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Advisory Council

The Advisory Committee of the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures serves the role of engaging OSU alumni and community members with the department. The department appreciates the willingness of Committee members to lend their time, knowledge, and financial support to our continuing efforts to improve the Ohio State Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures. The Committee's members will be students and alumni of the Department who have excelled in a wide variety of careers and pursuits, and who believe that their Slavic and East European languages and cultures education played an important role in their success.


OSU Todd Armstrong

Todd P. Armstrong, Ph.D

Dr. Armstrong received his M.A. and Ph.D from Ohio State in 1989 and 1993, specializing in Russian Language and Literature.

Using his training in a wide range of positions, Dr. Armstrong has worked as an interpretor, translator, instructor, Resident Director at the OSU/Pushking Institute Exchange Program, Assistant Professor in Iowa, Faculty Director at the Associated Colleges of the Midwest-Central European Studies Program in Czechia, among other professorships and directorships.

Dr. Armstrong is currently a Professor and Department Chair of Russian, and Department Chair of Russian, Central European, and Eurasian Studies at Grinnell College. 

BYU professor Jennifer Brown, alumni

Jennifer Brown, Ph.D.

At Ohio State Dr. Brown received her Ph.D at the Slavic Department in 2004, and an MEd. in Foreign and Second Language Education in 1999. Dr. Brown also received her M.A. in Russian Literature and Linguistics at OSU in 1993, and her B.A. in Russian Language (cum laude) in 1991.

Dr. Brown is currently a Professor of Russian and Second Language Teaching Fellow, as well as the Department Chair at the Department of German and Russian at Brigham Young University in Utah.

From 2002-2004 Dr. Brown worked as Assistant Director of the Slavic Language Programs at OSU, and as GTA Coordinator and Senior Lecturer.

CAPT James G. Connell, Jr., USN (ret.), Ph.D.

CAPT James G. Connell, Jr., USN (ret.), Ph.D.

What is your current position?

I presently work as Senior Cold War Analyst and Executive Secretary Emeritus of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC) in the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Arlington, VA 22204

What degree in Russian/Slavic studies did you receive?

The Ohio State University: M.A. '69; Ph.D. '73 (both in Slavic Languages and Literatures).      Also, B.S., U.S. Naval Academy '61; M.A. (Comparative Literature), University of Georgia '67

How did your Slavic studies impact your career?

Slavic studies provided the foundation for two very fulfilling careers: active-duty Navy: Russian language-related duty in Rome, Munich, Washington, USSR (Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty); and thirty years with the USRJC, nine years in Russia with the remainder in Washington with TDYs to Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltics. 

What advice would you give to students studying Russian?

Your most interesting and rewarding career will most likely be in government, particularly in the Foreign Service and intelligence-related agencies.

OSU alumnus Michael Corbin

Michael Corbin, Ph.D.

What is your current position? 

I’m a Senior International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

What degree in Russian/Slavic studies did you receive?

I received an M.A. in Slavic and East European Studies from The Ohio State University.

How did your Slavic studies impact your career?

In my capacity as a trade specialist, I worked exclusively on Russian financial services from approximately 1999 until 2013, when the crisis in Ukraine began, and since then I have been the lead for private pensions - helping U.S. companies address market access restrictions around the globe. I developed programs and cooperated with various Russian government ministries and private sector companies to help develop best practices in insurance and private pensions in Russia.  For example, I worked closely with the Ministry of Economic Development to develop an Insurance Information Center and participated in discussions with them on landmark private pension legislation passed by the Duma in 2002. In 2017, I was recommended by the Department of Commerce to receive a fellowship to the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and during my nine months there I studied the breakdown of pension systems in Eastern Europe (Hungary, Poland and Romania).  I also had the opportunity to collaborate with the Kennan Institute and wrote a Kennan Cable on Russian trade with Asia and prepared a blog on Russian government efforts to raise the pension age in 2018.

What advice would you give to students studying Russian? 

Studying Russian is difficult but very rewarding.  Russian language skills are an important component to having a more sophisticated understanding of one of the more important countries on the globe and this can really help with a career in the private sector or in government. From a career standpoint, I would recommend to students that they combine study of Russian with another academic discipline.  Due to the undulations in the political relations between the two countries it is important to have various options, particularly for times like now when there are virtually no government to government and commercial relations have largely ceased.

ken at lake baikal

Kenneth Hensley, B.A..

Graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in Russian Language , a B.A. in Linguistics, and a minor in Political Science.

What first drove you to pursue a degree involving Slavic and Russian studies?

 I’ve always loved languages and linguistics, so it was never a question that this is what I’d study in college. I was first drawn to Russian in particular when I got a “teach yourself” CD from the library in middle school. I was immediately hooked and have stuck with it ever since.

What did you intend to do when you graduated?

 I was initially planning to go into government work after graduating, mostly because of my internship experience in DC. But as graduation was approaching, it became clear to me that I wasn’t quite “finished” with Russia despite having spent several summers there, so I instead decided to move to Russia to perfect my language skills.

What job did you get when you graduated? Tell us a little about the job, what it entailed, how you applied and got the job etc.

 Immediately after graduating from OSU in 2012, I did Middlebury’s graduate-level summer Russian program. It was truly a remarkable experience, and I definitely plan to do it again if I ever have a free summer. I then went on to teach English in Vladimir, Russia, at a great little English school called the American Home. Though Vladimir is a beautiful city, I was ready for a little more hustle and bustle – as well as for a job that allowed me to utilize my Russian skills more – which is why I decided to move to Moscow to see what it had to offer. In Moscow, I really was in the right place at the right time and was hired as a Russian translator for the business and finance wing of Russia’s top independent news agency, Interfax, where I worked for two years.  It was definitely the single most demanding position I’ve ever had, but I can honestly say that, aside from my incredible experience as a Russian major at OSU, my time at Interfax was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only did it take my Russian – and English – skills to a completely new level, but it gave me a deeper understanding of Russian business, politics, and culture that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. It also taught me enough about finance to get hired at my current position...

Natalie mauser-carter

Natalie Mauser-Carter, M.A.

Graduated from OSU with a B.A. in Linguistics and a B.A. in Russian, cum laude with Honors, and from the University of Kansas with her M.A. in International/Global Studies

Natalie has worked as an ESL Teacher and Archive Assistant for Builders for Peace in Fojnica Bosnia, as a tutor in English, Latin, Russian, classics, and Linguistics at OSU, and as a Slavic and Eurasian Studies Acquisitions Assistant during her time at the University of Kansas.

Since finishing her studies, Natalie worked as an Adult Education Teacher for the Heartland Alliance in Chicago, a Regional Portfolio Ambassador in Texas, and a Trainer and Manager at Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits in Austin, Texas.