Haley first developed an interest in Russia after seeing a documentary about Siberia in high school. She then fell down the rabbit hole. Haley graduated with a B.A. in Russian Language and Culture and an M.A. in Film Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where her research focused on the influence of Shakespeare in Russian culture, urban space in literature and film, and memory in the post-Soviet era. After graduating with a M.A., Haley had no intention of pursuing further graduate study, but after spending a year away from academia, she realized how much she missed being surrounded by Russian literature and culture and decided to pursue a PhD. Currently, her research interests focus on the legacy of Soviet environmental catastrophes, in particular, Chernobyl and its nuclear legacy, post-Soviet abandoned and forgotten spaces, urban decay, and cultural memory.