Our Graduates receive competitive national grants, such as Fulbright-Teaching and Flagship; they go on to work in journalism, film industry, international banking and the government; they specialize in international law and nuclear non-proliferation, and pursue graduate degrees in Russian History, Politics, Slavic Studies, and Comparative Literature among other exciting career paths. Here are some of our Alums’ exciting stories!
While at Colby Emma was a double major in Geology and Russian, an active member of Colby’s QuestBridge Chapter, and also competed on the Track and Field team. She studied abroad for her third fall semester in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and during COVID lockdown moved back home to the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Geotechnical Engineering at University of California Berkeley.
While at Colby, Andrew was a double major in History and Russian and volunteered as a mentor for Colby Cares About Kids. Sophomore year he studied abroad in St. Petersburg during Jan Plan and during his junior year he spent the fall at the University of Edinburgh and the spring semester in Irkutsk at the Middlebury College School in Russia. Following graduation, Andrew entered the Navy where he qualified as a Russian linguist on the Defense Language Proficiency Test. Despite sustaining an injury during training, he is intent on continuing to find ways to serve in the government either on active duty or as a civilian.
At Colby Ben majored in Russian and Global Studies; he also served as an SAT-tutor for local Waterville high school students and as a teaching assistant for a Russian Cinema course. Notably, he completed study abroad and internship programs in Russia freshman, sophomore, and junior year – from St. Petersburg to Irkutsk. Ben moved to Israel after graduation, where he worked on a kibbutz and completed service of two years in the Israel Defense Forces, serving in the International Cooperation Unit in an operational capacity with a neighboring country. Ben participated in declassified operations such as the evacuation of White Helmets civil defense volunteers from Syria; he received decorations for operational service, volunteered to teach English and Hebrew to Israeli Bedouin schoolchildren, and was discharged at the rank of Sergeant. Ben is currently enrolled in New York University School of Law, where he specializes in transactional law. Looking ahead 2023, he will join Davis Polk & Wardwell as a Summer Associate. Ultimately, Ben hopes to practice corporate law, in a potentially international capacity.
While at Colby, Michael was a double major in Russian and History, served as President and Vice President of the Student Government Association, sat on the Board of Trustees as a student representative, and was a member of the varsity Men’s Basketball Team. During his first year after graduating, he worked for the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald as an Executive Department Analyst and as a Business Development Apprentice at Salesforce. In the fall of 2017, Michael entered a one-year master’s program at the University of Oxford to study Russian and Eastern European Studies. His studies focused on contemporary Russian, Soviet, and Eastern European history, international relations, economics, politics, and culture as well as advanced language classes. In Spring 2018 Michael was awarded a MSc degree writing his thesis on “Russian Economic Re-Orientation: How Russia Is Turning East.”
While at Colby Caitlin was a double major in Russian and Global Studies, a member of the Track and Field team, and a mentor for Colby Cares About Kids (CCAK). After graduation, Caitlin moved to Santa Barbara, California to take a job as an Internal Communications Specialist at Sonos, Inc. In her role there, Caitlin focused on ensuring consistent and relevant company communications for employees around the globe. After 18 months at Sonos, Caitlin will be leaving to pursue a Masters Degree in Security Studies in the Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where she plans to continue her study of both Russian Language and Russian Politics & Security Issues.
While at Colby, Quinn was a double major in Russian and Economics with a minor in Studio Art. He was a mentor as part of the Colby Cares About Kids (CCAK) program and served as co-president of the Pulver Art Committee. Quinn studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia during his junior year and later completed an internship at the Moscow State University Faculty of Journalism during January of his senior year. After graduation, Quinn pursued a position as a data analyst in Washington, DC where he worked on housing discrimination cases. Beginning in the fall of 2017, Quinn will be heading to Seattle, Washington to pursue a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Washington, where he will be studying social and welfare policy. While Quinn does not use as much Russian as he’d like, he looks forward to continuing to connect with Russian speakers and communities in his new locale!
Alina Nakos graduated from Colby in 2013 and moved to Tel Aviv, Israel where she obtained her M.A. in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Tel Aviv University. She later relocated to Madrid, Spain where she taught English and social studies to secondary school students. Recently, she has decided to pivot away from a career in education and toward the field of policy. In August 2018, she completed a dual-degree M.Sc in Public Policy and Human Development with a concentration in Social Protection Policy from the United Nations University in Maastricht, Netherlands, having written her thesis on restorative justice for juvenile offenders in the former Yugoslavia.
While at Colby, she was a double major in Russian and sociology and volunteered for Hardy Girls as a muse for local elementary and middle school girls. After a year of study abroad on the Colby in Saint Petersburg program, Jayeon decided to continue her studies abroad by pursuing a double degree masters program at University College London and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. After returning to the United States, Jayeon has begun a career as a political and travel risk analyst at Riskline ApS, an international consulting firm in the travel security sector.
Mike Whalen’12 studied Biology, Russian Culture, and Global Studies at Colby. He is currently a PhD student researching the response of northern hardwood forests in the Adirondacks to historic acid rain and beech bark disease. In addition to his PhD study at SUNY-ESF, he is enrolled in a dual professional Masters in public administration and international relations program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. After Colby he worked as an island supervisor at Project Puffin, an intern in the US house of reps, a field manager for a study of sea level rise impacts on coastal plant and avian communities with UConn, and in business development for a real estate investment finance firm. He likes research, but also wants to be able to write both about ecology and international relations/security. Or maybe he will try to work in government or for the UN… The main goal is to make a difference, and have an intellectually rigorous job with changing subject matter.
After graduating from Colby in 2011, Kevin has remained engaged with literature and languages. He spent a semester helping teach classes on English and American culture in Kotlas, Russia as well as a year as a language instructor in Zaporhozhia, Ukraine. Eventually, Kevin decided to return to academia. He completed a PhD in Comparative Literature at Emory University in 2018, and now teaches in the Department of English and World Languages at Augusta University (in Georgia). Even though the teaching load is heavy, he still loves teaching, reading, and writing. He remains really interested in Russian topics, and has published articles related to Maxim Gorky and Isaac Babel. (He recalls reading Gorky’s Lower Depths and Babel’s Red Cavalry during his freshman year at Colby!). While he publishes mostly on non-Russian topics, he dreams of publishing work on Viktor Shklovsky and Andrei Platonov, reporting: “I’ve now been thinking and writing about both figures for almost six years.”
Studying under Shelia McCarthy, Mike spent a year as a student in Vladimir on an exchange program called the American Collegiate Consortium. He later worked for the consortium in Moscow, recruiting and vetting students to come study in the United States. Shifting into journalism. Mike spent a year working in Vladivostok, then later spent six years in Moscow as a correspondent for The Associated Press. He reported in Ukraine, from Kyiv in the aftermath of the Maidan Revolution, and from Crimea, during the Russian annexation. Later, he joined Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as senior correspondent based in Prague, traveling to Ukraine to cover the invasion, and writing frequently about Kremlin politics, espionage, cybercrime, arms control and other topics.