Senior Lecturer in Russian, Arizona State University
Arizona State University BA and MA in Russian
PhD from University of Washington
I studied in the U of A Russian department from 1980-1987. At the time the program was particularly strong in producing people who could actually speak Russian, which allowed me to obtain my first academic position at ASU with only a Master's (1987-1991), after which I went on to be a translator for Honeywell on a project that was putting American avionics on Russian airframes. (I now know more than I ever wanted to know about airplanes...) From there I went to UW for my PhD, and despite the 5-year gap, I found my preparation was more than sufficient to excel there. From 1998 I left the Slavic field for six years, working in a drug-testing company, of all things. (I now know more about marijuana than I ever wanted to know, which is pretty funny for a guy who has never even tried the stuff.) I currently coordinate the first- and secdon-year Russian program at ASU, and this last summer I was director of the Critical Language Institute's study abroad program in Kazan.
There are many places where I could have learned Russian, but U of A gave me something that not every place gives: it let me know joy in the midst of academia, particularly as it was modeled by Margaret Gibson, Roger Hagglund, and of course the effervescent Del Phillips. I think the ability to pass that joy on to my students nowadays is one of my greatest gifts.