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.
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.
Stuard 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.
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.
Abigail Thompsonnative 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 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.