Students

 

Sofia Bachman, MAERES 2017

Sophia Bachman is from Columbus, Ohio and attended Ohio State University, where she majored in Russian and Spanish with minors in Chinese and Theatre. Before coming to CERES, she was an intern at the Center for the Development of non-Commercial Organizations in Saint-Petersburg, Russia for an academic year and worked as an ESL teacher in Shenzhen, China for two years. Sophia studied in Tbilisi during the summer between her first and second years in the MAERES program. Outside of CERES, Sophia works as a Russian Teaching Assistant for the Slavic Languages Department. After finishing her MAERES degree, she hopes to work as a foreign service officer with the State Department.

Katherine Baughman, MAERES 2018

Kate Baughman grew up in Great Falls, VA. She began taking Russian language classes in high school and has been fascinated with the region and its culture ever since her first Russian class there. For undergrad, Kate attended Middlebury College and majored in Russian and East European Studies. Before beginning her studies at CERES, Kate interned at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Outside of the classroom, Kate works as a Graduate Fellow at CERES and is currently participating in the Center for Global Interests' Rising Experts Program. Kate hopes to pursue a career in government, consulting, or other policy-related spheres.

Madina Bizhanova, MAERES 2018

Madina Bizhanova was born in Kazakhstan, in the town of Aralsk. She received her bachelor’s degree at Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan. She majored in History with minors in Political Science and Economics. Before coming to CERES, Madina had an internship at the Department of Political Work office of the Nur Otan party and another at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Asia and Africa. After completing her MA at CERES, Madina would like to work on development projects at a think tank or consulting company that deals with Central Asia in general and with Kazakhstan in particular.

Nicholas Cappuccino, MAERES 2016

Nicholas Cappuccino was born in Buffalo, New York and attended CUNY Hunter College, where he studied Geography and Russian Language and Culture. He became interested in the region because it is geopolitically tumultuous, always relevant, and prone to conflict. Outside of CERES, he is currently a research assistant at both the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and the United Stated Institute of Peace. Nicholas is interested in a career in government service.

Brian Cotter, MAERES 2016

Brian Cotter is from Providence, Rhode Island and attended Providence College, where he studied History. Brian is currently a Captain in the United State Army. He has always found the region fascinating and he has worked at the US embassies in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and Vilnius, Lithuania. At CERES, Brian has generally focused his studies on the political and historical side of the region, but has also taken courses on demography and economics. Brian is on assignment to work at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Germany after he graduates from CERES.

Stephanie De Leon, MAERES 2018

Stephanie De Leon is from southern California and earned her B.A. in Slavic Cultures at UC Berkeley. Her main focus was on ethnic identity and conflict in the Balkans. She studied Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Russian language and literature, Yugoslav literature, and politics in the Balkans. At CERES, her research focus is on ethnic conflict and resolution in post-communist societies. For the past year she has been a research team member at Bulgarian Dialectology as Living Tradition, which is a searchable and interactive database of oral speech representing a range of Bulgarian dialects. After finishing her MA at CERES, Stephanie wants to make use of her foreign area knowledge through a career in the foreign service.

Rachel Gannon, MAERES 2017

Rachel is from Houston, Texas. She attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduating with a degree in Russian Studies. After graduating from Holy Cross, Rachel was granted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Gorno-Altaisk, Russia and taught at Gorno-Altaisk State University. While studying at CERES, Rachel has been exploring many aspects of the Eurasian field, primarily Central Asia, energy, and contested territories. Outside of CERES, Rachel has interned at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and at U.S.-Russia Business Council. After CERES, she plans to pursue a career in public service.

April Gordon, MAERES 2018

April Gordon was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She travelled to Russia on short cultural exchanges at a young age and was selected to spend a summer in Kazan, Russia studying the language through the NSLI-Y program funded by the State Department in her junior year of high school. For undergrad, April attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, with a major in International Politics and Foreign Policy and a certificate in Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies. While in college, she spent one summer in Voronezh, Russia teaching English and working as a translator and another summer interning and conducting research at a think tank in Tbilisi, Georgia, where she also conducted field research in the contested territory of Abkhazia. April also spent a year abroad in St. Petersburg through the CIEE and Bard Smolny Programs. After finishing undergrad and before returning to CERES for graduate school, April spent a year in the Republic of Georgia. While in Georgia, she interned with the American Embassy in the Public Affairs section for one summer, and then began work as a Project Manager of a small non-profit in Tblisi, while also interning part-time at the UNDP in Georgia.  After graduation, April plans to pursue a career in international development in the post-Soviet space.

Oksana Grisko, MAERES 2017

Oksana Grisko was born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania and is currently a Foreign Area Officer for Europe and Eurasia in the United States Army. She earned a BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University and a MA in International Relations at the University of Oklahoma. Before coming to CERES, Oksana worked as a Human Resource Specialist, a Military Intelligence Officer and a Foreign Area Officer in the U.S. Army.

 

Rianna Jansen, MAERES 2018

Rianna Jansen is from Charlottesville, Virginia. She attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she majored in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Rianna researched the feminist implications of Russian folktales as a 2013-2014 Boren Scholar in Vladimir, Russia and spent a year teaching English to Russian children and teenagers in Malakhovka, Russia before coming to CERES. At CERES, Rianna studies gender relations and contemporary women's issues in the region and is completing the Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies certificate. Outside of class, Rianna is a member of Georgetown Women in International Affairs and is currently an eIntern with the State Department's Virtual Student Foreign Service Program.

Eva Kim, MAERES 2017

Eva Kim is from Suwannee, Georgia and studied at Harvard University, where she majored in Government and minored in Slavic Languages and Literatures. Through the Georgetown MAERES Program, Eva wants to further develop my professional and academic Russian language skills and enrich her understanding of the historical, cultural, and political context of the region. Outside of CERES, Eva has worked at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and spent a summer as an intern at the State Department.

Alex Memmot, MAERES 2018

Alex is originally from Chile, but has been living in Maryland for the last nine years. Alex graduated from American University with a BA in International Relations and a specialization in International Security and Russian area studies. Before coming to CERES, Alex spent her senior year as a ghostwriter for Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, working on his upcoming book on President Carter's legacy.  She also worked at the National Defense University where she did research on Russian irregular warfare and counter-terrorism.  Prior to that, Alex held internships at the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. Outside of CERES, Alex is a member of the Eurasia Foundation's Young Professionals Network for 2016 as well as a State Department virtual intern for the American Embassy in Moscow.  Alex is also an intern at APCO Worldwide, working for the Global Solutions team, particularly focused on Russian companies and clientele. She hopes to conclude her time at CERES being proficient in the Russian language and confident in her Russian area expertise.

Sarah Oldham, MAERES/JD 2019

Sarah Oldham is from Bradenton, Florida and attended the New College of Florida, where she studied Political Science and Area Studies. Sarah spent two summers in Turkey prior to coming to CERES, one in Alanya on a Critical Language Scholarship and one as an intern for the Istanbul office of the law firm Chadbourne & Parke. Sarah began studying Turkish language her freshman year of undergrad and it wasn't long before she began researching the cultural and politics and became fascinated by the interesting political situation both domestically and regionally. Sarah is participating in the joint JD/MAERES joint degree program.

Halil Ibrahim Cagatay Ozdemir, MAERES 2018

Halil Ibrahim Cagatay Ozdemir is a second-year CERES student at Georgetown University. He is a graduate of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul with majors in Economics and Political Science and International Relations. Currently, he works as Program Coordinator for the Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University. He has previously worked for the UNDP Istanbul Regional Office and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. While attending Boğaziçi University, he served as the elected president of Boğaziçi University Student Council for two consecutive terms. He co-led the Turkish-Armenian Student Initiative (Ararat Initiative), a partnership between the Student Council of Turkey and the Armenian National Student Association, for 6 months. Additionally, he co-founded and co-chaired a policy-oriented youth and young professional network in the MENA region that mobilizes more than 30 NGOs, and research institutes. For his achievements during his tenure as the president of the Student Council, he was granted Boğaziçi University Rector's Office Special Award and Faculty of Economics Special Award in 2015.

Heejae Park, MAERES 2017

Heejae Park is from Seoul, South Korea and attended Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, where she studied English Linguistics and Russian Studies. While in college, Heejae spent a semester in Yakutsk as an exchange student. Before coming to CERES, Heejae interned in Novosibirsk, Russia for six months at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), which is a Commercial Section Embassy of the Republic of Korea. During the summer between her first and second years in the MAERES program, Heejae interned at the North Korea International Documentation Project (NKIDP) at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where she read and summarized Russian documents which were written in the Soviet embassy in North Korea during the Cold War era. After completing her MAERES degree, Heejae would like to work at research institutes or think tanks for several years and is considering pursuing a Ph.D in government, focusing trilateral relationships between Russia, North Korea, and China. 

Daniel Pitcairn, MAERES 2017

Daniel Pitcairn is originally from Tampa, Florida. He attended Yale University for undergrad and studied Global Affairs with a concentration in International Security. Before coming to CERES, Daniel worked for Atlantic Media's Government Executive publication as a Research Analyst for nearly two years. He had also previously interned on the NATO desk at the State Department as an undergraduate. Outside of CERES, Daniel has worked with the Institute for the Study of War as a consultant with the Russia/Ukraine team and interned with the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. When not in class or at work, Daniel loves to play and watch soccer. He plans to pursue a career in government or in the non-profit world that offers the opportunity to help inform or implement U.S. foreign policy towards Russia and the post-Soviet space.

Rebecca Ruhl, MAERES 2017

Rebecca Ruhl was born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Rebecca graduated from Wellesley College in 2013 with a double major in American History and Russian Language and Literature. After college, Rebecca was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Murom, Russia, then an English teacher at Smol'ny College in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Rebecca has completed several internships while a student at CERES, including a summer internship in the office of Eastern European Affairs at the Department of State. After finishing her MAERES degree, she is looking to work in the government as a Foreign Service Officer or civil servant or in the private sector doing political risk analysis.

Emily Sandys, MAERES 2017

Emily Sandys is from Interlochen, Michigan and received an A. B. in International Relations from Princeton University. Before coming to CERES, Emily worked at a global security consulting firm for five years. Emily chose CERES because of the small program size, the language focus, and because it is part of the School of Foreign Service.

 

April Snedecker, MAERES 2017

April is originally from Ohio and attended Carleton College, where she studied Political Science and International Relations. Before coming to CERES, she worked at the National Democratic Institute as a Project Assistant for their Elections and Political Processes team and also worked as an Assistant Program Officer for Eurasia at the Center for International Private Enterprise. In her studies at CERES, April primarily focuses on business and Central Asia. Outside of CERES, April is a member of Eurasia Foundation's Young Professionals Network. After completing her MAERES degree, April hopes to work in the private sector, either in consulting or in for-profit international development.

Emily Walton, MAERES 2018

Emily Walton is originally from Connecticut but has also lived in Arkansas and has called Cincinnati, Ohio home for the past decade. Emily attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for her undergraduate career, double-majoring in Political Science and Russian, East European, Eurasian Studies. Before coming to CERES, Emily studied extensively in the region, traveling to Russia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In the summer of 2015, Emily studied Russian at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. Outside of the classroom, Emily is the representative of the MAERES Program in the Graduate Student Body and has recently joined Professionals in Russian, Eurasian, East European Affairs. After graduation, Emily is interested in working for the government or consulting firms abroad.

Linda Zhang, MAERES 2017

Linda Zhang is from Brooklyn, New York and attended Hamilton College, where she majored in Russian Studies and Comparative Literature. Before coming to CERES, Linda worked as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Russia and as an intern with Open Society Foundation’s Eurasia Program. During the summer between her first and second year in the MAERES program, Linda worked at the NYPD in the strategic analysis unit.