Ellison Center Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellows
Alexey V. Belyayev received a FLAS award for the summer of 2011. He used this award to study intensive Polish in Pittsburgh, which he enjoyed immensely. A native of Omsk, Russia, Alexey came with his family to America in 2004, gained citizenship, and received his BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He began his first year at the Jackson School of International Studies, REECAS in 2011 and is currently looking at trade between Russia, Eastern Europe, Germany and the United States.
Prior to entering the Masters in International Studies Program, Marleyse Borchard worked in program development to increase collaboration in public health. She holds a Masters in Public Health from the UW and her current research interests are transnational health and issues of statelessness. Marleyse is studying Russian language in order to better understand the history and current issues that face Russia within its own region and in the international sphere.
Nicola Castle-Bauer is a sophomore in the Jackson School majoring in Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian studies, focusing on forced migration and the changing social and political position of ethnic minorities in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and the Caucasus. She loves to travel and to immerse herself in foreign languages, and hopes to continue to do both for the foreseeable future.
Eric Damiana is a Master's candidate in the Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies program. He is currently writing his thesis on human trafficking discourses in the Russian Federation and the Czech Republic. Eric received a FLAS Summer Fellowship, studying Russian language in Saint Petersburg, Russia for two months in the summer through the School of Russian and Asian Studies. While there, he also completed two translation projects for SRAS as a part of his program.
Indra Ekmanis is a first-year master’s student focusing on the Baltic States and Latvia in particular. She graduated with a BA in global studies and a minor in German from Arizona State University. Indra spent two months as an intern with the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riga and was fortunate enough to interview former President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and dissident singer Ieva Akuratere for her undergraduate research on the Latvian Singing Revolution. She also worked as a counselor at Kursa, a Latvian summer school in Shelton, Washington, to prepare herself for the change in climate when moving from Arizona to Seattle. Indra hopes to return to Latvia this summer to study the impact of nationalism on youth and politics.
Eric Johnson is a graduate student in the History department, studying Imperial Russia and Central Asia. He is currently finishing his MA degree and plans to continue to earn his PhD at the University of Washington. His focus is on the relations between ethnic-Russian, Orthodox populations and ethnic-Turkic, Muslim populations in the Volga region and Central Asia during the 18th and 19th century. His MA research has been particularly focused on the city of Kazan, which embodied many of these issues in microcosm. He hopes to apply the knowledge he gains to develop richer, historically-informed understandings of the complex ethnic dynamics of the modern-day Russian Federation and Central Asian nations. He is applying the fellowship assistance to the study of Kazak. Given the language's close relationship to Tatar (and cognizant of the significant cultural interchange between the Tatar and Kazak communities historically), this should prove doubly useful in accessing Kazak and Tatar language primary sources for both the Central Asian steppe and the Volga basin.
Wes Kovarik is originally from Vancouver, Canada and graduated from UC San Diego in 2009 with a degree in International Studies. His undergraduate interests included nationalism and ethnicity, extractive industries, and geopolitics. At the University of Washington he is pursuing a Juris Doctor and a Masters in International Studies. His language training in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian allows him to research security, trade, and financial regulation agreements affecting the region. His current academic interests include international law, nuclear security, and energy development.
Laura Lucht discovered Russia while reading Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov on the school bus in the ninth grade. After earning undergraduate degrees in Linguistics and in Russian & Soviet Studies from U.C. San Diego, she decided to take her learning outside the classroom before pursuing graduate study. In this quest for life experience, she worked for two years on a sociolinguistic survey of minority language communities in Azerbaijan, and served for three years as an academic counselor at a private university in California. She now weaves together her academic and professional interests by considering scholarship as a force in ancient, recent and modern migration throughout the Silk Road region. She hopes that her current study of Kazak language will open future opportunities to facilitate student and scholar exchange to and from Central Asia.
Marty Manor is a PhD Candidate in the UW's History Department and is currently doing dissertation research in eastern Slovakia as an Institute for International Education Mellon Graduate Fellow 2011-12. Her dissertation topic aims to show how milestones in Czechoslovakia's history--1948-consolidation of Communism, 1968-Prague Spring and 1988-89-regime collapse--played out uniquely in Slovakia's second-largest city, Kosice. Marty came to the UW in 2008 after spending several years in Kosice teaching English to Slovak high school students. She looks forward to teaching Central European History at the university level in the near future.
Sascha Schilbach received his BA in Russian Language and International Studies at Willamette University in 2010. After a stint in Estonia, on Sakhalin Island and in the Crimea, he was thrilled to return to Russia this summer. A recipient of the Summer FLAS Scholarship, Sascha spent the summer studying Russian language at Vladivostok State University of Service and Economics. His academic interests include Russia's foreign policy, Russia's Arctic developments and Russian domestic politics.
Nicholas Steiner is a Master’s candidate in the Jackson School of International Studies REECAS program where he focuses on Eurasian development and security issues. He also works as an Intelligence Analyst Intern for Microsoft Global Security and has held prior positions with the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Defense Institute for Security Assistance Management. While an undergraduate at Wittenberg University, he received a Boren Scholarship and traveled widely throughout China. He is happily married to Seattle’s most mischievous and lovable Vietnamese oil painter, and together they have a 6 month-old daughter who is equally mischievous and lovable.
Anne Thorsteinson is originally from Juneau, Alaska and graduated from the University of Washington in 2006 with a degree in Russian Language and History. After teaching English abroad in Budapest, Hungary and traveling through Eastern Europe, she returned to Seattle to work in the travel industry, designing private tours to Russia and the former Soviet countries. Anne spent the summer of 2011 studying Russian language at Vladivostok State University of Service and Economics. Her academic interests lie in economics and natural resource management issues in Russia and Central Asia.
A native of Southern California, Sarah Zaides completed her BA in History at the University of California, San Diego. After graduation, she spent a significant amount of time in St. Petersburg and Moscow before returning to work for a non-profit in San Diego. A graduate student in the History Department’s MA/PhD program, Sarah is interested in the cultural, political, and ideological exchanges between Soviet Russia and the Middle East during the Cold War. She also works on Soviet Jewish identity vis-à-vis cultural production and intellectual history. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, live music, and yoga.
Elizabeth Zherka is a UW alumna, having earned her Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude, in European Studies from the Jackson School in 2008. Her minor was Women Studies and she received a Certificate in European Union Studies from the Center for West European Studies. Elizabeth is a dual citizen with the UK and the US, and has traveled extensively in Europe. She is currently pursuing her MAIS, as well as a certificate in International Development Policy and Management from the Evans School of Public Affairs. She has held TA positions in the Jackson School and the Political Science department, and is teaching a course on modern European culture in the Experimental College in 2012. Elizabeth holds a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship for the 2011-2012 academic year in Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian. Her thesis is focused on post-conflict civil society and capacity building in the Former Yugoslavia, specifically whether local women’s non-governmental organizations in post-conflict Kosovo have built human security.