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REEI MA Students

Gregory Aimaro hails from the south suburbs of Chicago. He received his BA in Contemporary Global Studies from Lewis University in 2012 with a concertation in Russia and Eastern Europe. Since graduating from Lewis U, Gregory has received additional linguistic and historical training at Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Summer 2014, and at IU SLW (Ukrainian), Summer 2015. In Winter 2016, Gregory was one of a select few students chosen to participate in a research seminar on the Holocaust In the Soviet Union held at the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum. Gregory’s main area of focus lies within Ukraine, an interest foraged in part to his material heritage there. His main research interest is on The Holocaust and German Occupation of Ukraine. He is interested in the overall demographic impact the occupation had on select localities within Chernihiv and Poltava Oblasts. As an MA student at REEI, he hopes to further research this subject. Other research interests of his include Ukrainian-Jewish relations, the 1932-33 Soviet famine (The Ukrainian Holodomor), and the history of early modern imperial Russia.
email: gaimaro

Alyse Camus graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, where she double majored in Russian & Eastern European Studies and American Studies. At UT, she participated in a Fulbright-Hays Group Project in Moscow, interned at the Harry Ransom Center, and developed a passion for research. After moving to Los Angeles, she served as the Public Services Supervisor at Pepperdine University’s Law Library. At IU, she is eager to combine her academic and professional interests in her pursuit of a dual MA/MLS. Her research interests include: the experiences and interactions between Russians and Americans in the early 20th century, as well as contemporary representations of Russians in American media.
email: acamus

Kayleigh Fischietto, originally hailing from Cleveland, OH, earned a BA from Georgetown University with a major in Russian Language & Literature. In 2014 she spent a semester in St. Petersburg studying Russian while volunteering at the Hermitage. Her research interests include gender and sexuality in early post-revolutionary Russia as well as the interaction between Finnic peoples and early Novgorodians. She is currently completing a dual MA/MLS in order to pursue a career in Slavic area studies librarianship.
email: kfischie

Brianna Greenwald received BAs from CUNY's Hunter College in Spanish literature and Russian. During her undergraduate studies, she worked at Cabrini Immigrant Services as an office manager and the Hungarian Cultural Center as an assistant event coordinator. After studying abroad and teaching ESL in Ukraine, Brianna decided to pursue an MA in the field with a focus on public policy and the region's marginalized populations.
e-mail: bgreenwa

Bryan Holyfield earned a B.S. in Social Sciences and Secondary Education from William Carey University in 2012. He spent the last two years teaching United States and World History in a public school setting. His interest in Russia and Eastern Europe comes from living in Moscow and Siberia for 9 years. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Russian History and has interest in examining both Russia’s educational system and its place within a World History curriculum.
e-mail: bholyfie

Karissa Jackson graduated in 2014 with a BA from Centre College (Danville, KY), where she majored in Russian Studies and International Studies. She first studied abroad on a Project GO scholarship to Kazan, then spent another summer in Kiev. In 2012 she was awarded an NSEP Boren Award to study Russian culture and language in Moscow, where she also interned at the American Center as an adviser of higher education and English tutor at the International Library. Upon graduation she was selected as a Fulbright ETA to Moldova and spent the year teaching courses and leading extra-curricular activities at Comrat State University. Pursuing an MA, she is interested in identity, nationalism, and memory in the former Soviet Union.
email: jackskar

Amanda Lawnicki graduated in May 2014 with a BA from Beloit College in International Relations and Russian. She first became interested in Eastern Europe after learning about the Ukrainian Holodomor in a high school dual-enrollment class. She eventually studied abroad in Moscow, and later through SIT in Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Following graduation, she received a fellowship from Beloit's Weissberg Program in Human Rights to work at the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most, Bosnia & Herzegovina. For her MA, she is interested in studying democracy and civil society in post-communist/post-conflict Eastern Europe, and in particular the Western Balkans.
email: alawnick

Lina Meilus graduated with a BA in International Studies and a BFA in Fine Art from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2013. Her interest in Russia and Eastern Europe comes from her Lithuanian heritage and growing up listening to stories about WWII and life in the Soviet Union. Lina studied abroad in St. Petersburg and interned with an orgazation that teaches Russian to the children of labor migrants. Lina is interested in labor and migration and demographic shifts in Russia as well as how Soviet institutions adapted and changed during the transition from a communist to a capitalist state.
e-mail: lmeilus

Sharon Miller, originally from the Boston area, left the cold winters of New England for the colder winters of Montreal, where she earned a BA from McGill University in 2014. There, she majored in history, minored in German, and began studying Russian. After graduating, Sharon attended Middlebury College’s School of Russian in the summers of 2015 and 2016. At Middlebury, Sharon was required to speak Russian during every waking hour, allowing her to significantly improve her language skills. Along with Russian language, Sharon is interested in contemporary Russian history and politics, and plans to focus her master’s degree around these areas. She hopes to pursue a career in government service after finishing her MA degree.
email: shasmill

Rebecca Mueller grew up in central Wisconsin and received her B.A. in Anthropology from Smith College in May 2008. After college, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Albania. Rebecca is an REEI M.A. student interested in contemporary Southeast European culture, politics, and diaspora communities. She speaks Albanian and began studying Croatian through SWSEEL during the summer of 2011.
email: rebmuell

Brittany Shelmon, originally from Lafayette, Indiana, graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2013 with a BA in History focusing in 20th Century Wars and Post-Conflict Societies. She became enticed with Eastern Europe during her time studying abroad in the Former Yugoslavia. Through the dual degree program with SPEA and REEI at IU, she looks forward to continuing her study of the Balkans. Brittany is excited to start her classes at IU and to meet others with similar interests.
e-mail: bshelmon

Thomas Tyler is from Poquoson, Virginia and graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a BA in History. His interest in the region stems from a biography project his freshman year of high school, in which he read about Josef Stalin and became engaged with the region’s history. He went on to study abroad in Moscow and minor in Russian studies during his undergraduate years. His regional academic interests include twentieth century military conflicts such as the Soviet War in Afghanistan and First Chechen War, and also span to broader topics such as Russian foreign policy.
email: thotyler