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

Brigham Young University, majored in Geography and Russian.

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

So far, I’m loving how I’m learning about the region from many different perspectives. I’m learning about policy, history and linguistically. 

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

I lived in western Ukraine for 18 months and just fell in love with it. I am fascinated with political geography and how what goes on in Eastern Europe impacts us across the globe.

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

I was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in L’viv, Ukraine. I also spent 3 months in Latvia on a Russian language internship making maps for the Riga Holocaust museum.

Q: What are your research interests?

I love the political geography of Eastern Europe, specifically how the region is a shatterbelt and a buffer between Western Europe and Russia today.

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

Not sure, but I’d love to end up working for the US government in some capacity. 

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

I love to run, and I love baking just as much, so it balances out. I also love comic books and watching TV when I’m feeling not particularly productive. 

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

This is a picture of L’viv. It may not be the most iconic shot of the city, but it was the first picture I took when I moved there in 2016. I love that city! It really encapsulates my idea of what Ukraine really is. I lived not far from the city center and loved to go there when I had time.