My name is Tatyana Martell. Born and raised in the former USSR in a military family, I have traveled extensively during the first two decades of my life, living in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, and Lithuania, but I spent last ten years in California, residing in Sacramento and Irvine. Even though I have never lived in Russia for any significant amount of time, going there on a Fulbright volunteer grant this year feels like a homecoming. It will be a challenging yet exhilarating experience to go back and get to know the county of my ethnic background all over again, enjoying the incomparable theater, literature, legendary hospitality, spectacular Volga river and the best bread in the world.
I recently graduated summa cum laude with honors in International Studies from University of California at Irvine, completing my honors thesis on the problem of human trafficking in Russia. Last summer, while interning in the American Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, I became painfully aware of how relevant the problem of trafficking in women and children is for Russia and the majority of the post-Soviet countries. During my Fulbright year I plan to study the aspects of human trafficking at the Yaroslavl State University under the direction of Professor N.V. Dosina while volunteering in women shelters/crisis centers and orphanages. I hope to fit right in that line of work because I love impacting other women’s lives in positive ways, which probably stems from my ten-year long sidekick career as a yoga/fitness instructor for primarily female consumers as well as a volunteer interpreter for Russian émigré women who have been victims of domestic abuse.
In that ever-elusive spare time, I enjoy traveling and dancing through life with my amazing husband Joe, teaching him Russian language along the way.