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Like our current students, alumni of CSEEES MA program are drawn from the best and the brightest, and have gone on to fulfill careers in government, education, NGOs and the private sector. Read below or choose the corresponding year to find out more about their thesis projects and why they chose the program.

20202019 • 2018 • 2017 • 2016 

Recent Graduates

Logan Smith • Chapel Hill, North Carolina ’20
B.A. Political Science, UNC Chapel Hill
Thesis title: From Shockers to Heroines: International Women’s Day In the Stalinist Press, 1930-1940 • Advisor: Don Raleigh

I chose to specialize in Russian and Eastern Europe after taking my first Russian language class at UNC in the fall of 2014. I fell in love with not only the uniqueness of the language but Russian culture itself. I like UNC’s graduate program in Russian and Eastern European Studies because not only is it a rigorous and well-respected area studies program, but it allows students flexibility to make their graduate experience truly suited to their research interests.

Faith Goldsmith • Fayetteville, North Carolina ’20
B.A. Peace, War, Defense and Germanic and Slavic Languages, UNC Chapel Hill
Thesis title: Yunarmiya: A New Wave of Russian Nationalism • Advisor: Graeme Robertson

Russian history, and that of its surrounding regions, seems to take a unique path even today that I find very interesting. I am interested in political youth groups in Russia and Ukraine. UNC’s graduate program brings together my interests in international relations and history with my curiosity about Russia and Eastern Europe.

Liam Anderson • Charlotte, North Carolina ’19
B.A. Political Science, St. Anselm College
Thesis title: “Enemies Not Amenable:” Violence, Journalism, and the Russian State Building Project • Advisor: Graeme Robertson

I really like the variety of classes available in the REEES track – classes in the history, political science, IR, and language spectrum that are fascinating and challenging. I also appreciate the heavy language focus of the program. I have always been fascinated by the former Soviet Union, in particular Russia, since when I began studying Political Science it was an area I knew little about. I had the opportunity to study in Russia last year and during my stay there my interest in the region was cemented.

Albert Cavallaro • New York, New York ’19
B.A. History and English, The College of New Jersey
Thesis title: “Russia Will Triumph over the Whole World”: Ekaterina Pavlovna’s Letters and Nationalist Thought in the Tver Historical Museum • Advisor: Louise McReynolds

I am impressed by the resources available and classes offered in the program, but I am most excited by the prospect of working with and learning from the professors associated with this program. The initial reason for my attraction to Russian history stemmed, as I am sure is the case for many students, from a very good class with a very good professor during my undergraduate career.

Sophia Ashley • Fayetteville, North Carolina ’18
B.A. Psychology, Berry College
Thesis title: Authoritarian Preference and Locus of Control in Russia • Advisor: Jonathan Weiler

I was excited to find a program with both a global and regional component, and especially excited to see that the curriculum includes a study abroad opportunity during the third semester. The region has always fascinated me, and my study abroad experience in Moscow only amplified that fascination.

Leah Valtin-Erwin • Alexandria, Virginia ’18
B.A. East and Central European Studies, Hampshire College
Thesis title: The First Full Shelves: Grocery Shopping and Polish Pursuits of Normality After Communism, 1990-1994 • Advisor: Chad Bryant

I spent a good portion of my childhood in Berlin, where my early interest in the East and West ‘Europes’ began. The complexity of the continent and foreign perceptions of East & Central Europe are mesmerizing. The REEES program offers a focused language program and interesting courses with considerable flexibility and room for specialization.

Hailey Altena • Kalamazoo, Michigan ’17
B.A. History, Calvin College
Thesis title: Wrestling the Fourth Arm of Democracy: How the Orban Regime Undermined Media Independence in Hungary • Advisor: Milada Vachudova

Through two semesters of work and study in Eastern Europe I gained an affection for Eastern Europe, peoples of the region, Communist histories, and complicated politics. I wanted the academic rigor of a UNC Graduate program and I appreciated the REEES concentration as part of the Global Studies program.

Rainier Jaarsma • Amsterdam, The Netherlands ’16
B.A. American Studies, University of Groningen
Thesis title: Conditionality, Compliance, and the Diverging Accession Paths of Macedonia and Serbia • Advisor: Robert Jenkins

Eastern Europe was always of great interest to me, but when I started living in the Balkans in 2011, it really started to fascinate me. The Western-Balkans are a remote part of Europe; a hidden gem no one really knows about. Its turbulent recent history, geopolitical importance and ethnic diversity make it a truly fascinating subject of study. I chose the REEES concentration because it allows me to conjoin my background in American Studies, Political and Cultural Philosophy and my regional expertise on Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The availability of language training in Serbo-Croatian, which is rather rare in the United States, was also a major factor in my choice for UNC.