Exciting Times Ahead For Six Students

21 March 2006

The year ahead holds new adventures for six students of the Carleton College Russian Department. Jenny Holm ‘07, Nazish Zafar ‘07, Nate Chappelle ’07, and Jonathan Rodkin ‘07 will be heading off into the wild, blue, Slavic yonder with Carleton fellowships or scholarships under their belts. Ben Owens ’07 will be exploring the Russian wilderness through the American Association for the Support of Ecological Initiatives’ program. Robert Webber ’07 will be spending next spring term on the Carleton Moscow Seminar with a David L. Boren undergraduate scholarship from the National Security Education Program.

Both Jenny and Nazish were granted the Kelley Fellowship to do research abroad. The fund was established in honor of Paul and Lynn Kelley who have worked for many years to further cultural understanding, engaging in such activities as medical trips to Central America, service to indigenous and tribal peoples, and AIDS work.

Jenny’s project is titled “Table Talk: Discourse, Privacy, and the Post-Soviet Kitchen.” As she explains, “In Soviet years, the kitchen came to represent the one space where privacy could be counted upon, and ‘kitchen conversations’ became a form of passive protest against a repressive totalitarian regime. I’d like to investigate how the role of the kitchen and the conversations that take place therein is changing now that Russia has become an arguably democratic state and explore how the meaning of public and private space itself is evolving in this new order.” Jenny plans to spend one month in Russia over winter break 2006, visiting the cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kransnodar. She’s excited to talk to Russians of all backgrounds about their experiences with and perceptions of ‘kitchen talk’.

Nazish’s project stems from her internship during the summer of 2005 at the Kitezh Children’s Community in central Russia, a village commune of foster families. Continuing with this theme, she is interested in understanding how Russian orphanages prepare children to become functional and conscientious members of society. She plans to analyze the orphanages from a cross-cultural perspective, comparing the orphanage system in Russia with that of Singapore, her home country.

Nate was awarded a Newman Scholarship for the summer of 2006. The Richard T. Newman Family Fund for Language Internship supports Carleton students who wish to pursue over-seas internships which can lead them to careers involving foreign languages.

Nate will be participating in the ten-week Tahoe-Baikal Institute’s Summer Exchange Program. The program focuses on watershed conservation, sustainable development, and cultural exchange. Sweeping him from Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia and to Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada, it will involve activities such as restoration work, investigative projects, and workshops. Moreover, Nate and the other students from both North America and Russia will get to learn about the complex world of environmental protection as they watch the interplay among researchers, academic and nonprofit organizations, political, legal, and administrative bodies, businesses, and local community members.

Jonathan received a Class of 1963 Fellowship, a fund established to support students wishing to engage in research in any subject area taught at Carleton. With a focus on the social networks in the elderly Jewish community in Odessa, Ukraine, Jonathan plans to use the theoretical framework of social capital “to examine the resources embedded within social relationships and how those resources are affected by being Jewish and aged in Ukraine in 2006.”

This summer, Ben will be participating for the second time in the American Association for the Support of Ecological Initiatives’ program in northern Russia. The cross-cultural, environmental, four-week experience will whisk Ben from the cultivated stateliness of St. Petersburg to the natural beauty of one Russian national park and two Russian nature reserves. Moreover, along with the other Russian and American students, Ben will study conflict resolution and learn more about the Russian system of environmental protection.

Next spring, Robert will be traveling to Russia on the 2007 Carleton College Moscow Seminar funded by a David L. Boren undergraduate scholarship from the National Security Education Program. The purpose of the scholarship is to facilitate study abroad in parts of the world which have been deemed critical to US security.

Good luck to all six of these juniors! We are excited to hear about their experiences when they return.