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After Lewis & Clark
We love to hear from our former students of Russian!
We recently heard from some of them and we want to share their stories with you. (If you are one of our alumni and you wish to send us a story or update your old one, please e-mail Tatiana Osipovich: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In chronological order by year of graduation:
Mary I. Dakin’88 (Economics, Russian & East European Studies minor)
MA and PhD, Political Science, Indiana University, with a focus in Soviet and Post-Soviet politics.
Mary worked at the Moscow office of a US law firm, taught at the University of Puget Sound and Indiana University and was Assistant Director at the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University. She is Associate Director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) and Lecturer in Political Science at Stanford University. http://www.linkedin.com/in/maryidakin.
John Pearce ‘90 (Biology, Russian 4 years)
MS Biology, U Idaho, PhD candidate in Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
In 1989 John participated in the first Lewis & Clark student exchange to Khabarovsk, Portland’s sister city in the Russian Far East where he immersed himself in Russian student life, local performing arts, and individual research. In 1990 he was hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska to act as interpreter for visiting Russian biologists. In the summers of 1993 - 1995 he worked as interpreter and biologist for a joint US-Russian scientific expedition to the Indigirka River Delta on the north coast of the Yakutsk Republic, Russia. This research formed the basis for his Master’s thesis and focused on the breeding and migration ecology of the Spectacled Eider (see photo), currently listed as ‘threatened’ in North America under the Endangered Species Act.
John is now Chief of the Wetlands and Terrestrical Ecology Branc of the US Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center in Anchorage where he oversees a broad research program on biology, wildlife disease, climate change, and genetics of Arctic and sub-Arctic flora and fauna.
More information about his work at USGS can be found at: http://alaska.usgs.gov/staff/staffbio.php?employeeid=173.
Susan King ‘91 (Self-Designed Russian major)
Susan worked in Khabarovsk for three years, then received her Master’s in Public Administration at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She was the Associate Director at the Mac Arthur Foundation in Moscow for 5 years and later worked as a Program Manager for US-RFE Partnership Activity at the Foundation for Russian-American Economic Cooperation in Seattle. Currently she is a Senior Program Officer on the Eurasia team responsible for Russia at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Washington, D.C.
Julie Kuchepatov (nee Ratko) ’91 (Foreign Languages: Russian and French)
After her graduation from Lewis & Clark, Julie worked in the Russian Far East before becoming Director of Russian Operations at the Ponoi River Company where she worked for almost 10 years. This position at the most successful sport fishing lodges in Russia allowed her to gain valuable tundra experience and fine-tune her Russian language skills. After earning her MA in communication at Portland State University a few years later, she joined the Wild Salmon Center in Portland, Oregon, where she manages the sustainable fisheries work on Sakhalin, putting her logistical and communications skills to work in support of the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative. Her extracurricular activities are dedicated solely to her two fabulous daughters, except when she is wine-tasting with her husband.
Jason Stanford,’92 (Self-designed Russian Studies major)
Editor, Moscow Guardian (1992). Reporter/Researcher, Los Angeles Times, Moscow bureau (1993). Dept. Press Secretary to Texas Gov. Ann Richards (1994). President, Stanford Campaigns (1997-present)
“If the Communist hardliners had not tried to overthrow Gorbachev in the summer of 1991, I’m sure my life would have turned out much differently. That political turmoil cancelled my LC trip to Russia, which meant that I spent my last semester on campus researching and writing my thesis on the Soviet press under Glasnost. In retrospect, it was this unexpected semester of in-depth study that proved the defining experience in my becoming one of the Democratic Party’s top opposition research consultants in the country. My faculty advisors, who included Donna and Tatiana, encouraged me to pursue independent research using primary sources and would not settle for less than original analysis. These standards have proved vital to my vocation.
I spent my final semester studying in Moscow. While fellow graduates competed for bartending jobs in a recession, living in Moscow gave me incredible work experience as the editor of an expatriate magazine and a reporter in the Los Angeles Times’ Moscow bureau. It was in Moscow, oddly enough, that I made the professional connections that led me to Texas politics, where I still make my geographic and professional home.
So, to those long departed Commies, thank you, good night and good luck.”
Chuck Dunn ‘92 (Mathematics and Music; Russian 3 years)
MS Mathematics, U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994
PhD Mathematics, Arizona State University in Tempe, 2002
“After receiving my Master’s I taught high school math and band for three years in Austin, Texas, before going back to graduate school in 1997. In the summer of 2002 I moved back to the Portland area with my partner Scott. I am now an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. And for the first time in 15 years, I have the opportunity to put my study of Russian to good use. I am planning a January 2008 term trip for Linfield math students. We will travel to Switzerland, Germany, and, most significantly, St. Petersburg, Russia. The intent is to follow in the footsteps and to study the mathematics of Leonhard Euler, a very important and prolific 18th-century mathematician.”
Dana Margosian ‘93, (Foreign Languages: German and Russian)
Dana worked for Multnomah County Aging Services interpreting for elderly immigrants from the former Soviet Bloc. After getting an ESL endorsement at Portland State, she served in the Peace Corps teaching English as a Foreign Language in the Jewish Autonomous Region and Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East for 3 years. Upon return to Portland, she worked for Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees helping new arrivals from Ukraine, Russia and Central Asia. She then began work with the State of Oregon, Department of Human Services (DHS) working specifically with clients with limited English. Dana recently transferred with DHS to Bend, Oregon, where she admi-nisters the Food Stamp and Medicaid programs and enjoys skiing and mountaineering in her spare time.
Darcia McDaniel ’93 (Self-Designed Russian major)
Darcia worked as a receptionist at the American Embassy in Moscow for several years, taught English in Poland, and went back to school to get an MA in Teaching English as a second language.
Brian Humphreys ’94 (Self-Designed Russian major)
Brian worked as a freelance journalist in Russia for 6 years, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle and other publications. In the late 1990’s he took a staff writing position with the Moscow Times, and wrote on many of the Russian business and economic developments of the day. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 2000 and served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an infantry officer. He considered a career in academia or policy-making circles that would build on his experiences in Russia and the military. Brian is currently a PhD candidate at Rutgers University (comparative politics program.
Seth Gainer ’97 (Foreign Languages: Spanish & Russian)
Seth taught English in St. Petersburg, Russia, worked as a regional coordinator for Bowne Global Solutions and as a legal assistant to 3 attorneys in Washington DC. He plans to go to law school. “Almost ten years after graduation I still use Russian almost every day. It’s made a huge difference in geting to really know and understand people and cultures from Prague to Irkutsk. When I took the Trans-Siberian Railway I made friends with Russians in my compartment!.”
Tracy Chatters (nee Rodda) ’97 (Foreign Languages: Spanish & Russian)
She is married to her fellow Russian classmate Jake Chatters. Tracy taught for five years at Natomas Charter School in Sacramento, California. The couple opened a coffee house recently.
Amy Mendenhall (nee Brose) ’97 (Self-Designed Russian major)
Amy graduated from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in 2004 and she works as an acupuncturist in her own clinic in Sherwood, Oregon.
Carl Schreck ‘98 (German Studies, Russian minor)
Carl studied Russian for a year in St. Petersburg as an IREX exchange student and then he went to Moscow and worked as a reporter, news editor and managing director at “The Moscow Times,” Russia’s leading English-language newspaper. At present Carl continues to live in Moscow and works as a journalist writing for the Moscow biweekly The eXile, Sports Illustrated, High Times, the Daily Telegraph and the National, among other publications.
Read more about Carl at: http://carlschreck.com.
Justin Phillips ’98 (Political Science, Russian minor)
Justin received his PhD in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego and now works as an Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.
Sasha Archibald ‘00 (English, Russian and Gender Studies minors)
Sasha recently wrote that she is an associate editor at Cabinet magazine, a non-profit art and culture quarterly based in Brooklyn, New York. She earned an Advanced Certificate in Museum Studies from New York University and an MA from NYU’s John W. Draper Program, an interdisciplinary self-designed humanities program. In 2005, she was named Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Studies Program, where she co-curated a contemporary art exhibition, “At the Mercy of Others: The Politics of Care,” accompanied by a catalogue. In addition to frequent articles in Cabinet, she contributed to Histories of the Future (Duke UP: 2005) and a monograph on the work of the conceptual photo-based artist Robert Blanchon (Visual AIDS: 2006); she is the co-editor of the forthcoming Presidential Doodles (Basic Books: 2006).
Robert McCracken ’01 (International Affairs; Russian minor)
Robert worked for AmeriCorps for a few years and is now a graduate student in Public Policy and Urban Planning at the University of California at Berkeley.
Alana Ruprecht (nee Dease) ‘01 (Foreign Languages: Russian & French)
Alana worked in the Portland Public Schools with Russian and Spanish-speaking children for a year after graduation. She then married and moved to Tarrytown, NY where she is working in a library.
Matthew (“Buzzy”) Nelsen, ‘02 (philosophy major, Russian minor)
After graduating from LC, Buzzy went back to his hometown to work as a librarian. He then moved to Ann Arbor, MI, to pursue dual masters degrees in Information (Library Science) and Public Policy.
Currently he is Director of the Hood River County Library (Oregon).
Josh Fjeseth ‘03 (Economics, Russian minor)
Josh went to St. Petersburg in 2002 to study Russian as an exchange student. Returning to Russia the following year, he was soon hired by an international law firm to do drafting and editing work. After living, working and traveling in Russia for about 3.5 years, Josh and his then future wife Margarita moved back to the U.S., where they now live in Denver, Colorado. Since returning to the states, Josh has worked as a translator and editor for the Eastern European offices of an international law firm based out of Germany. He plans on studying law or business in the near future.
Cathrine Magelssen ‘03 (Sociology, Russian minor)
Before she came to LC in 2000, Cathrine had lived and worked in Croatia for 5 years. Because Central and Eastern Europe was always an intriguing area to her, she decided to minor in Russian, adding it to her major in Sociology/Anthropology. Central and Eastern Europe became the focus of her graduate work at the University of Toronto where she completed a Master’s in Social-Cultural Anthropology in 2004. After this she returned to her hometown Oslo, Norway, where she worked with public relations at the “Center for the Study of Professions”, an institute for research and graduate study at Oslo University College in Norway. In August 2012 Cathrine moved to Saint Petersburg where she has a job as a Consul and Head of the Visa Department at the Consulate General of Norway in Saint Petersburg.
James Riley ‘04 (Religious Studies, Russian minor)
After working 2 years, James plans to earn a Master’s in History at PSU and go on for a doctorate in History and Religious Studies. He wants to focus his scholarship on Russia and the Middle East and to research Chechnya as the crossroads of Russian and Islamic studies.
Anna Stewart ‘04 (History, Russian minor)
Anna recently e-mailed us: “After graduating I spent the summer teaching English to Japanese exchange students in Portland. Then I moved to Prague and taught English for 7 months. I always had the goal of going to Russia to put to use the language I started studying at Lewis and Clark. So the following year I taught English in St. Petersburg 4 months. I am currently studying Russian 20 hours a week at Smolny Institute and teaching English to pay the bills. I plan to spend the summer in Kazan or Siberia, and I hope to find an internship that will help me get into graduate school (History or Economics). I am very grateful to the Russian Program at Lewis & Clark for all the encouragement and guidance they provided and I think any student with the interest and motivation will find LC a great place to start discovering Russia.
Nate Jones, ‘05 (History, Russian minor)
Thanks to his Russian language skills Nate was hired right after graduation by the Service Employees International Union to work with its Russian-speaking members in the Portland Metropolitan area. After that he taught English in Moscow for a year. Nate finished his masters degree in Russian history at George Washington University and now works at the National Security Archive, Washington DC (http://nsarchive.org), where he tries to get secret documents declassified. You can read his job-related blog at: nsarchive.wordpress.com.
Matthew Price ‘05 (International Affairs, History & Russian minors)
In addition to his major & minors at Lewis & Clark, Matthew studied Russian in Nizhny Novgorod for one semester and Kazakh in Kazakhstan for two summers. He traveled extensively in the former Soviet Union. A photo narrative of his travels can be seen at http://www.lclark. edu/~russkie/price/ index.htm.
Recalling his time at Lewis & Clark, Matthew said: “Throughout my four years at college, the Russian Section has consistently supported my efforts to develop linguistic and research skills for studying the former Soviet Union. No matter what avenue of study I wanted to pursue, the Russian professors were always encouraging and available to help.
Russian language training has enabled me to travel independently and confidently throughout the region and allowed me to get to know the people and culture of Central Asia on a personal level.
Matthew has been accepted into the graduate program of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University and plans to begin his studies in the fall ‘08. He looks forward to more adventures traveling throughout the heart of Asia.
Lee Eisenberg ‘06 (Foreign Languages, Russian and German)
Lee spent a year after his graduation in Yekaterinburg (Russia). He participated in the US-Russia Volunteer Initiative (USRVI), sponsored by IREX. Along with other volunteers, Lee taught schoolchildren about mental disabilities, as well as oversaw sports events between mentally disabled students and non-disabled students. In addition to his work, Lee liked to go to operas, theaters, museums, and more. Lee studied at the Moscow State University on the ACTR full scholarship and returned to the USA in May, 2009. He is currently a student of Translation and Localization Management in the Monterey Institute of International Studies, located in Monterey, California.
Lee has a summer internship this summer at http://www.montereylanguages.com/blog/?p=406
Nikki Zimmerman ‘06 (Religious Studies, Russian minor)
Right after her graduation Nikki got an Americorps job with the Northwestern University Settlement House in NW Chicago. She worked at a secondary school as a teacher’s aide, teaching some lessons herself, tutoring, running an after school program, and organizing volunteer projects for the kids and their parents.
This spring Nikki wrote to us: “I have nearly finished my M.A. from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. (M.A. International Policy Studies, Specialization: Humanitarian Assistance & International Development). At the Monterey Institute, I continued to study Russian and focused my studies on post-conflict reconstruction and development. Applying what I have learned, I am currently in South Sudan researching to finish my degree and working with Winrock International on the Sudan BRIDGE program as a Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist. This program is a three-year development program with an overall objective of supporting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which recently brought an end to Sudan’s 22-year civil war. Specifically it works to strengthen the capacities of state and local government to decentralize and deliver basic services, provide immediate tangible peace dividends and increase economic opportunities. My research specifically focuses on the area of economic opportunities by analyzing the impact of the BRIDGE program strategy as it relates to rural income generation.
I interned for this program for 3 months last summer, and now I am back for another 6 months. My plans after this program are a little uncertain, but I plan to stay involved in international development.”
Anna Rodgers, ‘08 Double major, History and Foreign Languages (Russian & Spanish)
Anna spent two years with the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan, where she taught English in a village school, held teacher trainings, and ran summer camps, including one at a local orphanage. While in Kazakhstan, she had a fascinating time observing the remnants of the Soviet Union, drinking tea (and a few cups of fermented mare’s milk), and navigating around the idiosyncrasies of a second world country. Her Russian improved greatly, although there are certain things that she can only say in Kazakh. (She can never remember how to yell at her students to “Be quiet!” and tell them “That’s enough!” in Russian, but Kazakh is second nature.) She kept a blog about her experiences and philosophical musings: http://annarodgers5.blogspot.com/.
After returning to the States, Anna earned her Master of Arts in Teaching at Willamette and is now teaching 5th grade at Toledo Elementary School.
Hongda Jiang, ‘08, Double major, International Affairs and Foreign Languages (Russian & Chinese)
Hongda was the first student from LC to participate in an immersion program in the Far-Eastern city of Vladivostok, a new LC overseas program in Russia at that time. As a result of successful networking through this study abroad program, he was hired by a Moscow-based consulting firm immediately after graduation as a client management supervisor. During his tenure at this firm, Hongda accumulated challenging and rewarding experiences which helped him get into a prestigious graduate program. He is currently pursuing a MBA/MA dual degree with the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Center for Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) at the University of Michigan.
CREES is one of the nation’s leading institutes for interdisciplinary research and training on the former eastern bloc, and a U.S. Department of Education-supported National Resource Center for this region. At CREES, Hongda hopes to strengthen his mastery of the Russian language, as well as focus his research on Russian energy policies and Sino-Russian relations. Through this MA program, Hongda seeks to enhance his understanding of potential obstacles and challenges facing alternative energy development as he strives for further professional advancement in this emerging industry.
“During my study at Lewis & Clark, the Russian faculty not only helped me fulfill my adolescent dream of learning Russian, but they also provided me with transformational intellectual and professional opportunities. I am very grateful for all their help.”
Matthew Nelson ‘08; Foreign Languages major (Russian & Spanish)
Matthew was a recipient of J. William Fulbright Teaching Assistantships in Russia in 2008/9 and 2009/10. He taught English and American culture at the Academy for Government Service in Novosibirsk (2008/9) and the Far Eastern University in Vladivostok (2009/10). While working in Russia, Matthew kept blogs at http://mattinsiberia.wordpress.com and http://ruletheeast.wordpress.com. He plans to apply for graduate school in the near future.
Amanda Pope ‘08; International Affairs major, Russian minor
After her graduation from Lewis & Clark, Amanda studied at the Graduate School of International Policy Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies for two years (Russian was her language of focus). After finishing her studies she moved back to Portland where she works as a student coach for the InsideTrack’s Coaching Program, the largest provider of technology-enabled student coaching services for American colleges and universities.
Stephanie Locke ‘10, Communication Major, Russian Minor
After graduation, Stephanie was awarded a J. William Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Slovakia. She taught English language to high school students as well as coached the school’s English-language debate club.
Stephanie is currently working towards a graduate degree in Linguistics at the University of Hawaii. She specialized in Language Documentation and Conversation. Her aspirations are to work with indigenous peoples of Russia to document and preserve their native languages.
Stephanie was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to continue her study of Russian language in Kazan, Russia during summer 2012.
Jessica Houston ‘10, International Affairs Major, Russian Minor
Jessica Houston spent the 2010-2011 academic school year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the Volzhsky Institute of Humanities in Southern Russia. She taught English to university students on topics as varied as International Environmental Policies to the poetry of Langston Hughes. The arid steppe was quite a contrast for her as a Portland native and former exchange student to Vladivostok. Her travels across the diverse landscapes of Russia during her fellowship sparked an interest in how geography shapes cultures.
Jessica kept a blog of her Russian experiences at: http://onthevolga.wordpress.com/
She is currently exploring her interests in international conservation work and contemplating graduate programs in geography while working as an administrative assistant at the Wild Salmon Center in Portland: http://www.wildsalmoncenter.org
Andrea Liamzon ‘10, Foreign Languages Major (Russian & Spanish), Art History Minor
Margaret Williams ’11 (International Affairs, Russian minor)
After graduating from Lewis & Clark with a major in International Affairs and a minor in Russian, Margaret spent the 2011 – 2012 academic year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law in the Russian Far East. She taught English to university students and professors through a variety of courses that focused on writing, reading and understanding cultural differences. In addition to teaching, she also conducted research on the use of digital technologies in cross-cultural communication between Russian and American students, and collaborated with the Khabarovsk American Corner on a number of community outreach initiatives.
Margaret describes her time in Russia as highly rewarding and enlightening. “I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity. As a student at Lewis & Clark, I developed an interest in finding ways for people from diverse cultural backgrounds to overcome initial obstacles and achieve meaningful collaboration. Sharing my culture as an American while simultaneously deepening my own understandings of Russian society allowed me to put this into practice.”
Following the conclusion of her fellowship, Margaret is interested in pursuing a career in the field of international relations. She hopes to join the Foreign Service after returning to graduate school.