Jasmine Alexander-Greene completed her undergraduate degree in Russian at Duke University. Her undergraduate career included work on the Jack and Rebecca Matlock Papers and advanced Russian study at St. Petersburg University and Indiana University-Bloomington’s Summer Language Workshop. Jasmine has been an ACTR Post-Secondary Scholar-Laureate and finalist for a Fulbright English Teaching Grant to Russia. She considers herself a generalist within Russian Studies. Her academic interests at present include late Soviet history, political biography, political folklore, and contemporary Russian literature. She is also an active translator and blogger. Jasmine is currently completing an MA in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at Stanford University. Her thesis investigates representations of Vladimir Putin in world literature.
Lucy Birge is a final-year PhD Candidate in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Manchester. Her research explores Russia’s political communication and public diplomacy strategies. She was the recipient of the University of Manchester’s 2017 studentship award in Media, Languages and Communication. She has presented her research at major international conferences, coauthored a chapter on Russia that appeared in an edited volume on public diplomacy, and taught undergraduate students at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at UCL and postgraduate students at the University of Sheffield. Before embarking on her PhD, she completed a degree in Russian Studies at the University of Sheffield and an MPhil in European Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge. Over the course of the past decade, she has studied and worked in Russia, in Yaroslavl and St Petersburg. Alongside her educational pursuits, she has worked as an interpreter and translator while dabbling in the odd bit of journalism.
Alina is a PhD student in Russian and Eastern European History at Stanford University. Her research interests include the environmental history of the Russian Arctic, Soviet industrial development and natural resource extraction, and post-Soviet deindustrialization. Alina is also a research associate and deputy editor-in-chief at the Arctic Institute. In 2019, she earned her master’s in European and Russian Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation was about the rise and fall of Soviet mining settlements on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Prior to entering academia, she completed a Bachelor of Journalism at Ryerson University and worked as a breaking news reporter at the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper.
U.S. Army Major Alex Carlier is a Foreign Area Officer currently studying International Policy and Development at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. In his previous assignment, he worked in the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff Officer Course, NATO Staff Officer Course, and the Russian language course at the Defense Language Institute (DLI). His first assignment as a Foreign Area Officer will be at the European Command headquarters as an international political military affairs officer starting in September 2021.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Major Carlier received his commission as an engineer officer in 2009 from the Ohio State University’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. He has served in combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq as a military engineer and company commander. He has a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and he is a certified Project Management Professional.
Marguerite is an MPhil candidate in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford. Her MPhil thesis will examine historical and cultural factors influencing Georgia’s interpretation and application of international law. Specifically, she is interested in Georgia’s judicial framing of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. She holds a Master of Arts (Honours) in International Relations and Modern Languages (French and Russian), from the University of St Andrews. She also studied abroad at a language center in Moscow, at Saint Petersburg State University, and at Sciences Po in Paris. Beyond her interests in the Caucasus, international law and U.S. diplomacy, Marguerite is an avid lover of poetry and literature. Her undergraduate dissertation contrasted the evolution of societal trends and politics in Russia with the works of canonical writers.
Conor Cunningham is a research intern for the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund and a cyber consultant for the University of Washington, specializing in Russian cyber and information operations. He received his BA in International Studies from the University of Washington in 2020 with minors in Russian Language, French Language, and Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies. As a Cybersecurity Fellow at the University of Washington, Cunningham’s research focused primarily on election interference and analyzing Russian cyber operations around the globe for external clients, such as Microsoft and the Global Disinformation Index. Cunningham studied Russian at Moscow International University during the summer of 2018 as a recipient of the Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) scholarship. More recently, as a Boren scholar, he studied Russian and Eastern European studies during the 2019-2020 academic year in Daugavpils, Latvia. In September 2021, Cunningham aims to employ the skills and experiences gained during MSSR 2021 as a Fulbright research scholar in Moldova.
Originally from Kyrgyzstan and Russia, Yana Demeshko is currently a student at UCLA pursuing a PhD in Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures. Her current research concerns Russia’s futurist poet Benedikt Livshits’s 1914 cycle of poems Volch’e solntse. Yana earned her BA in Central and Eastern European Languages and Cultures from UCLA, where she studied Polish, Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian and researched Russia-Poland relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union. She also tracked Russia’s revival of pro- and anti-Kremlin youth organizations and youth participation in anti-corruption protests in 2017-2018. Her analysis was published in the UC Undergraduate Journal of Slavic and East/Central European Studies. Most recently, Yana worked on a research project concerning the historical cooperation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the domain of public health as a Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum history fellow. Outside of academia, Yana enjoys attending foreign film festivals and baking French desserts.
Sean is a first-year MA candidate in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Studies at Harvard University’s Davis Center. He is also the Innovation Fellow at the Negotiation Task Force (NTF) at the Davis Center, where he assists with the NTF’s negotiation exercises and flagship crisis simulation, Red Horizon. His thesis topic is Vladimir Putin’s approach to the question of a Russian national idea, especially as it relates to national purpose and the construction of an all-Russian civic identity. Sean has a dual degree in Law and Arts (majoring in International Relations and History) from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. His undergraduate thesis focused on Russian security discourse, comparing the cases of the Second Chechen War and the conflict in Ukraine. He has spent time studying international law in Buenos Aires and has also lived in Ukraine and Armenia.
Sophie is a first-year MPhil candidate in Russian and East European studies at Oxford University. Her thesis explores crisis management strategies of in-system opposition parties in Russia, focusing on the way these parties negotiate their position vis-à-vis the regime during political crises in the regions. She holds a BA in Political Science and a BA in Translation and Interpretation (German, English, Russian) from the University of Vienna. Her previous research focused on the 2019 protest movement in Moscow, and EU-Russia relations in light of the current sanctions and counter-sanctions regime. Sophie lived in St. Petersburg in 2014-15, studying Russian at Herzen University.
In her free time at Oxford, Sophie studies Georgian and occasionally attempts translations of Russian poems into her native language, German. She is also a theme section editor for St. Antony’s International Review (STAIR), a peer-reviewed international relations journal, where she is currently working on a section that focuses on energy politics and international struggles for natural resources.
Nadya Kamenkovich is an MPhil candidate in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford. Apart from her studies, Nadya is a theme section editor for St. Antony’s International Review (STAIR), the only peer-reviewed international affairs journal in Oxford, overseeing a section that focuses on energy politics. And along with other REES students, she has launched the Perspektiva Society in Oxford, a platform for dialogue between post-Soviet and Western perspectives. In 2019 Nadya graduated from the Higher School of Economics with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. She also spent a semester studying politics at Sorbonne University. Her professional background includes internships with various think tanks in Russia.
Tina was born in Moscow to a Russian mother and Georgian father before emigrating to the United States as a young child. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in International Studies from American University’s School of International Service. During her semester abroad in Edinburgh, Tina worked for the Scottish National Party’s Depute Leader at the Scottish Parliament. She returned to the United Kingdom in October 2020 to pursue her master’s degree in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford. Her research lies at the intersection of foreign policy and national identity, and to this end, she studied the evolutions of Russia’s and Hungary’s extraterritorial citizenship laws for her thesis. Beyond her academic interests in Russian foreign policy and geopolitics, Tina started the Female Ambassador Project to encourage other young women to pursue careers in international diplomacy.
Jack McClelland is pursuing his MA in Russian Language, Literature, and Culture at McGill University in Montréal, Québec. He completed his BA at the University of British Columbia, double majoring in International Relations and English Literature and completing a minor in Russian. He also studied for a summer semester at the Smolny College of St. Petersburg State University in 2017, taking a multi-course program of Russian language, literature, and history with a cohort of Canadian peers.
Growing up in Salinas, California, he became interested in Russian culture when a family member gave him copies of The Brothers Karamazov and The Master and Margarita one Christmas. His MA research looks at the intersections of dissidence and creativity in the literature of the late Soviet Union and contemporary Russian Federation. Before beginning his MA, he started a blog of personal writing and interviews on arts, culture, and activism in Russia, and is looking forward to learning from the leading policy experts, journalists, and writers at the MSSR.
Yanliang Pan is a graduate student at Georgetown University’s Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Having studied Russian on his own while in high school, he enrolled in Georgetown University’s area studies program as an undergraduate student and chose the post-Soviet space as one of his two regions of interest. So far, his academic coursework and research have focused on U.S.- and China-Russia relations as well as on Russian domestic politics, media, and youth. Apart from attending the Bard-Smolny study abroad program in St. Petersburg in the spring of 2020, he has made no fewer than five trips to Russia over the years. In terms of his career, Yanliang hopes to work in Russia after the end of his graduate program, particularly in the fields of academia and journalism. He is also interested in exploring Track II diplomacy as a potential calling.
Jonathan Wiersema graduated from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in 2021, majoring in Regional and Comparative Studies with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. Previously, he interned in the U.S. Senate and at the State Department in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. Jonathan has conducted research for Georgetown’s Government Department on the U.S. Supreme Court’s treatment of administrative deference and served as a teaching assistant in the Economics Department. He also founded Georgetown University’s undergraduate Moot Court team. His research interests include Russia’s civilian nuclear program, law and governance in Russia, and multilateral nonproliferation issues. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys playing basketball with his friends, reading Eastern European literature, and cheering on Chelsea FC. This upcoming fall, he will begin his first year of law school at Georgetown University Law Center, where he plans to focus on international treaty law.