Growing up in the United States with Ukrainian parents, Jessica always had a deep interest in Eastern European and Russian culture. At Lewis & Clark College, she decided to improve her Russian language skills and learn more about her family’s heritage and her own identity. Jessica became heavily involved in the Russian department and was President of the Russian Club for three years. She led and organized cultural events for club members who wanted to practice language skills and immerse themselves in Russian culture. In her junior year, she was also the Co-Chair for the Eastern European region at Lewis & Clark’s International Fair, where she choreographed a dance that included elements from a variety of Eastern European folk dances, and cooked traditional food for the student body.
In addition to her interest in Russian culture, Jessica’s interest in political affairs led her to work on several projects during her junior and senior year with the U.S. Embassy of Moscow as a Virtual Student Foreign Service Intern. In this role, she assisted the Public Affairs Office with the investigation of the social media-consumption habits of Russian citizens, providing insight on their general interests and motivations. She also worked with the Political Office in analyzing current media, in both English and Russian, to discern the context of Russia’s engagement with foreign countries.
Jessica hopes to develop cross-cultural relations and ultimately foster diplomatic exchange between the U.S. and Eastern Europe. Currently, she works as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Baranovichi, Belarus. She teaches English courses at Baranovichi State University, gives lectures on American culture in local schools, and leads an English Club at the local library. Jessica is glad that working as an ETA will allow her to continue practicing the kind of culture-centered diplomacy that she plans to pursue as a lifelong career.