Welcome Class of 2020!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

As classes begin this week, we are excited to welcome our new MARS-REERS students. This year we have 14 new students—among the largest cohorts in Harriman history!  

Our BA/MA cohort—the largest yet since we started the program in Fall 2017—includes three students, with two coming from Barnard and another from Columbia College.

We are proud to say that this class is extremely diverse both in their interests and backgrounds. We have a group of brilliant men and women who collectively speak 9 languages—Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian, Persian, Turkish, Greek, and Tajik—and whose studies span our entire region of interest. Four students will focus on Central Asia, three students on the Balkans, five on Russia, and three on Eastern Europe.

Interests within these regions are also varied. Student research will cover topics in media, memory studies, civil society and activism, authoritarianism, domestic Russian politics, intelligence and security, human rights, language policies, Russia and its relation to its neighbors in Eastern Europe, legal reform, gender issues, and migration, just to name a few.

Here’s a glimpse of the incoming class:

Benjamin Cohen received a 2016 Fulbright fellowship to research Holocaust memorialization and Jewish heritage sites in Ukraine. He plans to continue his study of memorialization and historical memory by looking at post-Maidan Ukraine.

Austen Dowell has spent nearly four years living and working in Eurasia. He began his study of Central Asia as a Boren Scholar in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in 2016. He plans to continue studying the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, with a focus on the creation of national identity and nation building, as well as trade agreements, resource sharing and China-Central Asia relations.  

Anya Konstantinovsky is one of our two BA/MA United States Russia Foundation Fellowship recipients. Anya graduated from Barnard in May and plans to complete the MA program this spring. At Barnard, she focused on Russian literature. She is looking forward to shifting into an interdisciplinary study of domestic Russian politics.

Look out for more student stories in our student and alumni spotlights section throughout the year!

Pictured: Students and staff at a socially distanced welcome picnic