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Russian Studies Students Wow at State Competition

Vassar’s team continued a winning tradition at the recent New York State Competition of Spoken and Written Russian (informally nicknamed the Olympiada), held this year at SUNY Binghamton. Aisha Malik ’21 took first place and Alice Woo ’21 second place in the Intermediate category, and Ethan Ross ’22 shared second-place honors in the Beginner category.

Team members with Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Farida TcherkassovaPhoto: Courtesy of Charles H. Arndt III

Participants are required to demonstrate their Russian–speaking skills by reciting a poem from memory; giving a monologue about themselves, and then answering questions about it from judges; and reading a text they have never seen before. Competitors at the introductory level also must complete a written grammar test, while second-year students are asked to speak on a variety of assigned topics. In addition to Vassar and Binghamton, this year’s competition included teams from West Point, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Union College.

Vassar first began competing in the Olympiada six years ago, thanks to the efforts of Charles H. Arndt III, Assistant Professor of Russian Language and Literature. From that very first competition, Vassar competitors have consistently scored well, a record that was augmented further this year under the guidance of Arndt, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian Farida Tcherkassova, and Russian Language Fellow Masha Mal'shchukova.