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Russian Studies

You will explore Russia’s language, literature, history, politics, arts and religion in an intimate program. Faculty members will encourage you to study abroad and help you find the best experience. You may have opportunities to interact with the Russian-speaking community in Central New York, home to hundreds of recent émigrés from Belarus and the Ukraine.

Isabella Schoning '16

A student’s mix: Russian, physics and a Gillman award

A regimented academic path? Why? Isabella Schoning ’16 was interested in so many things her first year at Hamilton she took courses in seven departments, and not one was physics. Still, she’s managed to double major in physics and Russian Studies and study abroad. Schoning went to St. Petersburg, Russia, an experience supported a Gilman International Scholarship Program award. Schoning is a Dean’s list scholar and the 2014 recipient of the College Scholar Athlete award. She’s also worked as a College tour guide, taught English to refugees and is a member of the women’s varsity tennis team.

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Schoning chose Russian because it was new territory for her; she’d always wanted to learn a language with a new alphabet. She expects her post-Hamilton plans will fall into place the way her Russian major did. “But that's what I love about the liberal arts institution - it allows you to explore your interests so when you start on a path, you are sure that's what you want to do, and you don't regret not trying other things first. In my opinion, the faculty and staff at Hamilton support this ideal fully and do everything in their power so their students can explore, learn, and grow in all different directions,” she says.

Ross Ufberg '07 and wares from his publishing firm.
Ross Ufberg '07 and wares from his publishing firm.

A graduate’s progress: publishing and a Ph.D.

In 2012, Ross Ufberg ’07 co-founded New Vessel Press, a publishing firm that specializes in translating foreign literature into English. And he’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Slavic languages at Columbia University, working on Russian and Polish literature.

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Ufberg built a foundation for those passions at Hamilton College, where he double-majored in Russian studies and comparative literature.  A paper he wrote his first year first sparked his interest in translation. In it, he compared different translations of War and Peace.

As a Hamilton student, Ufberg spent a year in St. Petersburg.

“I learned so much, from books and from people, about life, language, literature, culture, friendship, romance. There's nothing that prepares you for a career more than an interesting and curious life, and that year in Russia was certainly a very big step in the right direction,” he says.

Ufberg realized soon into his college career that he wanted to continue working with literature after graduation.

“I did know literature wasn't a field of study for me. It was much more than that, it was my life, where I found inspiration and meaning and ethics, too,” he says. “I knew my life had to be immensely involved in literature.”