Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight: Maria Snegovaya

When Maria Snegovaya, a doctoral candidate in Columbia’s Department of Political Science, started researching the rise of the radical and populist right in Eastern and Central Europe back in 2013, she had no idea just how globally relevant the topic would become. Then, three years later, radical and populist right movements gained unexpected prominence in both Western Europe and the United States. Read more.

Student Spotlight: Joss Meakins (MARS-REERS '17)

In late September 2016, Joss Meakins (MARS-REERS ’17), a University Consortium (UC) Fellow, traveled to Moscow’s Higher School of Economics for UC’s annual two-day conference about Euro-Atlantic relations in the post-Cold-War era and beyond. The UC, which launched last year thanks to a generous grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, is a partnership between six leading institutions in North America, Europe, and Russia, that promotes training, research, engagement and policy outreach on Euro-Atlantic issues critical to addressing the crisis in Russia-West relations. Read more.

Student Spotlight: Diego Benning Wang (MARS-REERS '16)

In January 2014, Diego Benning Wang (MARS-REERS, ’16), then an undergraduate student at New York University (NYU), traveled on a tourist visa to the North Caucasus, a politically unstable mountainous region in the southwestern corner of the Russian Federation. He was returning to the area for the second time in six months in hopes of gaining a deeper understanding of the land and its cultures in the wake of the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing—the attack was executed by ethnically Chechen émigrés with ties to Dagestan. Read more.

Student Spotlight: Abby Downing-Beaver (MARS-REERS '16)

Abby Downing-Beaver (MARS-REERS ’16) has always been fascinated with languages and the cultural nuances they convey. Growing up in Missouri City, Texas, she tried to learn as many as possible. Unfortunately, her high school offered only French and Spanish, both of which she was already studying. Then her mother, a journalist, discovered a newspaper listing for a Russian language class at the Russian Cultural Center in downtown Houston. Read more.

Student Spotlight: Andrew Dolinar (GSAS, HR '16)

Andrew Dolinar (GSAS, HR ‘16) was a sophomore studying sociology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, when he received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study Russian in Kazan. It was summer 2012, and Russia’s second largest and most cosmopolitan city, St. Petersburg, had recently passed a law banning the “propaganda” of LGBT relations to minors. “Being a queer American in Russia while all this was happening was fascinating,” says Dolinar. While in Kazan, he made an effort to meet people in the queer community. Read more.

Student Spotlight: Joseph Maberry (SIPA, MIA ‘16)

On February 22, 2014, Joseph Maberry (SIPA, MIA ‘16), a Peace Corps volunteer, sat in his apartment in Staryi Krym, a small historic town in Crimea, watching a livestream of the protests taking place on Maidan in the wake of the “Heavenly Hundred” massacre. Suddenly he received an email informing him that his Peace Corps service, which was supposed to last another month, would end that day. Read more.

Student Spotlight: Anastasia Tkach (MARS-REERS '16)

When Anastasia Tkach (MARS-REERS ’16) first arrived in Ukraine in July 2015, she intended to research apathy and disillusionment in the wake of Euromaidan. But while interviewing members of various activist organizations in Kyiv, she realized that few were either apathetic or disillusioned. “Activism was still happening,” says Tkach. “There were demonstrations on the streets and a lot of reforms passing.” Read more.

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