Present Occupation: Staff Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
“My interest in Russian came as a direct result of an LDS Church mission I served in the Ural Mountains from 1997-99. I didn't know any Russian when I first headed over there, but I instantly fell in love with the language and the culture. When I returned for my junior year at Stanford to resume my physics curriculum, I started taking some Russian language and literature classes on the side before delving deeper and adopting it as an unplanned second major. I was particularly drawn to studying Medieval Rus' and the early twentieth-century Soviet avant-garde. The former was a result of my own religious connection to the country and interest in early Orthodox Christianity. The latter was partly a reflection of my physics background, given the prominent role of science and technology in the arts of that time.
I had a great experience in the Slavic Department: tiny classes with excellent instruction and lots of personal attention from faculty; motivated students from a variety of backgrounds; and, of course, supremely interesting subject matter. There was also a great deal of flexibility and a relatively wide variety of class choices--important given the constraints of a demanding second major.
After Stanford, I went on to get a Ph.D. in Materials Science from MIT, then returned to the Bay Area to join the staff at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. A far cry from the Slavic world, but if anyone strikes up a conversation about the finer points of acmeist poetry or Old Church Slavonic, well, at least now I'll have something intelligent to say.”