Most of my life has been spent in the Midwestern U.S. Growing up, I lived first in Illinois; then in Colorado; and finally in the small town of Gothenburg, [the Pony Express Capital of] Nebraska.
I then attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where I had the opportunity to study Russian language—initially out of casual curiosity. A three-week service trip to an orphanage in Staraya Russa with professor Marc Robinson cemented my interest in Russia and eventually led to my return to Novgorod Oblast’, where I spent the fall semester of 2002 studying language and culture at Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University (NovGU) in Veliky Novgorod. I graduated from St. Olaf with a B.A. in Russian and Political Science in 2003.
After college, I spent a year in Chicago working in community development as an investor relations/communications assistant at the Chicago Community Loan Fund. I held this yearlong position as a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps—a program focused on community, sustainability, and social justice.
During my Fulbright year, I plan to study political culture at the Humanities Institute of NovGU. My study will include both coursework in conjunction with the philosophy faculty and independent research exploring the question, “How do Russians in general, and Novgorodians in particular, understand their cultural identity in political context?”
On the side, I am interested in international dance, including Bhangra, Swedish, and (of course) Russian.