Our Recent Graduates

 Olivia Le CoqueOlivia Le Coque, Spring 2015: I was raised in a bilingual household speaking English with my father and Russian with my mother, who emigrated from St. Petersburg in the early 1990s. Being a heritage speaker was always a blessing, but I had not fully realized this until my college years. Since becoming a Russian major, I loved practicing my skills in Russian as well as learning about and attending several events encompassing Russian history, literature, and culture. One dream that I have always had is to travel to Russia and learn about where my family came from. I have always been interested in travel and politics, which in turn has fascinated me with the diplomatic world. Someday I would love to become a diplomat or a consule in the Russian Federation Embassy. As a recipient of the Ella Lury Wiswell scholarship, I have been blessed with the opportunity of getting my Russian degree and working towards these hopeful goals. I have dreamed of finding what really makes me happy and excited for the future, and I believe I have found it in Russian studies. I hope to continue on this path and better my knowledge of my Russian heritage and language.

Pisey KeoPisey Keo, Spring 2015: I majored in Psychology with a minor  in Art, as well as received a Certificate in Russian. I was first interested in learning Russian because my uncle speaks Russian and I thought it was fascinating.  When I came to UH Manoa, I decided to study Russian and I found it to be a very challenging  and interesting subject. As an undergraduate student, I wanted to take the chance and go study abroad in Russia. Thanks to Wiswell Scholarship, I was able to fulfill this wish by going to live and learn in Vladivostok, Russia, in Spring 2015. I was very excited to learn to navigate in Russian culture because I want to return to Russia in the future and live and work there.

Maica KniselyMaica Knisely, Spring 2015: After high school, I studied abroad in Russia for a year and my life was changed! I fell in love with Russian culture and language. Ever since then, I’ve been searching for the right program to further my academic journey. The Russian Program at UH Manoa was the perfect fit for me. There were so many opportunities to engage with cultural and linguistic aspects of Russian life. The Wiswell Scholarship was essential in assisting with the financial burdens we face as students. It not only aided with my tuition but also afforded me the opportunity to study in Vladivostok for a semester in Spring 2015. Here is my blog about our adventures in Vladivostok with  almost daily updates.

Shayne Matsuda, Spring 2015: The Wiswell Scholarship has significantly impacted my life in a positive way. It gave me the opportunity to continue to study a language that I fell in love with since I took my first Russian class at the University of Hawaii. As stated by the Department of State: “Russian is one of the critical languages” to learn. In addition to getting my Political Science degree as well, the Wiswell Scholarship opened up more job opportunities for both the Federal Government and private firms. The funds that Ella Lury Wiswell left enlarged my understanding about Russia and Russian culture, especially the numerous Russian Club meetings and parties that the UH Russian Program hosts. I would like to express my warmest mahalo (Hawai’ian for thank you) to both the late and generous Ella Lury Wiswell and the Russian Program for giving me the opportunity to pursue an occupation that would potentially make a significant impact in our contemporary society.

Daniel SchulzDaniel Schulz, Spring 2015: I had a great experience studying Russian as a Russian Major at UH Manoa. Learning a second language had been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and was both a personal and professional goal of mine. Studying abroad in Moscow the summer after my freshman year definitely gave me a new perspective on Russian language and culture. I encourage anyone who’s interested in learning about European languages and cultures to look into Russian as their language of choice.

Constance NicksConstance Nicks: I recently got my Masters in Linguistics as well as a Certificate of Russian from the Russian Department at UH. My interest with Russia began in my freshman year Political Science class. I was mesmerized by the photo of Boris Yeltsin standing on top of a tank declaring to the people of Russia that “this” is how the country was going to run from then on. While knowing the political history of a country is great knowledge to have, knowing the language of that country’s people is how bridges are created and mutual understanding achieved. During my third year of my undergraduate study I was afforded the opportunity to study abroad at The University of Tartu in Tartu, Estonia, and obtain a Certificate in Russian Studies. For my MA project, I was working with the Russian-speaking community on Oahu researching the level of Russian that is spoken here. I do not have just one particular interest regarding Russia; I delight in every facet of the culture, people, and language. My interest in Russian is not a passing season in my life; I know it is what I will continue to study the rest of my life.


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