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.
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 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.