2023 Russian Student Program

Russian in the Sky and in Outer Space


University of Washington, Seattle


  • High school students
    (including entering 9th graders.)

  • Heritage speakers of Russian
    (Heritage speakers grew up speaking the language at home and are able to read and write Russian.)

  • We encourage students from groups who are underrepresented in STEM to apply.

The University of Washington STARTALK Student Program, “Russian in the Sky and in Outer Space,” offers high school and early college heritage language speakers of Russian at the Intermediate level an opportunity to explore STEM topics in Russian while expanding their language proficiency to an Advanced level.

This year the program had a new format, which included a three-week summer camp (75 hours of instructional time) conducted entirely in Russian, included units on Airplanes and Voyage to Mars, field trips to the Museum of Flight Challenger Learning Center and Aviation Learning Center, and elective projects on STEM topics with a final student conference. The summer camp was preceded in late winter by a series of information sessions and learning opportunities to introduce students to project topics in preparation for the summer camp. The program extended into the fall with interviews with Russian-speaking STEM professionals, language testing, and closing ceremonies. Students were able to earn three University of Washington Russian language credits from the summer session. Students also had an opportunity to complete language proficiency assessments that high school students could use to earn up to four high school competency-based credits in Russian and qualify for the State Seal of Biliteracy, as well as the Global Seal of Biliteracy.



Goals of the Program

  • to sharpen and expand students’ use of formal Russian language beyond intimate family speech
  • to strengthen students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening ability, especially in formal Russian language in varied disciplines
  • to prepare students to take their Russian language skills out into the Russian community and the world


"STARTALK offered me a way to share my Russian culture with others and learn more about my heritage as something to be proud of in the process. It was wonderful to meet new people and compare my experiences with their own, as well as discovering relationships between Russia and America that I never knew existed."

"The STARTALK Student Program appealed to me because of the opportunities I received to work with flourishing young minds of students who were able to speak Russian. The program allowed people with similar backgrounds and interests to meet one another, and, through personal and direct conversation, develop their skills in a way no classroom environment can."

"I enjoyed the STARTALK program because of the people I met, it's pretty rare to come across other russophonic kids, especially ones that share your interests."

Links to additional past program information: