REEI MA Students
Geoff Durham received his BA in History from Skidmore College in 2012. While focusing on the British Empire in India, he also managed to begin studying Russian and spent a semester in St. Petersburg. After graduation he returned to St. Petersburg and spent two years teaching English. His interests pertain to ethnography and portraitures of different identity groups from the late Imperial period and beyond. He plans to pursue a PhD in History after completing his MA.
John Farquhar is originally from Colorado Springs. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy where he studied Military Strategic Studies and Minored in Russian. He has been able to study in Russia and Ukraine as part of the Cadet Language Immersion programs for the Academy. John first became interested in Russian after reading the Boris Akunin mystery series.
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.
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.
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.
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 social identity and gender roles in the former Soviet Union.
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.
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.
Stephanie Morris is from New Jersey and graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2012 with a BA in Russian and International Affairs. She spent fall semester 2010 in St. Petersburg, where she studied Russian language and culture. She is interested in studying the history and relations between Russia, the Baltic states, and Finland, and hopes to pick up a second area language at REEI.
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.
Kyle Norweg was born and raised in Maine, and graduated with a BA in International Studies from the University of Maine at Farmington. After having tried his hand at aviation, he decided to use his German language skills and study abroad in Austria. This is where his love for international affairs really took off. After starting at UMF, Kyle took a class with a former US diplomat who toured in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union. And for reasons unbeknownst to Kyle, the area captivated him. Since, Kyle has been conducting research related to the Western Balkans and modern Russia. He will focus his language training and Master's program on Southeastern Europe. He is interested in obtaining work in either the public or private sector. Also, as a student-athlete and a high school athletics coach, he is interested in researching the role sports have in diplomacy and international relations.
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.
Damon Smith is a dual degree student at REEI and SPEA. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a double major in Geography and History in 2008. After earning his BA, he served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine for three years. His specific academic interests include international development and Polish/Ukrainian relations. Upon graduation, he would like to work for the State Department or an international development agency connected with the region.
Jennifer Strayer is pursuing a dual degree with REEI and SLIS with hope of becoming a government or academic librarian. She graduated in 2009 from Hastings College in Nebraska with a degree in Musicology and History. Her interests include history and culture of the Balkans and cultural destruction in times of conflict. In her free time, she is a member of IU's All Campus Band. Jennifer is currently on academic leave, but will be returning in Fall 2014.
Zack Suhr grew up in Kansas and graduated from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Russian and German and a minor in Government. He has studied Russian in Kirov, Kazan, and Moscow. Zack is especially interested in Russian foreign policy, the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in society, and Russian poetry. After REEI, he hopes to find work in the field of foreign or defense policy.
Elizabeth Tomlinson is from Starkville, Mississippi and graduated from Rhodes College in 2012 with a double-major in International Studies and Russian. She has studied Russian in St. Petersburg and Kazan, and she has spent the last year traveling through the Former Soviet Union and teaching English through a government initiative in Georgia. She is interested in post-Soviet development and democratization.
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.