Alumni Stories

Ben Knox '81

I began with Russian in junior high school, received proficiency for 1st year college Russian, and ultimately majored in it because of my love of the language and the freedom the major provided me as a pre-med from having to take extra science courses.  The perspective on the world that an understanding of Russia confers is considerable.   Like any long term knowledgeable observer of Russia from the West, I am disappointed but not surprised in the changes that have taken place there since I graduated.  In fact, I suppose that a study of Russia leads one to be surprised by nothing that happens there!

It was my hope as an orthopedic spine surgeon to participate in scientific exchange with Russia over the course of my career, but the ongoing corruption and authoritarianism there has inhibited me from doing so.  It is nice to occasionally meet Russians here in the USA and have them tell me my accent and pronunciation are good.

I have fond memories of advanced language classes with Deborah Garretson, FSP at  Leningrad State University where I was dreaming in Russian by the end of the summer, and our Thayer Hall Russian language-only weekly dinners.  No regrets!

Kirby Liu '09

After I graduated, I did a Fulbright Fellowship in Kazakhstan (which I was awarded thanks to my Russian skills). After that, I began a job in China where I focused on transactions between the Former Soviet Union and China, mostly in the commodities sector.

I ultimately realized that finance was not where I wanted to end up with my career, so I applied to architecture school. I am really enjoying my career change and studying Russian constructivist architecture is really interesting., M. Arch Candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Design

Jillian Tetirick '11

After graduation, Jill went on to complete a Master of Arts in Russian Studies from Georgetown University's  Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies. This rewarding program deepened her knowledge of the post-Soviet sphere in addition to building on the Russian language skills she acquired at Dartmouth. Jill now lives in Washington, DC and would be happy to speak with any graduates looking to further their Russian studies education.

Capstone "Russia's Northern Sea Route" with Jill Tetirick, CERES MA Candidate


Kassie Archambault '10

I graduated from Dartmouth in 2010. While at Dartmouth, I went on the LSA+ to St. Petersburg, and volunteered at Kitezh, a children’s community in the Kaluga region of Russia. My experience volunteering at Kitezh led me to pursue a career in teaching and working with children. Immediately upon graduation, I participated in the New York City Teaching Fellow program, where I earned my master’s degree from Hunter College in special education and taught in both middle school and high school settings. In the fall of 2012 I started working at Phillips Academy, a boarding school in Andover, MA, as a Russian Teaching Fellow. I have taught high school students in all levels of our Russian curriculum, from introductory Russian to our advanced 5th year course, reading works by Lermontov and Kaverin with my students (in Russian!). As part of our Russian program, I chaperone our yearly trip to Petrozavodsk, Russia, where our students live with host families for 3 weeks while taking Russian classes. Beginning in the fall of 2014, I work part time as an instructor of Russian, and spend the majority of my time working in our Office of Admission.

Claire Kim '13

I participated in the State Department's Critical Language Scholarship for the summer of 2012 in Vladimir, Russia. Overall, I really enjoyed Vladimir; the people were very hospitable and friendly. The program was definitely challenging; the institute often gave us 4+ hours of homework every day, and made us take a pledge not to speak English while in the program. However, I learned an astounding amount of Russian, and I could see my Russian vocabulary and grammar grow week by week. Moreover, I made some amazing friendships--I was even invited to someone's dacha over the weekend! I would not trade my CLS experience for any other summer, and I highly recommend interested students to apply.
After graduation, I interned for the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea. I also interned for the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in DC. In the fall of 2014, I matriculated at Yale Law School, where I am studying public international law and human rights law.

Ariel Shapiro '13

Since graduating, I have been teaching elementary literacy in Dallas in a bilingual, Spanish-language classroom through Teach for America. I love teaching and especially teaching in a bilingual program. Outside of work, I am coaching lacrosse for a high school girls' team and also started a program at our elementary school.

Sarah Clark '11

After graduation, Sarah moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where she worked as the managing editor of Cityview, a local city magazine. She also co-founded Fare Forward: A Christian Review of Ideas, an online and print magazine for post-college adults interested in the ideas that shape the world around them, that is now in its fourth year. She currently works as the non-fiction Editorial Coordinator at HarperCollins Christian Publishing and lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with her husband Charlie Clark (D'11). It can be hard to find opportunities to practice Russian in Tennessee, but she speaks Russian whenever she finds the chance and still enjoys reading Russian literature and cultural study.

Greg Agron '11

After graduating from Dartmouth, Greg worked in the Electronic Medical Record field for Epic Systems in Madison, Wisconsin as a Program Manager until deciding to attend law school. Greg is currently finishing his second year at UC Davis' King Hall School of Law and is looking forward to practicing after graduation in 2016.

Alumni Story - Justin Varilek '11

After Dartmouth, Justin Varilek worked at the English daily newspaper The Moscow Times, writing about business and tech. From there, he moved into PR, cofounding the communications department for Skoltech, a new graduate university based in Moscow and founded in collaboration with MIT. He then moved to Boston and led PR in the U.S. for a Russian-connected IT company, Acronis.
Currently, he is founding his own company Hack Pack--Airbnb for the news industry. The company is focusing on building journalist communities in Russia, Ukraine and the U.S before spreading to other countries.

Alumni Story - Joshua Schiefelbein '14

I'm currently working as an English language teaching assistant at Gorchakov Memorial School in Pavlovsk, Russia which is located about forty minutes from Saint Petersburg. My main job responsibility is to connect with the students at the school and have them practice their English with me. In addition to this, I help lead lessons when I can as well as help organize different clubs where students can practice their English even more. This includes theatre club, gaming club and preparation for international English exams like PET, TOEFL and IELTS. In my free time, I spend time with my Russian-speaking friends so that way we can practice or English and Russian. I also regularly attend Zenit Saint Petersburg soccer matches and SKA hockey matches with my coworkers.