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Affiliated Graduate Students

CREES is pleased to include a number of graduate students from across the University of Michigan with interests in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia in our community of scholars. Beyond our MA Students, this includes Graduate Certificate students who officially enroll in of course of study at CREES, and Graduate Student Associates with a formal connection to the center.

REEES Graduate Certificate Students

Piper Sigrest

Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering
Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Graduate Certificate

Piper Sigrest, a Ph.D. candidate in aerospace engineering, is excited to continue studying Russian language and culture through the CREES Graduate Certificate Program. They graduated from MIT in 2018 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Russian and Eurasian Studies. As an aspiring astronaut, Piper seeks to promote international collaboration in space, and is particularly interested in studying the Russian space program. Piper speaks Russian, and in the summer of 2019, studied abroad in Moscow through American Councils and volunteered at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. They also developed and led hands-on STEM workshops for middle and high school students in Kazakhstan and Russia in January 2017 and January 2018, respectively. Piper is a 2017 Brooke Owens Fellow, and has interned at NASA, Aurora Flight Sciences, SpaceX, Virgin Orbit, and Blue Origin. In their free time, Piper loves hiking, crocheting, and ice skating.

Graduate Student Associates

Arianna Afsari

Ph.D., Comparative Literature

Research interests: Traditions of poetry and literature deployed as tools of anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, and decolonial resistance; memory studies; conditions of extremity; and revolutionary, leftist imaginations.

Regional interests: Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union, and Russia.

Erina Baci

Ph.D., Anthropology

Research Interests: prehistory of Kosovo and Albania, geographic information system (GIS), settlement pattern analysis 

Regional Interests: Eastern Europe

Lauren Beck

Ph.D., German

Research Interests: temporality, memory studies, Eastern European migration to Germany, contemporary German literature, visual culture, (post-)socialism

Regional Interests: German Democratic Republic/Former East Germany, Central Europe, Former Soviet Union, Russia

Leah Bernardo-Ciddio

Ph.D., Classical Art and Archaelogy

Research Interests: archaeology, prehistory, ceramic production, communities of practice, intercultural exchange, material culture, maritime cultural landscapes

Regional Interests: Balkans

Jeffrey Bilik

Ph.D., Sociology

Research Interests: housing, social welfare, migration, political sociology

Regional Interests: Central Asia, Former Soviet Union, Russia

Samantha Farmer

Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures 

Research Interests: Ex-Yugoslav film and literature; queer, feminist, and urbanist movements in Eastern Europe; literary translation

Regional Interests: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans and Ukraine

William Forrest Holden

Ph.D., History

Research Interests: gender, empire, Russian Empire, public sphere, enlightenment

Regional Interests: Baltics, Central Asia, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia

Zhaneta Gjyshja

PhD Anthropological Archaelogy

Research Interests: transition period from Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, social change, material culture

Regional Interests: Central Europe, Albania, Kosova, Balkans

Emine Seda Kayim

Ph.D., Architecture, and German Studies Graduate Certificate

Research Interests: Industrialization and Mass Production in Europe and the Soviets, Production and Exchange of Architectural Knowledge during the Cold War, Technologies and Materialities of Space, Surveillance Studies, Soviet Socialist Governmentality, East German Art, Architecture and Literature, Interwar and Postwar German Thought, Media Studies

Regional Interests: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, the Former Soviet Union

Jane Kitaevich

Ph.D., Political Science

Research Interests: political psychology, nation-building, democratic transitions, regime change, collective memory, identity politics, nationalism, ethnic conflicts, politics of education, separatism, regionalism, civil society/public spheres, protest movements, sociological and historical institutionalism, religion and politics, citizenship and immigration, ideological parties, politics of distribution

Regional Interests: Armenia, Baltics, Caucasus, Central Asia, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union, Poland, Russia

Aleksandra Marciniak

Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures

Research Interests: 20th-century Russian and Polish poetry, Russian rap, identity building, cults of personality, new media

Regional Interests: Russia, Poland

Grace Mahoney

Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures

Research Interests: Russian and Ukrainian languages and literatures, literary memorial media, museum studies, literary translation, visual arts, women's and gender studies

Regional Interests: Russia, Ukraine, Former Soviet Union

Alexander McConnell

Ph.D., History

Research Interests: Russian and Soviet social and cultural history, Soviet film history, language and subjectivity

Regional Interests: Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union, Russia

Ashley McDermott

Ph.D., Anthropology

Research Interests: language ideologies, language planning and policy, linguistic landscape analysis, language shift, language socialism in post-Soviet Central Asia

Regional Interests: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan

Arthur Mengozzi

Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures

Research Interests: Russian and Ukrainian languages and literatures, literary translation, comparative literature, diaspora, religious studies, trauma theory, memory 

Regional Interests: Eastern Europe, Poland, Russia, Ukraine

Carrie Ann Morgan

Ph.D., Linguistics and Anthropology

Research Interests: linguistic nationalism and standard languages, sociolinguistic variation and change, socialism and post-socialism

Regional Interests: Eastern Europe, Albania, Kosovo, Balkans, Southeastern Europe

Genta Nishku

Ph.D., Comparative Literature

Research Interests: poetics of silence, ethics of writing trauma, forms of resistance, activist and protest movements, the Cold War, critiques of human rights discourse, the body in pain, memory and its instrumentalization, translation

Regional Interests: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans

Györgyi Parditka

Ph.D., Anthropology

Research Interests: Bronze Age societies, Hungary, Serbia, funerary practices, variations in social organization, social identity, children in the past

Regional Interests: Eastern Europe, Hungary

Sara Ruiz

Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures

Research interests: Ethnicity in the USSR, WWII in Soviet culture, war literature, cultural history of the Red Army

Regional interests: Former Soviet Union, Russia

Julian Schultz

Ph.D., Anthropology

Research Interests: Balkan prehistory, Neolithic - Bronze Age transition

Regional Interests: Balkans

Tanya Silverman 

Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures

Research Interests: film, literature, visual cultures

Regional Interests: Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Czech/Slovak Republic

A'Yanna Solomon

Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures

Research Interests: ethnic studies (Romani studies), media and popular culture, comic studies, comparative literature

Regional Interests: Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union, Russia

Iride Tomazic

Ph.D., Anthropological Archaeology

Research Interests: Late Copper age/Bronze age transition, Balkans, mortuary archaeology, osteology, metallurgy, health in prehistory, social identity, environmental pollution

Regional Interests: South-Eastern Europe, Carpathian Basin

Yipeng Zhou

Ph.D., History

Research Interests: History of mining in Central Eurasia, Eurasian borderlands, environmental history

Regional Interests: Eastern Europe, Armenia, Caucasus, Central Asia, Former Soviet Union, Russia