Michael W. Lestingi
I recently finished a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a BA in International Studies and Russian/East European Studies at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.
My Fulbright experience will be my third trip to Russia. Two years ago I studied with the Middlebury College program at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU). Last January I spent a month studying and traveling in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Riga. Now I am returning to RGGU to study economics as part of my research on the restructuring of the Russian rail system.
While working last year in the United Kingdom designing an ultrasonic test system that finds internal flaws in Railroad track, I began to ponder the benefits and risks of rail privatization. Russia had then just recently begun the process of restructuring its system. Now, as Ministries change names and property changes hands, it is an exciting time to study the economics and politics of Russian rail!
This past summer I worked at the US Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration to prepare for my Fulbright experience. While in Washington, I also helped to facilitate the development of a container train corridor that brings goods from western China through Kazakhstan, Russian and out to sea via Scandinavia en route to North American East Coast Ports.
On occasion, I can be found joy riding on the Moscow Metro; the stations are beautiful stations. Also, I have an undying love for Russian Grandmothers (Babooshki), Russian ice cream, borscht, long train rides in Russia, and any combination of the bunch. If anyone knows any nice Babooshki, ice cream, soup or travel destinations. . .let me know!