Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Programs), Faculty of Arts Associate Professor, German and Russian Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada)
Few people can say that their dissertation was an utter joy to write. I can. Actually, my entire experience in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at USC was extremely positive and has prepared me well for my career in academia. I came to USC in 1996, after working for two years for an NGO in Moscow. I selected USC because they offered an interdisciplinary approach to their PhD – different from some programs that demand competency in a second or third Slavic language. Instead of this, I studied German philosophy with Dr Dallas Willard and took several semesters of German language courses. As a result, my secondary area of specialty was the influence of German philosophy on Russian thought. After two years of course work, I began my dissertation under the supervision of Drs Alexander Zholkovsky and Thomas Seifrid. Both were very supportive of my research ideas and allowed me the freedom to explore these interests. USC also provided me with a dissertation fellowship that facilitated my research work in archives in England and Russia. Because of these opportunities and the strong support I received from the entire department, I successfully defended my dissertation in 2002. That same year, I took a tenure-track position at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The position was quite specific – they were looking for a scholar who could bridge the two sections of their Department of German and Russia. My secondary area of specialty fit their needs and certainly was one of the main reasons that I was selected. In 2007, I was promoted to Associate Professor and also selected as Associate Dean of Arts (Research and Graduate Programs). Looking back now, I credit the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures for much of my success. It was due to their support and guidance that I was given the opportunity to succeed and for this, I thank them!