Director of Nationally Competitive Awards
Assistant Dean, Honors College
Director of Russian Program, Modern Languages and Literatures
Office website: https://honors.utsa.edu/onca/
National Awards Advising: please fill out this intake form.
Languages: English, русский язык
I work with students throughout their undergraduate and graduate university careers, advising them on how to apply to nationally competitive awards and develop as strong candidates. Some of the awards I advise students toward are the Gilman Scholarship for Study Abroad, the Critical Language Scholarship, the Goldwater Scholarship for students doing research in STEM, and the Truman Scholarship for students pursuing careers in public service. I also work with students applying to awards that fund graduate school such as the Fulbright Student Program, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and the Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes scholarships.
In addition to working with students on national awards, I also coordinate the Honors 101 online experience, where students research experiences to pursue outside of the classroom. Outside of the Honors College, I direct the Russian program in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and teach two courses per semester in Russian language and culture.
I've lived across the United States, growing up in California, spending my high school years in Wisconsin, and attending college in New York. Moving around the US has taught me the most about embracing change and being adaptable. In college, I started out as an overly ambitious pre-med student, majoring in Biology. Having completed my pre-med requirements in biology and chemistry, I decided to explore languages and literature. After studying abroad in Russia, I decided to leave behind a career in the health professions. I switched my major to Russian Language and after graduation, took the Trans-Siberian Railway to Eastern Russia, where I volunteered with an ecotourism and education non-profit organization. Returning to the US, I attended graduate school and received a Ph.D. in Russian Literature and Culture from the University of Pittsburgh. Before coming to the UTSA, I directed the Office of Study Abroad at St. Mary’s University and taught Russian language and literature at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
I publish on topics in Russian literature, culture and new media. I also serve as the lead editor of the academic journal Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media, which features professors, graduate students, and non academics from all over the world writing about the impact of the internet and digital technology on politics, economics, society, culture and the arts in Russia, Eurasia and Central Europe.
In college, I was a student athlete on my university's Squash team, which meant dedicating a significant portion of my student life to training, proper nutrition, and time management to allow for weekly tournaments in which we traveled across the East Coast. Since college, I've adopted new hobbies of backpacking, trekking, and bikepacking, which involve multi-day self-supported trips across trails, either by foot or bike. These trips allow me to escape work and disconnect for a bit, but also understand my place in the natural world and personally examine my impact on the environment. On each trip, we follow principles to leave no trace, pack in/pack out everything you bring, and to appreciate and respect our surroundings. Past trips of mine include hiking the distance of the GR20 trail in Corsica (120 miles in 18 days), hiking across portions of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and Maine, and biking from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. (309 miles in 5 days).
My favorite thing about working in the Honors College is working with students to research opportunities, be open to new possibilities, and to build up the courage and resilience to apply for them.