The IU Summer Language Workshop Alumni Newsletter | Winter 2016


Alumni News

The Summer Language Workshop prides itself on the diversity of its languages, programming and especially of its students. SWSEEL alumni go on to do remarkable things and, even not all of them have the opportunity to use the skills they learned at the Workshop, many of them remain passionate about foreign languages and cultures and are ambassadors for language and area studies programs like SWSEEL.

In this section of the newsletter we are proud to share the news of our alumni who kindly responded to our invitation to submit updates about their life after SWSEEL. We hope that this will inspire you to think back to your days at SWSEEL and re-connect with us and your fellow students from your summer in Bloomington.


Alumni Updates

Allan Grafman (Russian, 1975) is the CEO of All Media Ventures.  He has published “The Board’s ‘seven year itch’” with Dean Kesner in Directors and Boards (2014). 

Radha Balasubramanian (Russian, 1981) graduated with a Ph.D. in 1987 from the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at Indiana University.  Since 1990 she has been employed at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL).  Recently she was promoted a full Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and awarded the endowed Herold E. Spencer Chair.  Besides being a Professor in Modern Languages Department, she was also appointed from July 2015 as the Director, Global Studies at UNL.

Tamara Jhashi (Russian, 1990) is currently Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Professor of Humanities at Mercy College. She retired from her position as Associate Professor of Art History at Oakland University in 2015, after 18 years of service, during which she served as Assistant and Associate Professor, Associate Provost, and Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  

Andrew Barnes (Russian, 1992) is Associate Professor and Chairperson of Political Science at Kent State University.  He has published “Financial Nationalism and Its International Enablers: The Hungarian Experience” in Review of International Political Economy,  vol. 23, no 3, 2015 and “Three in One: Unpacking the ‘Collapse’ of the Soviet Union” in Problems of Post-Communism, vol. 61, no 5, 2015. 

Edward Herrera (Russian, 1997, 1998, 1998 and 2000; Azerbaijani, 2010). As a means to get some speaking practice in SWSEEL and other languages, Edward Herrera has recently joined some Meetup groups - Russian, Romanian, Portuguese, Italian, French, Polyglots, and will soon join a Farsi and a German group. Edward, Russian '97, '98, '00, Azerbaijani '10 SWSEEL says: "Meetups are a great way to meet fellow language enthusiasts and professionals - passionate people who share your interests, and to get some speaking practice in your languages of interest. I work with many languages daily but let's face it, no one talks like a contract, hospital discharge report or detailed scientific rationale for a clinical trial of a novel investigational medicinal product aiming to be that next blockbuster drug. It takes time to cultivate language skills and language. Meetups are a fun and effortless way to do it for the speaking end. And I'm still hoping to corral that random Kazakh speaker who happens by at one of these gatherings too."

Sarah Burns Gilchrist (Russian, 2002 and 2003) is currently the Research and Instruction Librarian for Education and Visual Arts at Albert S. Cook Library in Townson, MD where she still has opportunities to use the language skills she acquired at SWSEEL. She notes: “I had a chance to use my Russian language training just recently. As one of several Research and Instruction Librarians at Towson University and one of two librarians that speak Russian, I am often asked to help clarify information from the Baltimore Hebrew Institute Collection. This week our cataloguing department shared a 1915 first issue of “Jewish Week” with me and I was excited to see old Cyrillic type, updates on banks and the war, and news. SWSEEL gave me the language and cultural skills needed to help others at Towson University.”

Tyson Sadleir (Georgian, 2006 and 2007; Macedonian, 2008; BCS, 2011; Turkish, 2014). Since last participating in SWSEEL, Tyson Sadleir graduated from the Florida State University College of Law and passed the Washington State bar exam. He is currently working in a practice specializing in criminal defense which is seeking to expand its practice by offering services to the Russian, Turkish, and Bulgarian communities in the greater Seattle area. Reflecting on the role of the Workshop in his career, he notes that he believes the languages he studied at SWSEEL helped him secure his current position with the practice.

Emily Liverman (Russian, 2007) is currently the Assistant Director for Student Services and Graduate Academic Advisor at Indian University’s Russian and East European Institute. In April, 2015 she presented “Examining REEI Networks: Creating community for graduate students” at the NACADA Region 5 conference in Indianapolis, Indiana and published a book review of Proposal That Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals in the June issue of the National Academic Advising Association’s Journal .

Celia Emmelhainz (Kazakh, 2008; Dari, 2011) has started in her position as Anthropology and Qualitative Research Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley. She previously worked as a librarian at Colby College in Maine and at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan.

James Kalwara (Russian, 2009 and 2010). Since participating in the Summer Language Workshop, James Kalwara earned a Master’s in Library Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, attending from January 2013 to August 2014.  During that time, he worked as a Student Employee in the Serials and Acquisitions Department at the Wells Library where he was responsible for processing Slavic language serials as well as serials that used the Cyrillic alphabet (Kazakh, Kirghiz, Tajik). Immediately following graduation, he applied for a cataloging librarian position at Mississippi State University (MSU) and was offered the position in December.  Beginning January 2015, he has worked as Assistant Professor, Monographic Cataloger at MSU. He shares: “[I] firmly attribute reaching this position due to my Russian language skills. While I have yet to work directly on any materials in Russian, my previous work experience with Slavic serials was extremely valuable, which would not have been possible without the foundationally training I received from the SWSEEL program.”  He is also a member of the American Library Association and Mississippi Library Association. 

Rikki Brown (Russian, 2009 and 2011) served as a fellow for the US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange from January to May 2015.  During this time she spent one month in Russia visiting the cities of Petrazavodsk and Tolyatti.  Her working group was Youth and Education, and she developed relations with many organizations in both cities that aimed to better integrate youth into the community and strengthen educational endeavors. She concluded her fellowship with a conference in San Diego in April (coinciding with Student Television Network), as well as a publication on youth, media, and volunteerism (published at:  Additionally, she blogged about her experiences at Currently, Rikki Brown is enrolled in the Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences (MAPSS) at the University of Chicago.

Megan Browndorf (Slovenian, 2009; Russian, 2012) is the Research and Instruction Librarian at Towson University in Maryland.  She recently presented “World War II and Building the Ukrainian Public Library” at the Library History Seminar XIII in Boston.

Katie Hiatt (Russian, 2010) presented “Exploring Increased Archival Access in Ukraine: Contextualizing Greek Catholic Experience of the Gulag,” at the Hoover Institution Summer Archival Workshop on Totalitarian Regimes at Stanford University in July. The presentation was based on dissertation research in Ukraine as well as the Hoover Institution’s microfilm collection.

A. Caitlin Lester (Hungarian, 2011). After completing the workshop, Caitlin Lester took two more years of Hungarian while working on her doctorate in Anthropology and Education Policy Studies at Indiana University. In the spring semester of 2014, she participated in an OVPIA Graduate Student Exchange program with the University of Debrecen. The following year she received a Fulbright US Student Program 2014-2015 grant to conduct her dissertation research on higher education reform and transnational student activism in Budapest. Reflecting on the role of her language training at IU, she notes: “The linguistic and cultural knowledge I gained through these experiences was fundamental in providing me the opportunity to spend nearly all of the last two years in Hungary.” Currently, she is working on her dissertation in Budapest with the REEI Mellon Endowment Dissertation Write Up Fellowship.

Lucas Abromowitz (Russian, 2011). After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Science in Criminology & Criminal Justice from Northern Arizona University in May 2014, Lucas Abramowitz is currently pursuing a Master’s of Art in International Security at the University of Arizona, focusing on Russian and European security issues. In addition to his graduate studies, he also works full time as an Academic Advisor at NAU for Criminology & Criminal Justice, Political Science, and International Affairs. Thinking back to his time at the Workshop, he shares: “Without SWSEEL I would not have had the inspiration to keep pursuing studies in Russian, or study abroad twice in Moscow. Thanks to the SWSEEL faculty and staff I have grown to have a greater appreciation for Russia, its people, and integrating it into my academics.”

Ian Johnson (Russian, 2011) is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Ohio State University. In 2012 he received a FLAS for Russian and spent the summer at the International University in Moscow. After spending much of 2013 in archives in Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom, he spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Moscow thanks to a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship. He completed his dissertation research there while affiliated with the Russian State University for the Humanities. Upon his return to the US, he received an HF Guggenheim Fellowship and then a pre-doctoral fellowship with Yale University's International Security Studies, where he has been working on his dissertation. Ian Johnson will be defending his doctoral dissertation - which explores the secret alliance between the German military and the Soviet Union in the interwar period - in April 2016.

Tamaz Jhashi (Russian, 2011) completed his M.A. in Political Economy at Kings College, London, degree in December 2015.  

Keith Doubt (BCS, 2012). In 2014 Keith Doubt published the book Through the Window: Kinship and Elopement in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which brings an original perspective to folklore of Bosnians at a certain period of time and the differences and similarities of the three main ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through the Window was discussed at a roundtable chaired by Dr. Sabrina Petra Ramet at the 2015 ASEEES convention in November 2015.

Justin Otten (BCS, 2012) has been appointed Director of Global Health Affairs in the School of Public Health at IU Bloomington. During Fall 2015 he also served as Adjunct Lecturer at REEI, where he taught R600, “Proseminar in Russian/East European Area Studies.”

Luke Drabyn (Russian, 2012) was offered a Fulbright Study/Research grant to study human trafficking policy in Kiev, Ukraine for the 2015-16 academic year. He attributes his receipt of the award, in part, to the excellent language skills he gained at SWSEEL: “I wanted to […] let you know how invaluable the SWSEEL 8-week summer program was to me while I was in college. Without that preparation, I wouldn't be in Kiev now, overlooking Independence Square and feeling comfortable speaking with people on the street and reading research materials.”

Craig Laurie (BCS, 2012). Shortly after participating in SWSEEL, Craig Laurie completed a Master’s degree in social work at the University of Michigan. For the last 10 years he has worked in training, program development, and research design for nonprofit organizations and government in Michigan and abroad. In January, he will be heading to Kosovo for 6 months to help establish a brand new Peace Corps program and set up operations and training for Community Development Volunteers who will be arriving in June. He shares: “I am grateful for my experience at Indiana and am excited to be able to put my Serbo-Croatian to use as a community development advisor in Kosovo. Hopefully I will be able to learn some Albanian as well!” Craig Laurie also served as a PCV in Moldova from 2009 to 2011 where he learned Russian and Romanian. 

Shenstone Huang (Russian, 2012 and 2013). After graduating from Swarthmore College with a double major in Chemistry in Economics, Shenstone Huang is starting a career at J.P. Morgan in New York City, where he will be working in the Global Investment Opportunities group.

Liz Lipschultz (Russian, 2012) is an International Services Representative in the IU Office of International Affairs. 

Aryn Morrison (Russian, 2012). In December 2015, Aryn Morrison was awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement ROTC Award, one of the top recognitions for ROTC cadets in the nation. In the time between her participation in the Workshop as an incoming freshman at IU and her receipt of the prestigious award, she completed a 3 months study abroad program in Russia in 2013, during which she studied at the Moscow International University and trained with Slovakian Military in Slovakia in 2015. During her studies at IU, she also interned at Barwis Methods in Michigan and volunteered at the YMCA as a Balance Class instructor for the geriatric population. “SWSEEL set me up for where I am now, best start to college I could've ever chosen,” she shares. “The SWSEEL faculty was so approachable that I have never been afraid to approach and connect with professors throughout college no matter the size of the course. I have done multiple internships with a diverse population, and the ease of conversation that comes with having to study abroad and practice an unfamiliar language made connecting with clients very easy.”

Joseph Daubenmire (Turkish, 2013). After a year in London, Joseph Daubenmire has accepted a new position based out of Germany to work directly with Arab and Farsi refugees. He notes: “I would not have expected my SWSEEL Turkish training to have this level of crossover but it certainly has enabled me to go forward to serve in an extreme multilingual, cross cultural environment. Thank you Indiana University!”

Olivia Bohnhoff (Arabic, 2014) is currently fulfilling a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Mexico.

Matthew Daigle (Russian, 2014 and 2015). After graduating with an MA in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Indiana University in 2015, Matthew Daigle accepted the position of Russian Language Instructor United States Military Academy at West Point. In the fall of 2015 he taught two sections of introductory Russian and is currently the Course Director for Intermediate Russian, teaching 3 sections. He will be leading a Russian Spring Immersion trip to Uzbekistan during spring break in March.

Elizabeth Plantan (Russian, 2014). Since participating in the Workshop, Elizabeth Plantan advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in Government at Cornell University. In the fall 2015 semester, she was a visiting researcher at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow conducting interviews for her dissertation on environmental social movements in Russia and China. During her time in Russia, she was lucky enough to reconnect with SWSEEL's beloved Anna Arkad'evna. During the spring 2016 semester, Elizabeth Plantan will be a visiting student at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China for language study and continued dissertation research. 

Kevin Roth (Uzbek, 2014) was awarded a Ph.D. in Classics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in October 2015. His dissertation was titled "Learning Latin as a Second Language, Using Latin for a Third: a Linguistic and Pedagogical Investigation of Neo-Latin Foreign Language Textbooks." He is currently teaching Latin at the Atlanta Classical Academy.

Maria Trogolo (Kurdish, 2015) earned a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University. She now works on the USAID Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities Project (SCHEP) at the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan. When not speaking in acronyms or lamenting the hiatus of the Felfel Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, she keeps busy making music.

Thalea Stokes (Mongolian, 2015) is currently a doctoral student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago. She presented her paper "Whose Throat-Singing: UNESCO Awarding of Khoomei to as a Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage" as part of a panel on music and nationalism at the Society for Ethnomusicology national conference in Austin, TX.

Geoffrey Durham (Ukrainian, 2015) is currently pursuing his Master's at the Indiana University Russian and East European Institute and writing his MA essay on Ukrainian dissident memoirs. In September, 2015 he received Daniel Armstrong Memorial Research Paper Award for his paper Schrodinger’s Peasants: Social Transformation in Rural Russia, 1861-1914” and was also honored as the 2015 REEI continuing Robert C. Tucker and Stephen F. Cohen fellow. Reflecting on the role of the Workshop in his academic career at IU, he notes: “Needless to say I wouldn't be able to undertake a project [on the Ukrainian dissidents] without having studied Ukrainian at SWSEEL and afterwards through independent readings courses.” After graduation Geoff Durham intends to pursue a Ph.D. in History.



Submit your news and photos!

We invite you to share any news about your professional and academic achievements as well as any updates about the jobs, degrees, commendations and awards you have received after SWSEEL. Please send your submissions to the newsletter editor Olga Bueva ( We look forward to news!


Alumni Publications

Non-fiction books

Radha Balasubramanian (Russian, 1981)


The Influence of India on Leo Tolstoy and Tolstoy's Influence on India: A Study of Reciprocal Receptions
By Radha Balasubramanian
The Edwin Mellen Press, 2013

Tolstoy's fictional works reflect a connection with Indian religious texts even before he had actually read them. His quest to read and assimilate ancient Hindu writing earned Tolstoy great respect- even reverence – from Gandhi and other Indian intellectuals such that Tolstoy took his place as a pre-eminent writer, thinker, and sage in India. Yet, much remained unexplored in regard to Tolstoy's relationship with India and this book addresses the gaps in that research.



The Poetics of Korolenko's Fiction
By Radha Balasubramanian
Peter Lang, Inc., New York, 1997

Vladimir Galaktionovich Korolenko (1853-1921) reigned high in popularity in the pre-revolutionary Russian as a writer of short fiction until his contemporary, Anton Checkhov, out-ranked him in the 1880s. This study examines Korolenko's fiction and highlights his contribution to short story writing. His talents synchronized descriptions of nature, landscape and surroundings with mood and action. He uncovered the guiding moral strength in heroes, notwithstanding their social standing. Although Korolenko continued classic Russian literary traditions, he was an original thinker motivated to write by his own compassion and search for justice for those who were defenseless.

Kiernan end


Brendan Kiernan (Russian, XXXX)

The End of Soviet Politics: Elections, Legislatures, and the Demise of the Communist Party
By Brendan Kiernan
Westview Pr, 1993

The author examines the intent and the unexpected side-effects of Gorbachev's policy of "demokratizatsiia" on the Soviet political system. His analysis traces the emergence of competitive, multiparty politics, drawing from interviews and primary materials collected during 15 months (1988-1990) in the Soviet Union.


Literary Translations by Alumni



Moscow and Muscovites
By Vladimir Gilyarovsky
Translated by Brendan Kiernan
Russian Information Services, 2013

Winner of the prestigious 2015 Award for Best Translation into English by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages.

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. This award-winning translation makes the book available to English language readers for the first time.

"We are very excited about this award," said Publisher Paul E. Richardson. "I have dreamed of bringing this book into English for 25 years. It is a beloved classic in Russia, yet it had never been translated – perhaps because it was so difficult. Brendan shared our vision of the importance of the project, and Moscow's Institute of Literary Translation provided generous grant support. Brendan dug deep into the historical, cultural, and linguistic minutia of the work and produced not just a faithful translation, but a fine work of literature. And, given what it means to be a journalist in Russia today, it is great to see the grandfather of Russian journalism get some recognition."

Gilyarovsky’s book documents pre-Soviet life in the Russian capital like no work before or since. This first-ever English translation includes dozens of historical photos, poems in the original Russian, an index, and maps.

Submit your publications!

We would be glad to share your publications with our readers. If you would like us to include your publications, please send the following information to Olga Bueva (

  • Your name/language(s) studied/ year(s) attended
  • Publication title
  • Author(s)/editor(s)/ translator(s) information
  • Publisher/publication date
  • Short description (approximately 100 words)
  • Book cover jpeg (if available/applicable)

We look forward to your submissions!

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The IU Summer Language Workshop

Ariann Stern-Gottschalk, Ph.D.

Assistant Director/Editor
Olga Bueva