Ryan Aiken is an M.A. student in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Michigan. His main research interests are Russia/U.S. and Russia/EU bilateral relationships, with special emphasis on questions of Russian democratization efforts and energy security and the manner in which Russia employs its hydrocarbon resources as instruments of foreign policy. Prior to enrolling at U-M, Ryan served for five years in the United States Marine Corps and worked for three years as a Legislative Assistant to the late U.S. Representative Tom Lantos.
Aleksandar Boskovic is a Ph.D. student in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. Before coming to U-M, he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Belgrade in Serbia, where he studied at the Department of Serbian and South Slavic Literatures and Department of Comparative Literature and Literary Theory. His research interests include South Slavic and Russian literature of the 20th century, Yugoslav and East European cinema, poststructuralist theories of literature and art, and interdisciplinary studies.
Jessica Fisher is a dual-degree M.P.P./M.A. student in the Ford School of Public Policy and CREES at the University of Michigan. Having spent over three years volunteering and then working in Ukraine, she is committed to doing research on strengthening democracy and promoting development within this nation. She is also interested in studying the creation and implementation of international and domestic policy throughout the former Soviet Union aimed at spurring economic growth and the effect this has on strengthening democratic society and governance. Her particular focus is to understand how active membership in nongovernmental organizations can positively influence the establishment of strong democratic principles within society. As part of her research, she plans to study initiatives involving the younger generations of Ukraine and Russia in the process of democratization, including social, economic, and political development.
Kirill Kalinin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on different aspects of Russian politics: electoral behavior, Russian party system, political cleavages, electoral falsifications, and Russian nationalism in elites and masses. Before enrolling in this doctoral program, he was a Fulbright and Carnegie visiting scholar at the Center for Political Studies at U-M’s Institute for Social Research. He received his M.A. in Political Science from European University at St. Petersburg (2005) and M.A. in Public Management from Volgograd Academy of Public Administration (2003).
Nevila Pahumi is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. Born in Albania, she moved to the United States over ten years ago and completed undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, majoring in history and German. Coming out of the nationalist milieu of the Balkans, she is interested in researching identity politics and formation, particularly among the various minorities in Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Other interests include 19th-century Ottoman Empire and the Mediterranean.
Milena Tercheva is an M.A. student in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Michigan. Her work thus far includes research on emerging democracies in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism with a focus on Bulgaria, international legal integration in Europe, and the consequences of previous authoritarian rule on EU enlargement. She is interested in Eastern European democratic governance and European integration and is currently doing research on EU efforts to develop common defense structures in the context of EU-NATO relations.