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, after which I went on to be a translator for Honeywell on a project that was putting American avionics on Russian airframes. From there I went to University of Washington for my PhD, and despite the 5-year gap, I found my preparation was more than sufficient to excel there. I currently coordinate the first- and second-year Russian program at ASU. I currently serve also as Curriculum Coordinator and Faculty Lead of the Critical Language Institute, a program of the ASU's Melikian center. There are many places where I could have learned Russian, but the 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.
Senior Lecturer in Russian
Arizona State University