• Home
  • Alumni
  • Success Stories

Alumni Success Stories

The alumni featured on this page have let us know about how they are using their knowledge of Slavic languages and cultures in their current professional lives.  If you have a new position that brings you into contact with the languages and cultures that you studied at KU, please let us know by using the "Update us" feature on this website.  We will be happy to add you to this profile page.

Cassandra (Payton) Divjak

BA Slavic Languages and Literatures 2001

Has worked and traveled extensively in Russia, Ukraine, and in Eastern Europe in various capacities for American Councils

Jeb Adams

Certified English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructor and Founder, Adams Education

Gabriel Al-Salem

BA Russian, 1989

Regional Director for Central Asia of the European Bank for Regional Development's Business Advisory Services Programme.

History Professor, Calvin College

John Bidwell

BA Slavic Languages and Literatures 2002

Captain, United States Marine Corps, Amphibious Assault Officer; Currently (2007) on leave from service, working towards magisterij (master's degree) in Political Science, University of Sarajevo

Kale Bruner

Cultural Resource Specialist, Pacific Legacy Inc.

Elaine Fitzback Davies

Working towards PhD in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales; Dissertation topic: Why are Marian icons used for protection?

Jon Giullian

MA, Slavic Languages and Literatures 1997

Librarian for Slavic and Eurasian Studies, KU Libraries

Kurt Harper

BA Slavic Languages and Literature 1976; Associate Degree Slavic and Soviet Area Studies; Juris Doctor 1979 (KU)

Partner in the law firm Sherwood & Harper, Wichita

Geoffrey Husic

MA Slavic Languages and Literature 1987

Foreign-language librarian: Bibliographer for the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Central Asia in the Slavic and Eurasian Studies Department, KU Libraries

Adrienne Landry

BA Slavic Languages and Literature and History 2003

Outreach Coordinator in the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at KU

Lyle McMillan

BA Slavic Languages and Literature 2004

Field Product Specialist, AMS Products, John Deere Ukraine Ltd

Marc Nordberg

Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

Laura Oldanie

Fascell Fellow/Public Affairs Assistant at the US Embassy, Warsaw, Poland

David Roghair

Officer in the Overseas Studies Program, Stanford University, helping with finance and personnel issues for 10 programs in 9 countries.

Mark Scott

BA Slavic Languages and Literature, SEES, History 1970; MA SEES 1976; MA History 1979; PhD History 1980

University professor, government civil servant (federal, state, and local), businessman (commercial real estate development), public relations, professional writer (books, translations, articles)

Howard Solomon

PhD Slavic Languages and Literature 1997, Russian literature

Diplomat with the U.S. Department of State (Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania)

Malgorzata Stamm

MA Slavic Languages and Literatures 1999

Program assistant in the Slavic Department, KU Libraries

BA Slavic Languages and Literatures 1997; MA of Russian Area Studies in 1999, Georgetown University

Program Analyst, American International Health Alliance, Washington, DC


Laura Wilhelm

PhD Slavic Languages and Literature 1994

Instructor, advanced ESL for Russian and other emigrants at LA ORT

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


Give to Slavic - Click here to learn more

Upcoming Events

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
100% of graduate students in the Slavic program had funding in academic year 2012-13
KU's Libraries house over 500,000 volumes of Slavic books and electronic editions
Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad