First Year Student Bios
Alexey V. Belyayev is a native of Omsk, Russia. He came to the United States in 2004 with his family, gained US 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 focusing on trade between Russia and the United States.
Indra Ekmanis graduated with a BA in global studies and a minor in German from Arizona State University in 2011 and jumped right in to the REECAS MA program. Born in Germany to Latvian and American parents, Indra grew up with a strong appreciation for cultures and languages. This passion has manifested itself in her desire to study Latvia and the Baltics, as well as her love of Latvian folk dancing. Indra spent two months in 2010 as an intern with the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riga while conducting interviews for her undergraduate honors thesis on the Latvian Singing Revolution. Indra hopes to return to Latvia this summer to study the impact of nationalism on youth and politics.
Jason Flint received his Bachelor of Arts degree, Cum Laude, with Honors in his major of History and a minor in Russian and Slavic Literature from the University of Washington in 2011. After spending three months in Vienna, his appreciation for the history of the Habsburg Empire became his central focus in his studies, specifically during the reign of Franz Josef through the disintegration of the empire after World War I. He speaks German, some Russian and is studying Czech. Currently Jason is studying how the particular breakup of the Habsburg Empire set the stage for cyclical bouts of radical right wing extremism in the former Habsburg lands throughout the 20th century up until the present day. After graduation, he intends to continue on for his PhD in History. He loves reading (especially Central European and Russian history), listening to a variety of music, and enjoying a perfect cup of Viennese Melange while relaxing on the Ringstrasse.
MAJ Joseph Hess earned his commission in 2000 from the United States Military Academy and graduated with a Bachelors of Science. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps and following graduation, he attended the Quartermaster Officer's Basic Course at Fort Lee, Virginia. He was then assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington where he has served in various staff and command positions to include with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). In 2007, he deployed to Iraq on a Military Transition Team. In 2009, he graduated Logistics Captains Career Course and continued with school in the Czech language training at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, VA. Upon completion, he moved to the Czech Republic and conducted In-Country Training for the U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer program. He is currently working toward a REECAS MA. MAJ Hess was born in Seattle, Washington and raised in the local suburb Auburn. In 2006, he married the former Danielle Morris, and together they have a beautiful 3 year-old daughter, Amira Joy. They currently live in Tacoma.
MJR Robert Patterson, a first year REECAS grad student, most recently completed a one year, in country training (ICT) program at the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany. During the program at the Marshall Center he worked as a Military Representative at the US Embassies in Sofia, Bulgaria and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Prior to being assigned to the Marshall Center, he completed the Russian Basic Course at DLIFLC in Monterey. His last assignment prior to being assessed into the Foreign Area Officer branch was as the assistant professor of Military Science at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon, ROTC. Major Patterson earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Portland. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Officer Basic and Advanced Courses.
Justin Paulsen hails from Kingwood, Texas, “The Livable Forest”! He first came in contact with Russia through a two-year church mission, living in Orenburg, Saratov, Togliatti, and Engels. He has not been able to give it up since, finishing a double Political Science and Russian major at Brigham Young University, then coming straight to the UW for master’s work, and even reading Dostoevsky’s The Idiot for the third time this summer. In addition to the REECAS program, he is pursuing an MPA at the Evans School, where he also works as a research assistant for the Evans Policy Analysis and Research group doing research for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is happily married and has a little boy and baby girl to keep him busy and happy!
MJR Kirill A. Tsekanovskiy is a native of Nikolaev, Ukraine. After moving to Chicago in 1994 and receiving his B.A. in History from DePaul University in 2001, he joined the United States Army and spent the next seven years serving in Germany. Originally commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer, he has been selected to become a Foreign Area Officer. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and enjoys spending his free time with his wife Anna and daughter Nega. His research focuses on the modern history of the Russian military clergy.
Ilissa Velez graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Science in Geography. She applied to the Jackson Schools REECAS program to further her specialization in Russian area studies. Her interests are Russian crime, criminal justice, and law enforcement. She is also continuing studies in the Russian language. Since moving to Seattle from Texas, she is enjoying the change in climate and adores exploring the surrounding nature. Other pleasures include exploring foreign cities, Italian food and her family back in Texas.