Meet some of our previous award winners!


Boba Summer Research Fellowship

Allison Dvaladze is an MPH student in the UW Department of Global Health focusing on the REECA region as well as Assistant Director for Outreach at the Ellison Center. Her research interests include: health systems reform, maternal-infant health and chronic disease in the region. This summer she visited Georgia where she collected information on health systems reform and met with public health professionals. Allison came to UW from Tbilisi, Georgia where she was editor-in-chief of The Messenger, Georgia's English-language daily newspaper and a bi-monthly political/economic magazine. She also worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington D.C., Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, focusing on civil society development and election reform. She is a native of Bainbridge Island and a graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Marty Manor taught English to Slovak high school students in Košice, Slovakia, for several years before entering the UW’s PhD program in East Central European history in 2008. For her dissertation she aims to write an urban history on the eastern Slovak city of Košice, the country’s second-largest urban center, detailing how turning points of Czechoslovak history under Communism (the 1948 consolidation of Communist power, the 1968 Prague Spring and Soviet invasion and the 1988-89 collapse of the regime) played out uniquely in the city. While in Slovakia this summer on the Boba Fellowship, she was able to deliver a lecture at the Košice State Library and to perform a cursory review of the archives in Košice and Bratislava in preparation for further dissertation research. In the future Marty hopes to teach East Central European history at the college level.


Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship
Prior to entering the Masters in International Studies Program, Marleyse Borchard worked in program development to increase collaboration in public health. She holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington and her current research interests are transnational health and issues of statelessness. Marleyse is studying Russian language in order to better understand the history and current issues that face Russia within its own region and in the international sphere.
Nicole Burgund is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature. Her focus is on twentieth-century prose and poetry, and she's currently working on a dissertation which takes a comparative look at different prose works dealing with the trial of recounting one's life. She hopes to apply her continued study of Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian to her dissertation research, which includes two works in BCS: Irena Vrkljan's Marina, Or about Biography, and Meša Selimovic's Death and the Dervish.
A native of the Seattle area, Jack Coombes first became interested in Russia after participating in Camp Siberia, a nonprofit organization that sends local high-school students to work with orphans in Novosibirsk. He attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 2007 with a BA in Russian Language and Literature, and has spent over two and a half years working, studying, and traveling throughout Russia. His interests include the politics of energy and natural resources in the Caspian Sea Regions and Russian-Azerbaijani relations.
Eric Damiana graduated from Goucher College with a major in Russian in 2010, and immediately went into the REECAS program. He studied human rights and American-Russian relations while abroad at Smolny Institute in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2008. He is interested in gender and sexual identity in Russia from a historical vein, and problems of human trafficking in Eastern Europe in a more contemporary context. His true love, however, is language itself, and he aspires to work in translation at some point after graduation. He also appreciates nonverbal communication, and as a result spends more time in the Seattle tango community than his coursework should allow.
Gallagher Flinn is a second-year Masters student in Linguistics. Before graduate school he taught English in Japan and worked in a quiet Portland cheese shop, neither of which had anything to do with his undergraduate degree in Russian Literature. Now, however, he is sharpening his Russian in order to work on patterns of ellipsis in Russian syntax (and hopefully other Slavic languages), and move on to a PhD in the same.
Embarking on her third year of graduate school, Tiffany Grobelski is interested in how changing political and economic conditions affect the way people talk about and manage the environment. She is studying Polish so that she can better understand environmental politics and activism in Poland, and, more broadly, in the European Union. Before moving to Seattle, she lived in Warsaw, Poland for two years: the first year as a Fulbright fellow, the second as a high school English language teacher. She hopes to be an amazing teacher.
Sofia Harwell is originally from east Tennessee, and graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in Russian and Archaeology in 2000. She worked as a Peace Corps community development volunteer in the Republic of Macedonia from 2006-2008. At the University of Washington, she is concurrently pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) and Master’s of International Studies (MAIS) with a focus in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. She currently works as a contract grant writer for an arts non-profit.
Derek Hom graduated from Colgate University with a BA in English Literature and History. After working in corporate Manhattan for two years, he pursued an MA in European Studies focusing on EU Competition Policy in enchanting Krakow, Poland. He "got lost" traveling from the Balkans to the Baltics, exploring crumbling castles and consuming tasty pastries. Upon his return, he interned with the State Department in Washington and in Albania, assigned to NATO Accession Policy and Consular Affairs. Fate would see him return to Eastern Europe as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine, where he taught English language, coached girls' softball and worked on HIV/AIDS community projects. In the REECAS program, Derek plans to focus on contemporary Russian-Ukrainian relations involving security issues. His non-academic interests include watching and playing soccer, running, playing chess, and getting lost in musty bookshops.
Seth Mahoney graduated from Portland State University with majors in philosophy and Russian, and a minor in history. He is currently researching the historical and economic aspects of environmental problems in Eastern and Central Europe, and the interactions between environmental groups and political resistance, focusing on the Czech Republic. He also has a secret love of Soviet comedies, and will spend all day making pelmeni or pirozhki if that's what the situation demands.
Andy Mullins graduated from the Jackson School in 2007 with a BA degree in International Studies, focusing on ethnicity and nationality in political practice in the post-Communist world. He returned to the Jackson School's REECAS program with a plan to study small state foreign policy in the former Yugoslavia, particularly in Slovenia, his favorite place on Earth. What happened in between is anyone's guess, although he does know how to say "doughnut" in over four Slavic languages.
Curtis Reed grew up in Bountiful, Utah, and earned Bachelor's degrees in political science and history, as well as a minor in Chinese, at Utah State University. As a grad student in UW's China Studies program, Curtis became interested in Chinese economic policy in Xinjiang and the terrorism threat the Chinese government perceives in Uyghur and other ethnic minority populations. Curtis hopes to use his knowledge of the Uyghur language to serve in the U.S. government.
Aleksander Schilbach grew up as Sascha,a first-generation American hailing from Mukilteo, Washington. Strangely befitting of his first name, Sascha developed a fascination with all things Russian from an early age despite not having any Slavic heritage. While still a student at Willamette University, he studied Russian language at Tavrida National University in the Crimea, Ukraine, and Eastern European politics and economy at the University of Tartu’s EuroCollege in Estonia. He graduated in 2010 from Willamette University with a BA in International Studies with a focus on Russia and a BA in Russian Language. After a dicey situation in the Crimea involving Stalin-era flat, his botched attempt to fix a natural gas-powered hot water heater and his enraged Ukrainian host mother Luda, Sascha became interested in Russian energy security in Eastern Europe. Having arrived at the Jackson School after spending the summer working on Sakhalin Island, Sascha will focus his studies on Russian energy security and Russia’s Arctic policy. If he is not drinking espresso or studying, you’ll find him cleaning his bilge and tinkering with the sailboat he calls home.
Anne Thorsteinson is originally from Juneau, Alaska and graduated from the University of Washington in 2006 with a degree in Russian Language and History. After teaching English abroad in Budapest, Hungary and traveling through Eastern Europe, she returned to Seattle to work in the travel industry, designing private tours to Russia and the former Soviet countries. She plans to perfect her Russian language skills and to study economic and natural resource management issues in Russia and Central Asia while in the REECAS program.
Sara Tomczuk's interests include memory politics and the sociology of memory. Currently, she is working on a master's thesis exploring political memories of communism in the Czech and Slovak Republics. Her work will compare physical memory sites (such as memorials and museums) in the two nations in order to understand how the current political atmosphere influences public memory of the communist period. Her career goals include teaching at the university level.

Gordon C. Culp Fellowship
Laura Lucht discovered Russia while reading Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov on the school bus in the ninth grade. After earning undergraduate degrees in Linguistics and in Russian & Soviet Studies from U.C. San Diego, she decided to take her learning outside the classroom before pursuing graduate study. In this quest for life experience, she worked for two years on a sociolinguistic survey of minority language communities in Azerbaijan, and served for three years as an academic counselor at a private university in California. She now weaves together her academic and professional interests by considering scholarship as a force in ancient, recent and modern migration throughout the Silk Road region. She hopes that her current study of Kazak language will open future opportunities to facilitate student and scholar exchange to and from Central Asia.

Gross Undergraduate Scholarship
Genesee Rickel is in her fourth year of study and is majoring in Russian Language & Literature and International Studies. She is currently researching Russian feminist critiques of Tolstoy's treatment of the woman question in Anna Karenina, and plans to also develop a research project focusing on the use of ty and vy in Soviet and post-Soviet film. While in Sochi, she began to outline the later linguistic research project, while also further developing her Russian language skills. After college she hopes to work in the non-profit sector, focusing on human rights issues in the Caucasus.

H. Stewart Parker Endowed Fellowship
Nicole Burgund is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature. Her focus is on twentieth-century prose and poetry, and she's currently working on a dissertation which takes a comparative look at different prose works dealing with the trial of recounting one's life. She hopes to apply her continued study of Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian to her dissertation research, which includes two works in BCS: Irena Vrkljan's Marina, Or about Biography, and Meša Selimovic's Death and the Dervish.
Tyson Sadleir is a PhD student in the Slavic Department. His interests are centered in Balkan and Kartvelian linguistics. He has studied Macedonian, Turkish and Georgian extensively and seeks to reconcile these languages through the context of Turkish linguistic influence via the Ottoman Turks. This fall Tyson Sadleir will go to Skopje to study Bulgarian and Macedonian. He is looking forward to this opportunity to study Southeast Slavic languages, which are quite unique among the Slavic languages because of the influences other Balkan languages have had on them. He hopes to learn more about these linguistic influences, and is particularly interested in the influence of Turkish on Bulgarian and Macedonian syntax. In order to help him in this goal, Tyson will study advanced Macedonian and Bulgarian for two months at the Center for Foreign Languages in Skopje, Macedonia.
Karl Starns was born and raised on the Mississippi Delta, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In between eating gumbo, crawfish and surviving hurricanes, he studied history and German at Louisiana State University which fostered his interest in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. His current study interests include Russian and German relations, Russian relations with the Ottoman Empire, Great power politics in East Europe and the Balkans, and Russian foreign policy. He speaks German, can read elementary French and learns Russian. He hopes to pursue an academic career. He enjoys learning languages, good histories, good people, good conversation, good food, good comics and good times.

Titus Ellison Fellowship
A native of Southern California, Sarah Zaides completed her BA in History at the University of California, San Diego. After graduation, she spent a significant amount of time in St. Petersburg and Moscow before returning to work for a non-profit in San Diego. A graduate student in the History Department’s MA/PhD program, Sarah is interested in the cultural, political, and ideological exchanges between Soviet Russia and the Middle East during the Cold War. She also works on Soviet Jewish identity vis-à-vis cultural production and intellectual history. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, live music, and yoga.

The Ellison Center
REECAS Program
Box 353650
203B Thomson Hall
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-4852 phone
(206) 685-0668 fax