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Q: Where did you study as an undergraduate? What was your major(s)?

I studied at the College of William & Mary where I double majored in Government and History.

Q: What do you like about UNC’s graduate program in Russian and East European Studies?

I like the many opportunities to get involved that are provided by the program. From seminars to dinners to simply classes, there are so many different ways to get involved and learn about a new part of the region.

Q: Why did you choose to specialize in this region of the globe?

My family emigrated from Finland prior to Finland’s independence from Russia, so I have always had a connection to the region. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in undergrad that I took a class on Russian History since Stalin and that’s what sparked a deeper dive into the history, culture, and religion of Russia.

Q: Do you have work and/or study experience in the region?


Q: What are your research interests?

My research interests lie in the relationship between religion and the state in Russia, particularly between the Russian Orthodox Church and Putin’s Kremlin.

Q: What would you like to do after you graduate?

I would like to work in Washington D.C. either within or alongside the U.S. government on issues related to Russian-US diplomacy.

Q: What are your hobbies? What do you like doing in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy reading and watching films. I also enjoy listening to the Beatles. Some of my favorite books include In the First Circle by Alexander Solzhenitsyn and The Pope at War by David Kertzer. In terms of films, I really enjoy Dr. Strangelove and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Q. What is your favorite visual reminder of the region and why?

My favorite visual reminder is the picture I took of the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Paris. I wrote my undergraduate honors thesis on St. Alexander Nevsky’s portrayal as a diplomat and warrior-saint through Russian history and how this portrayal has changed over time. To go and see a church dedicated to Nevsky about whom I wrote so much was a really meaningful moment because of how much time I spent researching him, and this is why it is my favorite visual reminder of the region.