Michael holds a BA from Grand Valley State University, where he majored in Russian Studies and Economics. In 2013 he was awarded a Boren scholarship and spent an academic year in Irkutsk studying Russian at Irkutsk State Linguistic University. After returning from the shores of Lake Baikal, he completed his MA at the University of Michigan’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. His research interests are widespread, but he is particularly interested in the use of travel in Russian literature and contemporary Russian pop culture. When not mumbling to himself in Russian, he enjoys playing with his pet cat, listening to ska music, and watching the latest Russian rap battles.
Sara graduated in 2015 with a BA in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago. Her primary research is in Soviet history, particularly the history of ethnic Ukrainians living in the Soviet Union during and after World War II. In addition to her focus on national and ethnic identities, Sara is interested in Soviet conceptions of history, narratives of revolution, and state violence. When not studying war and violence, Sara lightens the mood by criticizing bad Russian spoken in American movies, knitting, and hanging out with her three pet tortoises.