Sophia Ashley ’18
Q: Where did you study as an undergraduate? What was your major(s)?
Berry College in Rome, GA. Psychology major, International Studies minor.
Q: What do you like about the UNC graduate program in Russian and East European Studies?
It’s the only program of its kind in the Southeast. 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.
Q: Why did you choose to specialize in this region of the globe?
The region has always fascinated me, and my study abroad experience in Moscow only amplified that fascination. As a Pickering fellow, I will be working in the Foreign Service overseas upon graduation. My intention is to apply this regional focus to a career as a diplomat in the Russian, Eurasian, or Eastern European region.
Q: Do you have work and/or study experience in the region?
Study abroad, yes. I spent the last summer of my undergraduate career in Moscow studying Russian.
Q: What are your research interests?
I am interested in the relations between Russia and other former Soviet states today, particularly in what informs Moscow’s foreign policy toward its neighbors, and vice versa.
Q: What would you like to do after you graduate?
Make a difference.
Q: What are your hobbies? What do you like doing in your free time?
My passion is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (and some Muay Thai). I’ve been training for around 3 years, and I spend most of my free time on the mats.
For me, it’s a picture of the Moscow metro. Even riding the DC metro (VERY different) makes me nostalgic for the beautiful metro that I rode every day in Moscow and have so many memories of. If I had to pick a second favorite reminder, it would be a picture of the delicious shuarma sold at street stands in Moscow and all over the region.