Spring 2018 Spring 2018 Featured

Bailey Orr (Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and English, ’18) accepted to PhD Program in Slavic Studies at Indiana

OrrOver the past four years, much of my academic and extracurricular life on campus has revolved around Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. I have participated in student-led groups, such as the Russian and English language newspaper Gazeta and the Russian Music Ensemble. I lived in the Russian language house for two years. This year, I also served on the Russian Language Olympics organizing committee. My favorite courses have included Bella Ginzbursky-Blum’s language classes, Robert Mulcahy’s class on the Fantastic in Russian Literature, and Elena Prokhorova’s seminar on Russian television genres. In addition, I had the privilege of assisting Alexander Prokhorov on his Cinema and Memory research project. Conducting, transcribing, and translating interviews conducted in Russian has exponentially increased my listening comprehension and vocabulary in the Russian language.

As a double major in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and English, I have always looked for ways to synthesize these two areas of interest. For instance, while studying abroad in St. Petersburg my sophomore year,  I visited the apartment of poet Anna Akhmatova to research the impact of her living conditions on her long poem Requiem. More recently, I composed an undergraduate thesis with the help of the English and Russian departments in which I compare the works of Modernist Virginia Woolf and the Russian Futurist writer Elena Guro. The project included transliterations of Guro’s original Russian text, allusions to Slavic folklore in both works, and close reading analysis based on Russian formalist and French feminist theory.


Undoubtedly, enrolling in Russian 101 was the greatest decision I ever made as an undergraduate. My experience with the RPSS department has provided me with invaluable analytical, creative, and social skills that I will use in my future endeavors, and, perhaps more importantly, it has connected me with my most trusted friends and mentors. This fall, I will begin a Ph.D. program in Slavic Studies with a concentration in Russian Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington. I am excited to embark on new intellectual journeys while also treasuring the memories and friendships I have made at William & Mary.