I first became interested in Russian Studies after eating at an Eastern European restaurant the summer after I graduated from high school. The food was so unlike anything that I had ever tried before, and the atmosphere was so unique and fresh that I wanted to learn more. I did some reading about Russia, Russian, and borsht, then decided to take Russian 101, thinking that if I did not like it, I could just continue with French. The rest is history! My first class at William & Mary was Russian 101 with Bella Feliksovna. Within the Russian and Post-Soviet Studies program, the quality of the teaching was so high and the feeling of community so excellent that I decided to pursue a RPSS Minor.
There are numerous opportunities to become involved with RPSS at William & Mary—weekly events, movie screenings, lectures, conversation hours, and the professors are always open to discussion if you pop by their offices. I got involved in some research that Professor Aleksandr Prokhorov was working on. One day I was just asked to come aboard and work with some linguistic data. My major is Computer Science, so it was a great opportunity to combine my interests.
After graduation, I hope to land a software engineering position.
The project that I have been working on with Professor Prokhorov is front and center on my resume. It was a large project, and without it I would be much less competitive in the interview process. Several time I have even bonded with interviewers over their own connections to Russia.
No matter where I end up, I do not think I will ever lose the appreciation for Russian culture and understanding of global context that I developed at W&M. Learning Russian has been a journey, and I would recommend it to everyone!