Russian Studies Program

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Cathedral of Assumption, Moscow Kremlin

What do Bucknell Russian Studies Graduates do with their Russian?  

Bucknell Russian Studies majors have developed careers in a wide variety of disciplines: education, business, law, government, even medicine. (Remember, the Russian major at Bucknell is a Russian Studies major that allows students to focus on any aspect of Russian culture and society they choose.) Since 1991 most graduates of the Russian Studies Program have decided to begin their post-graduate careers with a job in Russia. The reason is compelling: in Russia you can do well while doing good. More than anything else the Russians need people who have experienced a Western free-market economy to talk to them, show them how to start up and run businesses. Some of our graduates are actually engaged in missionary and charity work, but most are involved in the same sort of jobs that they would have in this country. The only difference is that they are in an exciting place at an exciting time -- and, despite what we often read in the US press, none have mentioned any sense of danger. A few of their stories are listed below. 

BRSP also has a notable record in graduate schools including the London School of Economics, George Washington, Oxford University, Stanford, Indiana, Syracuse, and Kings College, London, Yale, Harvard, and Columbia. Bucknell Russian Studies Program graduates compete among the very best in the world.  

Tracy Dennison '94
Tracy taught English in Moscow for two years, enjoying every minute of it. The pay was not high but the satisfaction level was. Tracy is now working on a master's degree at St. Andrews College, Oxford.

Bob Foresman '90
Bob is the investment officer of the International Finance Corporation of World Bank in charge of the Ukraine office (60 employees). He began as a privatization consultant while also lending a helping hand to several Ukrainian orphanages. He was in Moscow in August 1991 during the abortive coup attempt and actually participated in those heroic events, talking to the tank drivers and helping erect the barricades in front of the parliament building. He is married to a woman he met in Kiev while studying in Moscow.

Gerry Greenberg '77
Gerry completed his PhD in Slavic Linguistics at Cornell and is now the chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Syracuse University.

Sharon Harris '93
Sharon worked with Greg Martin for a year at the MIR Travel Agency in St. Petersburg, then moved on to teach English in St. Petersburg. She just finished her masters as the Maxwell School of Business at the University of Syracuse and will soon be moving to a new job in NYC. Her sister, Susan, starts Russian in this spring.

Steve Hoerter '91 and Jean Platt '92
This Bucknell couple are working for Eli Lilly & Company (Steve) and Merck . Steve is in international marketing for oncology and Orpha represents Merck in corporate affairs for Central & Eastern Europe, including Russia. For two years after graduation Jean worked as a legal assistant in US law offices in Moscow.

Leo Klementovich '84
Leo started his own joint venture with a Russian friend while studying politics in Moscow in 1991. Leo went over to study at the Communist Party Institute during its last year of existence and while there went into business with a Russian selling clothing. He not only received a good education at the critical moment of the new revolution, but pocketed a handsome some to bring home.

Thyra Leslie '90
Thyra is currently completing her PhD in Slavic linguistics and Uralo-Altaic studies at the University of Indiana. In 1995 she gave her first talk on Hungarian at a professional conference.

Josh Lipton '95
Josh is currently working for a German transportation company and plans to continue next year. He is making a solid Western European salary and has asked that we remind everyone that so long as a US citizen remains most of the year abroad, they pay no US taxes. This means that not only is his salary higher than it would have been in the US, but he keeps all of it.

Brian Long '94
Brian spent a year in one of the oldest cities in Russian, Pskov, teaching English in an elementary school there. Now he is currently working on a masters degree in Russian studies at Michigan State University.

Troy McGrath
Troy completed his PhD in political science at Columbia University, focusing on Russia and the NIS states. He has been teaching political science at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary for three years.

Kerri Marks '94
Kerri is now in graduate school but she spent 1994-95 in Moscow working with a missionary service helping those suffering from the current turmoil both economically and spiritually. The pay was not much, Kerri lived pretty much like other Muscovites, but the satisfaction level was high and it was the experience of a life-time.

Greg Martin '93
Greg worked for two years with the MIR Travel Agency in St. Petersburg before finding a more interesting job with the US Consulate there. He is now completing his MBA at the Cornell School of Business.

Barbara Meier '88
Barbara completed her PhD at Yale University in Slavic Linguistics and is now teaching at George Washington University. She recently read a paper and organized her own session on Slavic gender for the 1996 conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. (She was thoughtful enough to invite Professor Beard to participate in her session.)

Joe Meschino '79
Joe worked 5 years in Moscow on the new USA Embassy construction site. He then began working with the Scott-European Corporation in the medical sales department until January 1995. He currently co-owns, with his Russian partner, a medical supply company in Doylestown, PA, his hometown, selling medical supplies in Russia.

Kadi Miller '91
Kadi completed her law degree at Duke Law school in 1994 and went to work for The Centre for International Environmental Law in Washington. She heads their project to help draft new environmental laws for Russia and the NIS on subcontract from US AID. She helps organize and mobilize grassroots environmental groups there, and makes frequent trips in that direction.

Chris Mitchell '91
Chris, on last report, was running the Miller Distributing Co. of Moscow. He is enjoying his work immensely as well as the excitement of watching major events in world history unfold.

John Pommersheim '85
John opened the first US Embassy in Minsk and did such a good job that he was assigned to Bonn as the US Ambassador's chief of staff.

Edmund Rhodes '95
'Misha' is currently working for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in Washington. NDI is a non-partisan organization designed to strengthen democratic institutions and pluralistic values in new and emerging democracies. Its goal is to increase public participation in a democratic society and to improve negotiations with the government. He also visits various institutions in Russia and the NIS.

Pete Rossi '91
Pete wrote us from Moscow that he knew several Bucknellians employed in Russia in 1993. He assured us that all are in contact with each other and that they would be happy to help other Bucknell graduates of the Russian Program to find apartments and jobs in that part of the country. Pete and his fiancée are still living in Moscow.

Richard Sosnowski '95
Rich is working for a French catering service in Moscow. For three months the work is demanding; he is expected to work evenings and often weekends. However, the fourth month he spends on paid vacation anywhere in the world he wishes to go--that's at company expense. This is a typical European plan for companies whose work cannot be conducted from 9 to 5, five days a week. Remember, too, Richard is receiving a Western European salary, which is higher than US salaries and pays no US taxes.

Tom Trimble
Tom's one year of Russian at Bucknell whetted his appetite for all things Russian. Despite the language deficit, he got into the Harriman Institute at Columbia and then went on to law school. When he received his law degree, he moved to Moscow for 3 years, working as a lawyer with the firm Latham & Watkins, while his wife Shelly worked in the ING and Dialog Banks. They lived in a great apartment in Old Arbat. Now he works with Latham & Watkins in their DC office but still flies periodically to Russia and East Europe on a variety of deals.

Mike Troper '85
Mike was the controller for the town of Worthington, Ohio when he received a telephone call one day from a group of businessmen who wanted him to become the controller of the Moscow Country Club, a joint US-Russian venture. (That phrase rings strange bells for those of us who studied Russia in the bad old days.) He held that position for several months before returning to the US.

Jonathan Wise '94
Jon is enrolled in the Boston College School of Law. In the summer of 1995 he served an internship with a US law firm in St. Petersburg. Jonathan revised contracts in both English and Russian. He returned to a similar internship in Moscow in the summer of 1996 and, according to Tracy Dennison, he is planning to return again in 1997. When he receives his law degree, he will have a solid understanding of US corporate and commercial law (which all the contracts were based on) as well as a familiarity with the Russian legal system (such as it is).

Christine Zapotocky
Chris is the executive assistant to the president and rector of Central European University in Budapest and loving the city. Her apartment looks out at the palace over the Danube, no wonder she loves it.

Whatever our graduates do with their experience in Russia, all find it an exhilarating adventure into a very friendly culture truly different from our own--an adventure which they will never forget and a valuable experience that US companies, government agencies, and private research institutes need.



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