Honors and Awards

Russian Dolls


Honors Thesis

Juniors with a GPA of 3.5 or better in the Russian major are eligible to apply for department honors. If their proposal is accepted, they write a 25- to 35-page thesis in English under the direction of one of the Russian faculty. Late in the spring semester, thesis writers present their work in a public defense in front of the Russian faculty. If their thesis receives a grade of B+ or better, they receive department honors. 

  • 2021, Elinor McCarthy: “What Have We to Do with Thee?”: Ethel Voynich’s The Gadfly as a Case Study in World Literature”
  • 2020, Jessie Saeli, “Eros and Personality: An analysis of Nikolai Berdyaev’s philosophy of love through an original translation of his autobiography”
  • 2015, Kathryn Bascom, “'A sun-illumined abyss': Death and Creation in Nabokov's Glory

Russian Senior Award

The Russian Senior Award is presented to a graduating senior Russian major in recognition of outstanding achievement in the study of Russian by the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures. 

  • 2022, John McDonough, Ana Miravete
  • 2021, Tessa Klein
  • 2020, Ellen Bleier

Thomas Scholarship

The Thomas Scholarship is awarded by the Russian faculty of the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures to an outstanding Russian major who exhibits financial need. The award is endowed by a generous gift from Bethany Thomas '95 in memory of her father. 

  • 2022, Pascal Ekirapa
  • 2021, Abigail Anderson
  • 2020, Jessica Saeli 

ACTR Scholar Laureate Award

The ACTR Scholar Laureate Award recognizes students who best embody an enthusiasm for and love of things Russian. 

  • 2022, Kate Connolly
  • 2021, Elinor McCarthy
  • 2020, James Anthony Stoner


Fulbright Teaching and Research/Study Grants are sponsored by the US Department of State and provide full support for nine months. Teaching assistantships place grantees in select middle schools and high schools in the Russian Federation to supplement local English language instruction and provide a native-speaker presence in the classroom. Research/study grants allow U.S. citizens to conduct individually designed research in Russia.

  • 2022, Carissa Salamatin, Kazakhstan (Teaching)
  • 2020, Ellen Bleier, Russia (Teaching)
  • 2018, Nadezhda Braun, Omsk, Russia (Teaching)

The David L. Boren National Security Education Program Fellowship allows students to study critical languages in areas that are underrepresented by study abroad while gaining expertise in their field. 

  • 2020, Nicholas Kiene: Almaty and Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, to study Russian and intern for the World Health Organization
  • 2013, Jaime Cordes, Croatia

“In the fall of 2019, I set out for Kazakhstan to study intensive Russian as a Boren Scholar. I spent seven months in various cities gaining fluency and cultural competency of the Russian language and the Kazakh people. It was one of the coolest and most enriching experiences of my life, one that my education in the Russian department facilitated during my four years at Notre Dame.”

— Nicke Keine ’19, Russian and Biology

The US Department of State Critical Language Scholarship provides full support for eight weeks of summer language study. Recipients are expected to continue studying Russian at their home institution and then apply their critical language skills in their professional career. 

  • 2011, Morgan Iddings (Russian)
  • 2008, Jessica Peyton (Turkish)

Macalaster Russian Studies Student Research Competition

  • 2022, Katherine Mansourova, “Russia’s Half Measure: Evaluating the Effectiveness and Outcomes of Russia’s Digital Sovereignty Policy," First Prize in "Us vs. Them" Category; this project also won the Guillermo O’Donnell Prize for the best senior thesis in comparative politics

FBI Summer Honors Internship Program is a ten-week paid internship that offers a unique opportunity to learn and work alongside FBI employees while gaining a unique advantage in establishing an exceptional career.

  • 2008, Megan Grebe

Summer Language Grants

Summer Language Abroad (SLA) Grants are funded by the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures. They help defray costs in approved summer language courses abroad.

  • 2019, Patrick Brady, Grace Ma, Charles Sedore 
  • 2018, Ellen Bleier, Emily Ragan, Jessica Saeli, Matthew Wisneski

The Alexander Pushkin Grant for Advanced Language Training in Russian, sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, provides support for advanced language study in Russia during the summer.

  • 2020, Abigail Anderson
  • 2019, Elinor McCarthy

Summer Russian Language Study Grant, which is provided by the Department of German and Russian, supports language study abroad.

  • 2018, Irene Newman
  • 2015, Roman Gusdorf, Nicholas McCarty, Robert Mogollon

Summer Achievement Grant in Russian (Department of German and Russian) defrays costs for an intensive Beginning Russian language course at a university in the US. Recipients must enroll in Intermediate Russian I and II the following academic year and complete the Russian minor. For more information, contact Professor Emily Wang (ewang3@nd.edu).

  • 2019, Carissa Salamatin
  • 2018, Matthew Feldmann, Will Jones, Tessa Klein 

Summer Internships

2019, Kate Connolly (Crossroads, Ryazan, Russian Federation)


The ACTR National Russian Essay Writing Contest is open annually to all students studying Russian in US colleges and universities. Students are given one hour to write an essay in Russian on a topic that is not revealed until the time of the contest. Essays are judged by native speakers in the Russian Federation, and only the top 15-20% of the roughly 1,200 entries receive awards with only the top 5% being gold or silver medals.

  • 2021: Abigail Anderson, Nicholas Clarizio, CJ Jones, Tess Klein Charles Sedore
  • 2020: Elizabeth Kolb, Jessica Saeli, James Anthony Stoner

Student Publications

The field of Slavic languages has two major online journals, The Birch and Vestnik, that are run by and dedicated to publishing undergraduates. 

  • Saeli, Jessica, trans. "Flowers Invisible" and "In Suffering" by Lidia Berdiaeva. The Birch. Spring 2020. 68.
  • Saeli, Jessica. "A Small Room Full of Spiders." The Birch. Spring 2020. 57-60.
  • Bascom, Kathryn. "The Hero of Cana: Alyosha's Ode to Joy." Vestnik. April 2015.
  • Porter, Molly. "Rational Perversions of Love in The Brothers Karamazov." Vestnik. April 2014.