I received my first taste of Russian language and culture in high school during Russian classes and an unforgetable journey to the former Soviet Union in the fall of 1990. This trip inspired me to continue my studies in Russian at Grinnell College where I received my undergraduate degree in Russian and Environmental Studies in 1996. After graduatнon, I ventured to a Zapovednik, or strict nature reserve, in northwest Russia to participate in an on-going forestry research project with Russian scientists. My interest in forest conservation continuted to grow and led me to a position at the Taiga Rescue Network, a environmental non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the world's boreal forests. Besides forestry-related issues, I had the opportunity to become acquainted with a wide range of environmental problems and activites through a two and a half year stint in Moscow as assistant editor of "Russian Conservation News" (RCN). RCN is a small, non-profit English publication that
highlights biodiversity in Eurasia and the efforts of scientists and conservationists in the region to preserve it. Wishing to deepen my regional knowledge of Russia and of ecological problems, I entered a joint graduate
program with the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). I have just recently completed my degree and am very anxious to return to Kamchatka where I did fieldwork for my Master's thesis on the interrelation of forest use and changing human population patterns. During the Fulbright year I will look at alternatives to traditional forestry practices in the Kamchatka River valley with a focus on non-timber forest products (for instance, mushrooms and berries). As you can see from the picture, I'm a cold weather fan and am looking forward to experiencing the Kamchatka winter!