Laura Wilhelm

Primary office:


PhD SLL 1994

The Fate of the Fable in Modern Russian Literature. Defended 1994 (Chair: Joseph L. Conrad). Instructor, advanced ESL for Russian and other emigrants at LA ORT; private language tutor, inter-cultural consultant. She currently works for the City of West Hollywood with Russian and Ukrainian immigrants. She was named Employee of the Quarter for January-March 1997 and in July 1999 the City Council gave her a commendation in recognition of her work with the emigre community and the organizations Women for Women (centered upon relief efforts in former Yugoslavia) and SERRV International. She is now recording secretary for the Russian Advisory Board of West Hollywood Municipal Employees, where she has been employed since 1996. She has recently published "Pornography and the Politics of Oppression in Russian Aesopian Tradition" in Eros and Pornography in Russian Literature (Moscow: Ladomir, 1999). Her husband, Chris, is working towards his Ph.D. at UCLA Indo-European Studies program. (12/2001)

Career: Founder/Principal at LauraWil Intercultural, a full-spectrum business development company that breaks barriers to success for speakers of English and Russian. Current clients include Dvorsky College Preparatory School and United Independent Taxi. Columnist for WEHONEWS.COM (“Global Lessons in Good Citizenship”). Member of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Advisor to the Professional Business Network. Candidate for Board of Directors for the Los Angeles-St. Petersburg Sister City Committee. Recent listings in Cambridge WHO'S WHO among Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs and USA Honor Society.

Languages: Attic Greek, Croatian, English, French, Italian, Old Church Slavic, Russian.

Countries lived: USA—have visited Canada, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Russia, and Scotland for business and pleasure.

Favorite place: All of the above!

Favorite food: California Continental

Favorite drink: Anything with ice

Favorite Saying: Fortes fortuna adiuvat (“Fortune favors the bold”—ancient Latin proverb)

Favorite book: Difficult to choose, but if I had to: Irving Stone's biography of Michelangelo, The Agony and the Ecstasy has become a personal hero tale

Hobbies: All things Shakespeare, architecture, athletics, beach bumming, concerts, cruises, Disneyland, domestic and foreign travel, exploring LA, fashion, interior design, Intenet surfing, language study, mentoring, Metro hopping, minimalist gourmet cooking, movies, museums, restaurant dining, Russian ballet and opera, spa treatments, Universal Studios, voracious reading, writing.

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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KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies program is one of only 12 federally-funded national resource centers in the US
Only doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures between the Mississippi and the West Coast
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Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad