Notable Alums

Naphtali Rivkin

Naphtali Rivkin '15

A scholar, writer, and Army officer, Naphtali Rivkin graduated from Washington and Lee in 2015 with Honors in English and Russian Area Studies. During his studies, he pursued a semester abroad at the Russian University of Humanities in Moscow where he focused on Politics and Literature.

At the present, Naphtali is working on his M.Phil. in International Relations at the University of Cambridge (Clare College), and serves as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve with the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade in Germany. He also works as a research fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington DC.

Jordan Kearns

Jordan Kearns '14

A double major in Politics and Engineering and a minor in Russian Area Studies, Jordan Kearns was the valedictorian of his graduating class, a Johnson Scholar, head resident advisor of upper division students and an editor of the Washington and Lee Political Review. Jordan belonged to Phi Beta Kappa, the Outing Club, Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, Generals' Christian Fellowship and acted in the Russian language plays. He was also a campaign volunteer for Sen. Richard Lugar's primary campaign, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the office of Sen. Rand Paul during the Spring Term and summer of 2012.

After finishing his undergraduate studies in 2014, Kearns has received a Fulbright research grant to Estonia. There he worked on the project "Improving Oil Shale Technology to Provide Energy Security to Estonia and the United States." After completing the research, Kearns is planning to pursue his graduate studies at MIT.

Isaac Webb

Isaac Webb '13

Isaac Webb graduated from Washington and Lee University with a double major in History and Russian Area Studies in 2013. During his studies, he pursued a term abroad at Bashkir State University in Ufa and another term abroad at Russian University of Humanities in Moscow.

After graduating from Washington and Lee, Isaac pursued a Master's degree in the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian studies at Stanford University. Afterward, he worked as a reporter for Kyiv Post and as a Junior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC. Currently, Isaac is the coeditor of RuNet Echo in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Robert Frasco '09

Robert Frasco graduated from Washington and Lee University with a major in Russian Area Studies in 2009. In 2008 he became the recipient of a David L. Boren Scholarship from the National Security Education Program. Boren scholarships are awarded to American students for the study of world regions critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American and the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

After graduation, Robert worked as an analyst for the US Navy in Washington DC. Since 2015, he is working as a Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Nadia Wolfe

Nadia Wolfe '08

Nadia Wolfe has graduated from Washington and Lee in 2008 with a double-major in Russia Area Studies and Theater Arts. After graduation, she traveled to Moscow where she worked as an English teacher for 2 years and expanded her expertise in Russian history and culture. Afterward, she pursued a degree at the law school where she focused on international law. During her studies, Nadia also completed an internship with a USAID program in Baku (Azerbaijan). USAID program, established by the US government, is devised to advance the rule of law and provide legal advice for citizens opposed to corruption.

Currently, Naida works at an international nonprofit headquartered in New York with accreditation from the UN's Economic and Social Council. According to her words, the degree in Russian contributes to her understanding of the power dynamics in international relations.

Afsin Yurdakal

Afsin Yurdakal '06

Afsin Yurdakal graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2006 with the majors in Journalism and Russian Area Studies. She continued her academic studies at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, which she successfully completed in 2009.

Afsin worked as a reporter and correspondent at a variety of American and European media companies, largely focusing on Turkish international relations and political orientation. At the present, she works as a chief foreign editor and host at Haberturk News Channel in Istanbul, Turkey.

Thomas Grove

Thomas Grove '02

Thomas Grove has graduated from Washington and Lee University with the majors in Russian Area studies and German. After graduation, Rove studied Turkic music for a year by traveling through Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan on a Watson Fellowship.

He then received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and worked for six years as a correspondent in Istanbul, first with the Turkish Daily News and then with Reuters News from 2006-2010 covering political, financial and energy news.

For the past year, Grove has covered politics and general news from Moscow for Reuters. He has traveled throughout Russia reporting on a wide variety of topics ranging from popular protests against President Putin to ethnic tensions in the North Caucasus and Kazan, to Russian relations with Turkey and arms exports to Syria.

Brooks Hickman

Brooks Hickman '02

Brooks Hickman has graduated from Washington and Lee University with a double-major in Russian Area Studies and Politics in 2002. Proficient in French and Russian, Hickman spent a month in St. Petersburg, Russia, interviewing residents about politics. After graduation, Brooks continued his studies at University of Virginia Law School.

Throughout his studies, he has volunteered to teach English as a second language to students from Central America, Ethiopia and Japan. In addition, he has done pro bono work for the Washington Area Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and he has worked on immigration matters for the International Rescue Committee. Currently, Brooks Hickman works as an attorney in London, specialized in International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution.