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Anthony Castaneda is a dual-degree student in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. He earned a B.A. in political science and Russian language with a certificate of advanced proficiency in Russian from Portland State University (2016). Prior to graduate school, with the support of a David L. Boren Fellowship, Anthony spent a year in Almaty, Kazakhstan where he refined his language skills and completed a communications internship at a local news agency. He is interested in nation-building, generational change, and nationalism.

Betty Compton is pursuing an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Her research interests include the Chechen-Russian Wars, Chechen masculinity, Salafism in the North Caucasus, and ethnicity-based prejudice in the Russian Federation. As an undergraduate, she spent a summer at St. Petersburg State University studying Russian language and art. Betty received a B.A. in Russian and Eastern European Studies from Wesleyan University in 2011.

Nora Dolliver is a joint degree student pursuing an M.A. in REES and an M.S. in information with a specialization in library science and archives and records management. She worked in three library departments throughout college and is excited to combine her interests in Slavic languages and library work through her joint degree. As an undergraduate, she studied Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Czech, and Yiddish, and will begin studying Polish at U-M. She spent the summer of 2014 in Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia studying advanced Serbian language. Nora’s academic interests include transnational identities, collective memory and trauma, and recordkeeping. She graduated with a B.A. in Slavic languages and literatures from the University of Chicago, where her senior thesis focused on the role of documentation and witnessing in Yugoslav Holocaust literature.

Mark Dovich is a fourth-year student at the University of Michigan pursuing an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies (REES) and a B.A. in political science and REES through the Concurrent Undergraduate-Graduate Studies program. He expects to receive his B.A. in December 2018. His research interests include democratization and development in Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe in the post-communist period. His work experiences include internships at the international specialized exhibition “Astana Expo 2017” in Astana, Kazakhstan, and in the political-economic section of the United States Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia; a virtual internship in the economic section of the United States Embassy in Moscow, Russia; and a fellowship at Human Rights First in Washington, D.C. He speaks Russian.

Michael Fealey is pursuing an M.A. in REES. His research interests include Russian imperialism, post-colonialism, the Balkans, and religion. Michael received his B.A. in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago in December 2015. As an undergraduate, he explored questions of national identity, the intersection of religion and imperialism, and post-colonial theory in the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Europe.

Kaley Hanenkrat is a J.D./M.A. candidate. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in Slavic studies from Barnard College, Columbia University in 2011. She was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Research Fellowship the same year to expand her study of democratic development in post-Orange Revolution Ukraine at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Kaley has worked in non-profit development in New York City and volunteered with the Open World Leadership Center. She has represented U-M at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and serves as managing editor of the Michigan Journal of International Law. Her research interests include democratic development, anti-corruption efforts, and rule of law in the former Soviet Union; Ukrainian language, culture, and politics; social movements in semi-authoritarian regimes; human rights; and international law. Kaley’s writing on Ukraine has been featured on Huffington Post and MJILOnline.

Justin Heddleson is a United States Army Foreign Area Officer specializing in South and Central Asian affairs. He received a B.S. in health science from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2006 and an M.A. in industrial and organizational psychology in 2015. Justin has served in the Army since 2007. In 2017 he graduated from the Russian Basic Course at the Defense Language Institute. He is just returning from a year-long assignment in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he attended the Sri Lankan Military’s Defense Services Command and Staff College.  

Jamal Khan is a United States Army Foreign Area Officer specializing in South and Central Asian affairs. He is pursuing an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Jamal received a B.A. in criminal justice from Michigan State University in 2006 and has served in the Army since. In 2017 he graduated from the Russian Basic Course at the Defense Language Institute, a year-long program that included an immersion in Daugavpils, Latvia. He is just returning from a year-long assignment in Astana, Kazakhstan, where he served in the Office of Military Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy.  

Karel (Kaja) Lill is a REES M.A. student who is simultaneously pursing a Ph.D. in music theory. He studies the music theory writings of Czech composer Leoš Janáček, and is interested in Czech language and culture, which will help him to better understand Janáček's work. Kaja holds an M.A. in music theory from the University of North Texas and a B.A. in music from Grand Valley State University.

Ryan McCulloch is a doctoral student in music theory, concurrently pursuing an M.A. in REES. Ryan’s research focuses on exploring how Russians from the 20th century thought about, spoke about, and reshaped their confrontation of abstract concepts. He is particularly interested in how both audiences and artists conceptualized and articulated their musical experiences through metaphor. Ryan spent the summer of 2015 studying Russian at St. Petersburg State University.  He earned a B.M. in composition from Berklee College of Music and an M.M. in composition from Carnegie Mellon.

Arakel Minassian is an M.A. student in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. His primary interest is in Armenian politics in the post-Soviet period, but his work has extended across multiple disciplines. His undergraduate thesis was a piece of creative fiction about Monte Melkonian, an Armenian American who emigrated to independent Armenia to fight in the Nagorno-Karabakh War. After graduating in 2018 from McMaster University, Arakel spent the summer in Armenia working for Hetq, an investigative journalism website based in Yerevan. As an M.A. student, he hopes to build on his educational background and his experiences on the ground with further interdisciplinary study of the post-Soviet sphere.

Tyler Paige is a REES M.A. student. His research interests include the body, its various subjectivities, chronic illness, labor, different ways of knowing, and daily life/the banal. He hopes to eventually do ethnography in rural Siberia and to explore both traditional and visual ethnographic methods. As an undergraduate, Tyler lived in Russia on three occasions for around a year in total. He studied Russian language in Moscow, independently studied in Novosibirsk, participated in some fieldwork around the region, and taught writing in Moscow. Tyler received a B.A. in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Jon Poser is a dual master’s student at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Ford School of Public Policy. He researches how national identity has been leveraged by political leaders in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and is interested in human rights policy and international development. He spent the summer of 2018 at a nonprofit in Bulgaria working to improve social inclusion for Roma populations. In the past he represented the United States at World Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan, recruited for an international exchange program in Ukraine and Moldova, and taught English in Kyiv, Ukraine. He holds a B.A. in Slavic languages and literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Paul Rizik, an M.A. student in REES, has research interests in the development and subsequent repudiation of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union and the status of Soviet geneticists during and after Stalin. His interest in Russian started in high school, when he randomly picked up Poor Folk by Dostoevsky while trying to kill half an hour in a Barnes and Noble. After a brief, fruitless stint with computer science, he switched to a Russian/linguistics dual major. He has spent eight weeks studying at Volgograd Technical Institute, and eight weeks at Middlebury College’s intensive Russian program. Paul received a B.A. in Russian and linguistics at Michigan State University.