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ASU students take home top prizes in national Russian writing contest


Moscow embassy

View of the entrance to the U.S. embassy in Moscow. Photo courtesy the Melikian Center

May 05, 2021

This past April, four ASU students won awards in the 2021 National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest. Kirill Bor and Naomi Spektor both won silver medals, while Iryna Shakurova and Christian Shousha earned honorable mentions.

Together, these students showcase the diversity of the Russian department: Bor is majoring in business, Spektor in communication, Shakurova in microbiology with a Russian minor, and Shousha in Russian with an Italian minor. A total of 15 students from ASU entered the contest.

Over 1,100 students from 40 universities around the country participated, with judges in Moscow selecting the winning essays. In recognition of the COVID-19 pandemic, the topic for this year’s contest was "My Favorite Place."

“This is only the second year that ASU has participated, and even with stiff competition from top Russian programs such as the U.S. Department of Defense-funded Defense Language Institute, we are very pleased with our students’ performance,” said Hilde Hoogenboom, School of International Letters and Cultures professor

ASU is a powerhouse in the field: The Russian program ranks among the top 10 schools in the country by number of Russian majors, while the Melikian Center supports innovative research and outreach in Russian and Eurasian studies.

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