Jacob Aehl

Majors: History, Russian

Jerry Anders

Majors: Computer Sciences, Russian

My first desire to study Russian came while sitting in my high school Spanish class. I was bored and tried to think of something to do, when it occurred to me: ‘I’m half Russian. I should teach myself Russian!’ You wouldn't believe how mad a Spanish teacher gets when she enters her classroom and Russian is written on the board. If you can't tell, though, that didn't stop me.

Ryan Berthiaume

Major: Chemical Engineering

I started studying Russian during my free time in high school because I found the alphabet interesting. I am excited to have the opportunity to continue learning and improving my Russian with the awesome opportunities that the Russian Flagship Program provides.

Laura Colosky

Major: Psychology

Samantha Eckmann

Major: Political Science

Megan Feeley

Major: Undecided

Sam Frerichs

Major: Russian

Libby Gartland

Major: Communication Arts, Russian

By the time I finished college, I wanted to be fluent in a language. I wasn't sure which language it would be; all I knew was that I wanted to learn a unique language that would challenge me. I decided to learn Russian after watching the Olympic Games in Sochi. At the beginning of the opening ceremony, they played a video of a young girl reciting the Russian alphabet. After each letter, she would name a famous Russian cultural figure or a place located in Russia. I was absolutely mesmerized by this video. I had never realized how beautiful the Russian language was and how extremely different it was from English. When the video was over, I told my mom that I wanted to study Russian in college. I think this was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Nora Herzog

Majors: Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, Microbiology

Konnor Heyde

Major: Political Science

Yasha Hoffman

Majors: Music, Russian

Alexander Idarraga

Majors: Russian

Russian Flagship has brought me many new opportunities, but one of the standouts was this past summer that I spent in St. Petersburg. My favorite memory was a 6:30 am row one morning. Not only was the water completely perfect, but the rowers and the boat were the best in their classes. We rowed past the old Kremlin and historic cathedrals and even a bit outside the city into the river marshes... it was just everything that I loved – Russian culture, camaraderie, rowing – all in one spot.

Emma Johnson

Major: Russian

Devin Johnson

Majors: Computer Sciences, Linguistics

Ashlyn King

Majors: International Business, Marketing, Russian

Kennedy Lee

Major: Undecided

Tiara Luckiesh

Majors: International Studies, Russian, Spanish
I'm currently a sophomore studying Russian and Spanish Language at UW-Madison. I went to high school in Campbellsport, Wisconsin, but originally I'm from Slinger. I first became interested in Russian when I took the First-Year Interest Group during my freshman year. The language and culture interested me so much that I decided to continue studying it and joined the Russian Flagship Program in the spring semester of my freshman year. Being part of the Russian Flagship Program has been an amazing experience so far and I'm excited for the year ahead!

Justin Magoon

Major: Undecided

Will Maher

Major: Undecided

Henry Meger

Major: Spanish

Suzy Mihalyi

Major: Geological Engineering, Geology and Geophysics

Geological engineering and Russian may seem like a counterintuitive pair, but with geology, the earth is your office, and it's a dream of mine to work internationally someday. I first started learning Russian on a NSLI-Y program in Chisinau, Moldova, where I quickly became enamored with the Russian language and culture. I was unsure of the role that learning Russian would play in my college years, but when I heard about the Russian Flagship Program, I knew that it was perfect for me. Russian Flagship provides me with an avenue to advance my Russian language skills alongside my engineering studies, and I couldn't be more excited to see what is in store for me as a Russian Flagship student!

Margot Miller

Major: Undecided

Henry Misa

Major: Russian

My proudest moment in Russian Flagship was my first semester when I just took all the opportunities that I could to jumpstart the long process of language acquisition.

Anna Nehyba

Major: International Studies

Julian Newman

Majors: English, Russian

Nicholas North

Major: Undecided

Jacob Pflughoeft

Major: Undecided

Ariela Rivkin

Majors: Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, Russian

My Russian language classes are my favorite part of the day. I grew up in a small community in New Jersey, so, as you can imagine, coming to a school of over 40,000 students was overwhelming, to say the least. Finding a group of students, all passionate about and committed to a meaningful understanding of Russian language and culture, was a big part of making me feel at home here in Madison. My peers in my Russian classes have become my friends, and the Russian Flagship Program has become my home away from home.

Lucas Rogers

Major: Nuclear Engineering

Savanna Rutas

Majors: International Studies, Russian
I began studying Russian as a junior in high school. I enjoyed my previous Spanish and German ​language ​studies, and was looking to learn another language. My paternal great-grandparents emigrated from Russia, so I decided to revert to my heritage and learn Russian. Ever since then​ ​I have been in love with Russian​. My favorite part is the Cyrillic alphabet​;​ I feel as if I am writing in code! In the future, I envision Russian to play a large role in my life (in my career and living situation). The Russian Flagship Program seem​s​ like the most logical path for my future aspirations: it will prepare me to not only be proficient in the Russian language, but also in its history and culture. Having just started university, I am already living in the Russian house (Русский дом) and attending weekly Flagship tutoring sessions, tea-time socials, and courses in Russian ​language and music. 

Sterling Sauter

Major: Undecided

Alyssa Scoville

Major: International Studies

Yuka Shiotani

Majors: History, International Studies, Russian

Lev Simmons

Majors: Communication Arts, Russian

Sara Smazal

Major: Russian

Brendan Smith

Major: Genetics

Rylan Smolik

Major: Undecided

Alex Steiner

Major: International Studies, Russian

I've always been interested in Russia and Eastern Europe because my dad's family were Russian-speaking Ukrainian Jews who considered themselves to be Russian. Becoming proficient in a critical language was one of my goals when I entered college, and I had just started studying Russian when the Euromaidan protests and subsequent crises in Ukraine began to unfold. That's when I became really interested in the complexities surrounding nationality, politics, and history in Ukraine and Russia. I'm really grateful for the opportunities that the Russian Flagship Program has given me through language acquisition and cross-cultural familiarity. Every day I learn how to express my ideas more vividly; I think that's a beautiful thing.

Vera Swanson

Major: Environmental Sciences, Russian

As a freshman registering for my first fall classes, little did I know how my enrollment in introductory Russian would set the precedent for terrific years of language learning, both on campus and afar. The intimate class sizes and wealth of opportunities to spend time with my classmates and instructors make the Russian Flagship Program at UW-Madison truly remarkable. Everyone cares about creating a welcoming environment for learning, friendships, and good conversation. All it takes is a community, and ours is one to be proud of.

Liam Tomson-Moylan

Major: Undecided

Paul Urbanski

Major: Undecided

Emma Voss

Majors: Accounting, International Business

I will never forget my first day of Russian class and not knowing how to say anything other than да and нет. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous, but I worked hard and since then I have completed 5 semesters of Russian, joined Russian Flagship, and am planning on studying abroad over the summer. The extra language practice through the Russian Flagship Program is helping me speak more confidently, which will help me in class, studying abroad, and eventually in the professional community. It’s amazing to see how much my Russian skills have improved in such a short period of time.

Kate Wells

Major: Undecided

Kendall Werneiwski

Majors: Political Science, Russian

Since coming to campus, I have made some of my best friends through my Russian classes and the Russian Flagship Program. The small class sizes and in-class group work make it easy to meet new people who all share a common interest and excitement in learning Russian. In addition, the Russian Flagship Program has introduced me to even more like-minded individuals that make the campus feel more connected and learning Russian fun.

Chris Wilson

Majors: Russian
I have always been interested in foreign language, from attending Spanish immersion school to teaching myself Portuguese, along with a smattering of other languages. I knew I wanted to study abroad in high school, and applied to the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) scholarship program to study a critical language in-country for one year. I pretty much randomly ranked Russian as my first choice - and I'm so glad I did! The life-changing year I spent in Russia made me realize that I had to keep pursuing this language when I returned to the US. I'd heard about the Russian Flagship Program at UW-Madison during my NSLI-Y orientation, and it seemed like a perfect way for me to stay involved in Russian during college. I look forward to my next few years in this program!

Max Wilson

Major: International Studies, Russian

The UW-Madison Russian Flagship is a collaborative initiative of the UW-Madison Department of Slavic Languages and Literature  and the Language Institute, with the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, and the Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition
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