia and throughout the Eurasian region.

Caitlyn Littlepage

Caitlyn Littlepage studied International Relations and Russian Language as an undergraduate student at Stanford and enters the CREEES Master’s Program as a coterminal student. A FLAS recipient for Russian Language, her academic interests include contemporary security crises along the eastern flank of NATO, nationalist narratives in Eastern Europe, and collective memory of conflict. 

Bri Mostoller

Bri Mostoller graduated from Stanford University, where she double majored in Slavic and International Relations, with specializations in international security and Russian and European studies. During her undergraduate career, she engaged in research on the persistence of violent conflict, Stalin’s foreign policy in Finland and Italy, Russian military modernization, and the politics of folklore and revival in Russia. As a recipient of the Beagle II Award, during the summer of 2016, she is conducting field research across Europe, from Poland to the Netherlands, studying the politics and ideology of the modern Esperanto movement. Bri’s academic interests include trends in Russian nationalism, the evolution of Russian military doctrine, and the modern Cossack movement.

Victoria Pardini

Victoria Pardini graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014 with degrees in history and political science. As part of her senior research, she focused on feminist dissident thought in the Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev. During her year at Stanford, she hopes to continue this work through a contemporary lens. During the 2015-2016 academic year, she was Fulbright Program English Teach Assistant in Russia, where she worked with students at all levels of education in Ukhta, Komi Republic. A FLAS recipient for the upcoming academic year, she also has worked in research and public relations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the United States Senate, respectively.

Katherine Schroeder

Katherine Schroeder graduated from the University of Washington in 2015 with a degree in International Studies and a minor in Russian. When she was fifteen, she received a NSLI-Y grant to travel from her rural hometown in Central Washington to Gatchina, Russia, which began her lifelong passion for Russian studies. Her senior thesis focused on online protest groups in post-Soviet Russia. She was a summer FLAS recipient in 2014 to Kazan, Russia, which allowed her to collect data for her thesis and study Russian language. Katherine also spent nine months in Ufa, Russia with a Fulbright English Teaching Award. While in Ufa, she taught pre-law students and researched constitutional law with Russian faculty.

Ryan Wauson

Ryan Wauson graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Russian Studies. During his undergraduate career, he studied in Moscow, Russia and wrote his undergraduate thesis on Leon Trotsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s failed struggles for power. After graduating, Ryan studied Russian language and culture in Almaty, Kazakhstan for a year as part of the Russian Flagship Program. His academic interests include power dynamics within Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, ideology as an adaptive tool of control, and the influence of media in forming public opinion in the Russian body politic.


Tom Koritschan

Tom Koritschan graduated from the University of Zurich with a BA in East European History and Political Science after previous BA studies in Classical Piano. His undergraduate thesis introduced a theoretical framework on the relationship between higher education and foreign policy in the post-Soviet space. He has lived in Prague, Kiev and Moscow, and served as an interpreter in Georgia and Abkhazia. He has worked on a research team investigating Soviet energy politics and at a startup company entering the Russian-speaking market. Tom’s academic interests include the history of upbringing in the Russian Empire, Soviet Pedology and sports education, and the interaction between social values, travelling, politics and education.

Ophelia Lai

Ophelia Lai studied politics and East European studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on temporality in the thought of Hannah Arendt. Her interests include identity, collective memory and image-making in the post-communist space.

Amanda Lorei

Amanda Lorei studied English as an undergraduate student at Stanford and comes to CREEES as a co-terminal student. Last summer, Amanda completed a language course and homestay in Moscow. She enjoys reading Russian literature and plans to study the intersection of politics and creativity in Soviet-era literature. 

Laura Marti

Laura Marti graduated from Stanford University, where she studied Russian language, history and culture. While an undergraduate, Laura also studied biology and chemistry, and hopes to ultimately attend veterinary school following her time at Stanford. Laura assisted the political science department, translating documents for a project on the Soviet Union’s involvement in Afghanistan before 1979. A FLAS recipient for Russian, Laura studied the stray dog populations in Eastern Europe and their impacts on public health. 

Ian McGinnity

Ian McGinnity graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2011 with a BA in International Relations and Russian & Eastern European Studies. He then spent three years working for a public policy firm in Washington, DC, where he was a part of a legislative team that advocated to the US Federal Government on energy, security, and tax issues on behalf of clients that included universities, research institutes, and Fortune 200 companies. Ian left Washington to research renewable energy development, energy security, and energy finance in Armenia through a US Fulbright Scholarship, where he also worked as a Resident Fellow for the Regional Studies Center. He was a recipient of both a summer and academic year FLAS grant.

Uve Poom

Uve Poom is from Estonia and holds a bachelor's degree in adult education from Tallinn University. During his undergraduate studies, Uve was an avid intervarsity debater and continues to support and promote debate as an engaging method for civic education. After graduating from Tallinn University in 2009, he spent five years managing the Unitas Foundation, an educational non-profit based in Tallinn. Uve helped launch a range of initiatives for researching and teaching history in contemporary ways, from setting up digital archives to developing web-based and participative educational methods. These projects include co-operation with the Stanford University Libraries. Working with reconciliatory history and human rights education programs, his expertise covers the intersection of national identities, history and politics, especially in the context of Estonia and the Baltic states. He has also written on these themes for Estonian and international periodicals.

Margarita Velmozhina

Margarita Velmozhina graduated from Lewis University in 2015 with a degree in Biology and minor in Mandarin Chinese. Initially, her passion for health care was only in the medical aspect of clinical care, however, her interests expanded to the social, economic and political determinants of social welfare policies and social spending concerning health care. She is interested in conducting research on the health care systems of both Russia and China. She participated in the STARTALK program in 2010, studying Chinese, and in subsequent years, she worked as a teaching assistant for the Russian STARTALK classes.

Isaac Webb

Isaac Webb moved to Kyiv, Ukraine on a Fulbright Fellowship after graduating from Washington & Lee University in 2013. There, he studied the relationship between the Ukrainian government and the country’s disabled population. He also worked as a journalist, covering the EuroMaidan Revolution and ensuing conflict in eastern Ukraine for a variety of publications. After returning from Kyiv, he was a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he researched and wrote about Ukrainian politics and American foreign policy. A 2015-2016 FLAS recipient, Isaac has written for the Atlantic, World Policy Journal, VICE, Eurasia Outlook, Kyiv Post, Russia Magazine, and Interpreter Mag, and made appearances on the BBC, CTV, and Radio New Zealand. 


Alyssa Haerle

Alyssa Haerle graduated from University of California, Los Angeles in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Studies. Her research projects at UCLA focused on former President Dmitry Medvedev’s use of social networks and the internet and on Russia’s modernization program. Alyssa traveled to Russia multiple times, including on the Russian Flagship Overseas Capstone program in St. Petersburg, where she attained distinguished fluency level in Russian language and tested at FSI level 3. She gained experience with Russian entrepreneurial ecosystem development during an internship with support from UCLA in the Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity (EURECA) program at St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics. She subsequently worked as project coordinator for UCLA’s EURECA program grant for two years. She is a recipient of the 2011-2012 David L. Boren Scholarship and the 2014-2015 FLAS Fellowship at Stanford, both for Russian study. Her interests are in post-Soviet development and modernization and entrepreneurship in Russia. 

Luke Rodeheffer

Luke Rodeheffer graduated from Lewis and Clark college in 2011, where he studied History and Russian. He was subsequently a Fulbright Fellow in Ukraine and a research assistant at Koç University in Turkey. A FLAS recipient for Turkish, Luke is interested in geopolitical and political risk analysis, rule of law, and security issues in broader Eurasia. He has written analysis on Eurasia for a variety of publications, including The Diplomat, Business Insider, and The Middle East Monitor.