Our Seniors

Marija Cyvas

Marija Cyvas

Marija comes from the west suburbs of Chicago and is a double major in Sociology and Russian Studies. She is a member of the volleyball team, Wooster Catholic, the Sociology/Anthropology club, has several on-campus jobs and babysits a lot. Marija loves to have a good discussion or life chat with friends over a cup of coffee, as well as traveling, spending time with her family, and being outside, especially when she can catch an awesome sunrise or sunset!

Marija’s Independent Study explores the different conceptions of ethnic/national identity and attitudes toward Russia held by various immigrant waves and generations of Lithuanians in America. She is especially interested in what keeps each generation of Lithuanians united, despite being far from their native country. In short: "What does being Lithuanian in America mean and what does Russia have to do with it?" Her project is advised by Professors Fitz Gibbon (Sociology) and Furman (Russian Studies).

Gillian Gregory

Gillian Gregory

Gillian is a Russian Studies and Mathematics double major from Northern Virginia. She first became interested in Russian after reading Russian folktales, such as "The Magic Swan Geese" and "Vasilisa the Beautiful." This interest inspired Gillian's Junior Independent Study topic, which was titled "The Survival of Russian Paganism in Christian Tradition: Dvoeverie in the folk legend 'Egoriy the Brave.'" She spent the summer before her junior year at the Davis School of Russian at Middlebury College where she immersed herself in Russian language and culture. Gillian has just recently returned from her semester abroad in Scotland where she studied Mathematics and Gaelic Language at the University of Edinburgh. She also spent some of her time abroad traveling throughout Europe, visiting places like the Orkney Islands, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, and Poland.

For her Senior Independent Study, Gillian will be researching the mathematical formulas behind the launch of Sputnik 1, as well as examining the impact Sputnik 1's launch had on Soviet and American societies through newspaper articles and popular propaganda under the advisement of Dr. Jennifer Bowen (Mathematics) and Dr. Michael Furman (Russian Studies). Gillian has been a member of the Russian House for three years. After graduating from Wooster, Gillian plans to attend graduate school abroad.

Claire Russ

Claire Russ

Claire is from Buffalo, New York. She is a double major in Global and International Studies (concentration in History) and Russian Studies. On-campus Claire is a member of the field hockey team, and she enjoys watching Netflix, reading about Russian history, and traveling. She got interested in Russian after taking Russian 101, and finds Russian history incredibly interesting. For her learning the language is a rewarding challenge.

Claire’s combined Independent Study examines Russian women. In particular she is looking at the different aspects of life directly involved with Russian women. One such aspect is a recent law regarding domestic violence, which she will translate as a part of her project.

Erin Tupman

Erin Tupman

Erin is from central Indiana. She got interested in Russian through vocal and orchestral music by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and others. Since beginning her studies as a first-year in 2015, she has taken 11 semesters of Russian: 6 at Wooster, 2 at Indiana University’s SWSEEL summer program, 1 at Irkutsk State University (Russia), and 2 at Middlebury’s Davis School of Russian in Vermont. In the summer after her freshman year, Erin studied abroad in Saint Petersburg with the CIEE program to study political art. During the fall semester of her junior year, she went to the Siberian city of Irkutsk with Middlebury Schools Abroad. There she interned at the Aleksandr Vampilov Cultural Center and conducted research for her Junior Independent Study: “The Psychological Portraiture of Aleksandr Vampilov: An Examination of Characterization in Last Summer in Chulimsk.” Erin was awarded Copeland Funding to return to Irkutsk for four weeks in the summer of 2018 and research further for her Senior Independent Study: “Aleksandr Vampilov: A Postmodern Pushkin” advised by Dr. Michael Furman.

On-campus Erin performs with Wooster’s Scot Band and Pipe Band, lives in the Russian House, and is an active participant in Russian events. In her free time, she learns to play Irish and Russian folk instruments, builds her Russian vocabulary, draws, takes long walks, and plays with dogs. After graduation, she plans to continue her research and pursue a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures.