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Winter 2019 Alumni News

Submitted by Arts & Sciences Web Team on February 19, 2019 - 12:17pm

Nina Boe (BA, 2010) graduated from the Slavic Department with a degree in East European Languages, Literatures & Cultures, with a focus on Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. After undergrad she spent two years in Brazil, later returning to UW for a Master's in Public Administration from the Evans School in 2018. As of September, she has been in Macedonia with the Peace Corps, spending the first two months working on language acquisition and further technical training. Thanks to a healthy foundation of BCS and excellent instruction in country, she received an Advanced Low rating in Macedonian on her ACTFL Language Proficiency Interview. She recently swore in as a Community Economic Development Volunteer on December 7th and a few days later, appeared alongside a Peace Corps Macedonia staff member on national television to share - in Macedonian - about her experiences so far! Nina will be spending the next two years in Shuto Orizari, Skopje, working with an exciting NGO called Roma Rock School, also supporting instructors and leadership at a primary school and kindergarten. She is eager to add Macedonian Romani to her growing list of languages in the next couple of years, and invites anyone in the area to stop on by!

Serge Gregory (Ph.D, 1977) contributed the chapter “Burned Letters: Reconstructing the Chekhov-Levitan Friendship” for the newly published Chekhov’s Letters: Biography, Context, Poetics, available from Lexington Books. This is the first book in English or Russian to be devoted to a collection of articles on Chekhov’s letters by Russian, British and North American scholars and writers. Serge was also asked by the editors to write a short essay on his favorite Chekhov letter. “A Prescription to Keep Love at Bay” describes a humorous letter that Chekhov wrote to Lidia Mizinova on 20 June 1891.

Cheryl Carrier Spasojević (BA, 1967) was a language consultant for a new book "Selected Serbian Comedies", Edited by Branko Mikasinovich, published by New Avenue Books. She is currently working on the commentaries for the Serbian content to accompany a photo publication by the ethnographer Martin Koenig for the Smithsonian. The book will also be published in Bulgaria. This past September, Cheryl made a solo 3,500-mile road trip, tent camping along the way, to visit some of the national parks in southern Utah - Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon and Zion. From there she continued down to Riverside CA where my younger son, Marko, his wife and their 2- year-old son live. Both Marko and Loralee are on the faculty at UC Riverside in Ecology. Cheryl then went up to Burbank to attend the Tamburitza Extravaganza, a long weekend of S. Slavic music, and then back to Edmonds via the Redwoods. Cheryl also spent 10 days in Serbia this spring with her older son to take care of bank business and similar duties. She is still very busy being the Treasurer at her local St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as being Secretary to the Northwest Folkdancers, Inc.

Bob Ewen (Ph.D, 1979) reports: “Retirement is tiring. In addition to sincere gardening, photography, and traveling, I sit on two non-profit Boards. One of the two, the Bulgarian Culture and Heritage Center in Seattle, just committed to helping Martin Koenig, nationally known teacher of Balkan dance, founder of the Balkan Arts Center (now named Center for Traditional Music and Dance) in New York City, and from 1966 to 1994 intrepid collector/recorder of ethnic music and dance throughout the Balkans, fundraise to complete a project to preserve Martin’s Bulgarian recordings, photographs, and film. This project is in partnership with The Smithsonian, with help from the NEA, the Bulgarian Government, and private donors. The deliverables of the project, a large-format hardcover book, films, and recordings will be permanently housed at The Smithsonian and available to future generations.“

Jared Blum (BA, 2000) says: “I took my family to the FIFA World Cup in Russia in June-July 2018. We were able to attend matches in Volgograd, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. The Russian government suspended all the normal visa requirements for all visitors holding match tickets, which convinced me to make the trip. Complimentary train transportation between host cities was provided by the Russian government. It was a marvelous experience to interact with soccer fans from all over the world and to show my children some of my favorite sights. It had been 20 years since I last visited Russia. Needless to say it is a very different place, and I regret not visiting more often. The only way the trip could have been better is if the USA had managed to send a team to compete. I am happy to report that I can still speak Russian well enough to get around.”

Bob Powers (BA, 1978) and his Ukrainian helpers have just finished up the digital Russian Phrasebook for Dating & Beyond (790 Kindle pgs) which will be released May 1st on Amazon. Last year Bob also published Macedonian Phrasebook and Dictionary, Macedonian Food & Menu Guide, and Ukrainian Food and Menu Guide and so is happy to report he hasn’t been neglecting his Slavic loyalties. He and his wife Olga now live in Colorado Springs, moving from Spokane in September.

Richard Balthazar’s (MA, 1966) exhibition of drawings entitled “Ye Gods! Icons of Aztec Deities” showed for June and July at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe and October and November at Northern New Mexico College in Espanola. Future venues for the show are also coming together. The New Orleans Opera has also decided to produce Richard’s English translation of the Tchaikovsky opera “Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)” for February 2020. Richard originally did the translation 40 years ago for Canadian Opera Company and revised it significantly this past summer. He also hopes that other theatre companies may consider doing the production as we approach the 600th anniversary of her burning at the stake. He hopes this may lead to interest in having him translate other works as well, such as “The Enchantress”, if he can find the time in the midst of drawing and writing.

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