Founding Director

Anna Vassilieva

Professor Anna Vassilieva founded GIRS in 2013 and serves as Director.

Deputy Director

Photo of Theodora McGee, Deputy Director for The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies

Dr. Theodora Kelly McGee joined GIRS in December 2019 as Deputy Director. 

Current GIRS Graduate Assistants

Boris Boukhonine

Boris Boukhonine

Born to Russian immigrants in the United States, Boris grew up speaking both Russian and English at home. After studying linguistics and computer science for his bachelor’s degree, he lived abroad for several years in Europe and China, where he picked up Chinese. Years of teaching and a newly found passion for applying his language skills to the practical task of translation led him to find the perfect match for his skill set at the Middlebury Institute. Since the Fall 2018 semester, Boris has worked for GIRS on different projects, including translating public opinion polls from the Levada Center.

Kellee Fletcher

Kellee Fletcher

International Education Management

Before coming to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Kellee worked as a Study Abroad Advisor for La Roche University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she co-designed and co-led a short-term course to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Prior to La Roche and time spent in a few non-Russian related careers, Kellee lived and worked in the Russian Far East. Her first adventure there was on the World Discoverer Cruise Ship, presenting cultural lectures and providing language interpretation on six cruises for tourists visiting indigenous villages and local sites in remote regions of Chukotka. She then took a position as a staff assistant and translator at the Joint Scientific Center “Arktika” in Magadan. However, after enduring a winter of minus 50-degree temperatures, Kellee moved south to Khabarovsk. There, she spent three years as a project manager for Ton Vic Alaska Corp, an American company registered in Russia, which produced and shipped value-added lumber products to Japan and Indonesia.

Kellee received a B.A. in Russian Language and Russian Studies from Beloit College in Wisconsin. Her senior year of study was spent as an exchange student at Kuban State University in Krasnodar, Russia, via the American Collegiate Consortium at Middlebury College. At the end of the Cold War in 1988, Kellee was one of 55 American students selected from across the US to participate in the first USA-USSR Youth Summit, broadcast to an audience of 240 million on PBS and Soviet Channel One. Kellee is currently pursuing her master’s degree in International Education Management at MIIS.

Photo of Elizabeth Hawkes

Elizabeth Hawkes

Translation and Localization Management

Elizabeth grew up in the Russian Far East, where she lived in the midst of diverse languages and cultures that inspired her linguistic pursuits upon arrival to the United States. She grew up speaking a variety of languages but found that her interests met at the crossroads between Russian, French, and English. Her passion for linguistic and cultural exchange and translation led her to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies after completing a BA with distinction in Russian and International Studies at the University of Denver. As an undergraduate student, she was inspired by her personal background to found and direct the Russian Student Alliance Initiative that sought to connect Russian-speakers in the community, start constructive dialogue concerning Russian affairs and culture, as well as encourage the study of Russian language among students. At the Middlebury Institute, Elizabeth is pursuing an MA in Translation and Localization Management and she is a Russian translator for a consulting firm in Monterey.

Ana Maria Musteata

Ana-Maria Musteata

Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, MA candidate

Ana-Maria Musteata is a graduate assistant in the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS) and a graduate research assistant at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). She is assigned to an internship at the Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch of the Office for Disarmament Affairs at the United Nations in New York. Ana-Maria grew up in Moldova and saw the nexus between Western and Eastern European values and history in her everyday life. It’s with this foundational heritage that she is pursuing a degree in Nonproliferation Studies: to bridge gaps and reduce security risks through common understanding. While she initially studied to be an interpreter at the University of Bucharest, Romania, the presence of security threats in the US, the Black Sea region, and globally, convinced her that her professional role would lie in translating and formulating policies that build common understanding between nations.

Photo of Sergey Semenov


Sergey Semenov

Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

Sergey Semenov earned his BA in International Relations from MGIMO. Though his initial area of study was Latin America, internships at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense inspired him to study WMD proliferation and arms control. After being selected for the Dual Degree MA program in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, Sergey spent four months working for the PIR Center, a Russia-based NGO that focuses on problems of international security. While there, he was in charge of organizing dialogues with US researchers. Sergey firmly believes in the vital importance of multifaceted interaction between Russia and the United States, which makes his task of maintaining communication between young Russian and American experts especially relevant.

Photo of Susan Stalter

Susan Stalter

International Policy and Development

Susan initially became interested in Russia through a project on Soviet history in high school. She has since studied Russian through a variety of language programs including STARTALK, NSLI-Y, and Middlebury Language Schools. Susan earned her BA from Macalester College, where she studied Russian and International Studies. She studied abroad in Russia twice, once at St. Petersburg State University and once at Nizhny Novgorod State Linguistics University. She decided to continue her education and engagement with Russian at MIIS, pursuing an MA in International Policy and Development. She is also an MA candidate at the Middlebury Davis School of Russian.

Former GIRS Graduate Assistants

Casey Caruso

Casey Caruso

Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, 2019


Vladislav Chernavskikh

Vladislav Chernavskikh

Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, Candidate


Photo of Jacob Dwyer

Jacob Dwyer 

MA, Public Administration, 2018


Rachel Faith Headshot

Rachel Faith

MA, Translation and Interpretation (Russian/English), 2018


Alina Kazakovtceva

Alina Kazakovtceva

Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, Candidate


Yulia Levchenko

Yulia Levchenko

MA, Conference Interpretation (Russian/English)

Prior to MIIS, Yulia received an MA and PhD in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she conducted research on the role of literary translations in Anglo-Russian relations in the 19th century. She also taught a wide variety of courses in Linguistics, Literature, and Gender Studies in Russian and English.

Matt Levie

Matt Levie

MPA, Development Practice and Policy, 2018


Adlan Margoev

Adlan Margoev

MA, Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, 2018


Noah Mayhew

Noah Mayhew

MA, Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, 2017

Megan McCullough

Megan McCullough

Conflict Resolution and Russian Language, Candidate


photo of Yury Medvedev

Yury Medvedev

Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, Candidate


photo of David Mnitsa smiling

David Mnitsa

Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, Candidate


Diana Molodilo

Diana Molodilo

MA, Public Administration, 2017


Lacie Neill in Red Square

Lacie Neill

MA, International Policy and Development, 2018


Photo of Annelise Plooster in Moscow

Annelise Plooster

Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, 2018


Alexey Polyakov

Alexey Polyakov

Dual Degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

Ryan Roccio

Ryan Roccio

MA, International Policy Studies

Ryan served as Program Coordinator for the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies in 2019. 

Emily Werk headshot

Emily Werk

MA, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, 2019


Participating Organizations