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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.