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WCED Graduate Fellows, 2009-10

Adriana Chira is a doctoral student in the joint PhD program in anthropology and history. Her research will focus on the redefinition of political representation and mobilization through the use of new visual media and social networking technologies, as used by activist networks and citizen-journalists in Cuba and former socialist countries of Eastern Europe. She plans to explore how new forms of political mobilization are connected to the decentralization of journalistic expertise. Adriana will address this question both ethnographically and through the lens of historical material by exploring amateur and professional documentary film-making traditions that were developed across the transnational space of socialism before 1989. Born and raised in Romania, Adriana graduated from the University of Cambridge (U.K.) with a BA in archaeology and anthropology, and then obtained an MA in anthropology from Cornell University.

Jessica Fisher is a dual-degree student in REES and public policy. As a result of spending over three years volunteering for the Peace Corps and then working in Ukraine, Jessica is eager to improve her understanding of the Ukrainian nation, its people, language, and current policy challenges. She is particularly interested in researching the creation and implementation of international and domestic policy throughout the former Soviet Union aimed at spurring economic growth, and the effect it has on strengthening democratic society and governance. Jessica received her BA in history from Northwestern University and served in the Peace Corps before beginning graduate study.

Lavrentia Karamaniola is a doctoral student in sociocultural anthropology, who previously studied the Balkans while in an interdisciplinary program in Greece. In her MA thesis, she researched the Internet and the way the condition of post-socialism interacts with technology and free expression through the practice of blogging. In her doctoral research, Lavrentia plans to continue her research on Romania by extending her current research on blogging. Alternately, she may conduct research on other ‘sites’, such as the business world, the flow of capital, various types of tourism, visual technologies like advertising, or various patterns of consumption. The basic inspiration to her work has been the theoretical scheme of ‘multi-sited’ anthropological research. Lavrentia’s broader interests include the way that post-socialism interacts with notions like globalization, democracy, and civil society; or the ways of remembering and forgetting, and she is also interested in the flexibility of modernity and post-modernity as conceptual categories.

Maria Smith is a dual degree student in REES and public policy. Before coming to the University of Michigan, Maria spent two years with the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan, where she learned about regional issues and studied Russian and Azeri. She is now interested in studying the history and politics of the former Soviet Union, particularly in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and plans to return to the region to work. Maria earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in the Program of Liberal Studies.

Milena Tercheva is an MA student in REES. She is interested in the parallel post-communist development of Bulgaria and the Russian Federation, and the impact of this on the subsequent integration of Bulgaria into the EU. She plans to study the lessons of transition in Bulgaria and other countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Milena graduated from the College of New Rochelle with a BA in international relations.

Ryan Voogt is an MA student in REES and is interested in the history, culture, current events, and geopolitical issues of Russia and Eastern Europe as a whole. More narrowly, his focus is on Hungary and Romania, having volunteered in those countries. He plans to study the history of socialism in the entire region, conflicts between peoples, and current trends. Ryan has a BS in civil engineering from Calvin College, and has done coursework in Russian history, literature, and culture at Michigan State University.