Laura Oldanie

Primary office:


Laura Oldanie, her friend Jola Glos, and Laura's father. The picture was taken in Rogalow, Poland in front of an old school house that was bought by Laura's friends which they are turning into an analog recording studio on the first floor and living quarters on the second story.

Current position:
Fascell Fellow/Public Affairs Assistant at the US Embassy in Warsaw, Poland
Polish and Spanish
Countries lived in:
Poland and Spain
Favorite place:
Laura has visited so many places that she likes that she cannot decide on a favorit. She is now planning to backpack from Warsaw to Dubrovnik, Croatia and will explore some of the wineries of Moravia in the Czech Republic, in Slovenia and along the Croation coastline.
Favorite cultural fact:
One thing Laura likes about Poland is that so many people own a dzialka. This can be something as simple as a small plot of land at the outskirts of town with nothing more on it than a water spigot where the owner grows flowers, fruits and vegetables. Or it can be a few acres of land and a nice cottage outside of the city limits. She points out that a dzialka is usually not too far away and people can frequently and easily go relax and be in touch with nature for a few hours or weeks at a time and come back to town with fresh produce that can be consumed immediately or canned to last them through the winter.
Travelling, reading, going to the cinema, cooking, practicing my Polish and my Spanish, and anything that allows me to learn more about other cultures.
Favorite books:
Anything by Marek Hlasko. Also the autobiographical book Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman, that details his experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto, is a good read. This novel is the basis for Roman Polanski's latest film, that just received the Palme d'Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
Read Laura's story in the US Embassy Warsaw feature "Peace Corps at 50: Stories from Poland."

In Memoriam

Reed Rankin ✝ 12/29/2019

The faculty and students in the Department Slavic Languages and Literatures are deeply saddened that one our undergraduate majors, Reed Rankin, passed away last week (12/29) in Fredonia, Kansas. Reed was a beloved student in the department and is fondly remembered by his peers and professors. He began studying Russian as a Freshman and stayed with a challenging but rewarding language for three and a half years, tackling introductory, intermediate, advanced levels, and even continuing his studies into his senior year with Russian for the Professions. We know that he was planning further study in Moscow in the next academic year, prior to matriculation at KU School of Law.

A thoughtful student, Reed often contributed insight and posed challenging questions in class. ​​ Reed’s dedication to the study of Russian language, culture, and history was tremendous and fueled by infectious curiosity. He showed great acumen in translating from Russian into English, always finding English-language equivalents for Russian cultural concepts through skillful use of one-liners from American films. We also treasured his ability to speak in fluid Russian about rural, farm life in Kansas, and the effects that natural phenomena, like floods, on a farming community. He was a pleasure to know and teach, and will be remembered for his kind and polite demeanor. Our thoughts are with Reed’s family at this time


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