Class of 2021
Jordan Bekenstein is from Richmond, Virginia. He studied Russian at Amherst College, and spent a semester abroad in Moscow through Middlebury. He wrote his senior thesis on the Soviet Man and the reconstruction of Moscow in the 1930s. After graduation, he traveled the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and later spent a year and a half teaching English in Harbin, China. He is interested in Sino-Russian cooperation and competition, development in Russia’s Far East and China’s northeast, Russian social policy, and political legitimacy.
Alex Clark is originally from New Jersey and a recent graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. An avid reader and traveler, Alex is highly interested in doing business in Russia and what the business environment will look like for that country in the coming years given the environment of sanctions and so forth. He hopes to work in the private or nonprofit sector to analyze how climate change will impact Russia’s political economy.
Seth Farkas is from upstate New York and completed his undergraduate studies at Columbia University in Russian Language & Culture and Neuroscience & Behavior. His past research has centered around contemporary Russian political discourse, particularly in relation to national narratives and Russian foreign policy. He has professional experience in open source and data analysis. At Georgetown, Seth is interested in nationalism and other political and cultural narratives in the former Soviet space, as well as language politics and policy in the region.
Kate Himonas is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated with honors from Macalester College in 2018. Between graduating and starting at Georgetown, she took a year to travel while working at hostels and on vineyards. She is particularly interested in questions of food distribution/food studies in the region.
Nicholas Kulawiak graduated from University of Puget Sound in 2018 with a double major in Politics & Government and History. He spent the summer of 2016 in Freiburg, Germany, studying the E.U.’s relationship with Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was a Bangs-Collier Summer Research Scholar in 2017 and conducted archival research at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Open Society Archives in Budapest, Hungary on Polish media’s characterization of Radio Free Europe during the 1950s. After graduating, he traveled through Eastern Europe and the Middle East, volunteering in hostels and tour-guiding in Warsaw, Poland and the Golan Heights. His main academic interests are historical memory and its impacts on current politics in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland.
Ryan Kurz is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from the Ohio State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in International Relations and Diplomacy and minors in Public Policy and Russian. Professionally, Ryan has interned with the Washington office of Ohio Senator Rob Portman and the Columbus Council on World Affairs. While at Georgetown, Ryan is interested in researching US-Russian relations, great power competition over Central and Eastern Europe, and political disinformation.
Elizabeth Lewis is from Draper, Utah and graduated from Rhodes College with degrees in Political Science and Russian Studies. After college, she spent one year teaching at Belarus State University in Minsk, Belarus as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Now at Georgetown, she intends to get a certificate in Diplomatic Studies. At Georgetown, Elizabeth is interested in the way conceptualizations of nationalism have developed in Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine.
Eleanor Lopatto is from Grinnell, Iowa. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2017 with a degree in Chemistry and Modern Languages and Literatures, specializing in Russian and French. After moving to Washington, D.C., Eleanor worked as an intern for the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, and later as an administrator and event coordinator for the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates (NOVA). Outside of CERES, she provides briefings on domestic terror for the National Security Action network. Eleanor’s research interests include online disinformation and radicalization, tech regulation, and the effect of social media on international security issues.
Maia is from Tbilisi, Georgia and recently graduated from Clark University, MA where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics. During her senior year at Clark, Maia completed honors theses for both of her majors and received double highest honors after defending them. Maia’s thesis in Political Science analyzed the effect of energy dependence on foreign policy strategies of the former Soviet Union states while her Economics thesis focused on carbon tax policy and climate change mitigation. At Georgetown, Maia is working towards earning a certificate in International Business Diplomacy. Her research interests include business dynamics in Eurasia, energy and environment in Eurasia, and conflict resolution strategies in the Caucasus.
Alex Perez-Reyes is from Charlottesville, Virginia and received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University in 2017. As a government and Russian double major in the College, his research interests focused mainly on the politics of historical memory in post-communist countries, with a focus on Poland and Ukraine. After graduation, Alex served as a Student Ambassador to the 2017 Astana Expo in Kazakhstan and subsequently returned to Georgetown to work in academic administration and university services. Alex also interned at the Wilson Center’s Cold War International History Program as a Russian Research Assistant in the Spring of 2017. After graduating from CERES, Alex intends to apply for a research Fulbright to study the dynamics of historical memory in southeastern Poland in order to better guide his further academic pursuits.
Krysia Sikora graduated from Duke University majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Security, Peace, and Conflict. Following graduation, she moved to Poland to pursue professional soccer and learn more about her Polish heritage. In addition to her soccer career she studied Polish at Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin. In MAERES, Krysia wants to examine the communist-democratic transition, as well as the rise of populism in the region.
Soren Smallwood is from Washington, D.C., and graduated from Carleton College with a degree in Russian. She studied abroad at Moscow State University for a semester, and spent a summer as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. She is interested in gender relations and demographic issues in Russia.
Vladyslav Stegniy was born in Kyiv, Ukraine. He graduated from Taras Shevchenko National University, Kyiv, Ukraine in June 2018 with a M.A. in Political Science. During his M.A. studies, he interned with the Hudson Institute’s Center for Political Military Analysis and the I.F. Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. His research focuses on international security and military affairs in the Eurasia region.
Matthew Wisneski is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in May 2019 with a degree in Political Science and Russian. He had the opportunity to spend summer 2018 studying Russian language in Moscow, and realized he wanted to incorporate Russia into his career. Among other things, he is interested in Russian-American relations, Russian foreign policy, and national identity in connection with the Russian Orthodox Church.
Class of 2022