Following her graduation, Elizabeth Culp ’19 is taking the next step on her long-planned path to use her Russian-language skills in a government job. This fall, the Russian studies major is traveling to Almaty, Kazakhstan, on a Boren Scholarship granted by the Language Flagship program. Once there, she’ll take classes in Russian at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University for a full year.
For many students, Haverford’s language requirement is a year-long experience, but, for Culp, it’s blossomed into much more. Her experience in Bryn Mawr’s Russian Department has given her a well-planned, yet bold trajectory for her post-collegiate years.
“When I arrived at Haverford thinking I might like to learn a new language, I discovered that Bryn Mawr has a really prestigious Russian Department connected with the Language Flagship,” she reflected. “The opportunity to start taking classes was irresistible, and I quickly fell in love with the language and culture. Throughout my undergraduate career I’ve followed a track with the ultimate intention of finishing my studies in Kazakhstan along with fellow Flagship students.”
The Boren Scholarship is a grant, supplied by the U.S. government, that enables a student’s deeper learning of a language that is deemed pertinent to the Department of Defense. After an extended period of linguistic immersion abroad, the student is mandated to take a post in the federal government.
Prior experience should prepare Culp both for her time in Almaty and for her later step into government service. She’s already spent a semester abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, and held a summer internship in Kyiv, Ukraine. In preparation for her future move into government employment, she’s interning this summer with the Department of State Office of U.N. Political Affairs.
“I’ll be assisting in coordinating U.S. foreign policy between State and our team at the U.N. by drafting memos and proposals, sitting in on meetings, etc,” she said. “The primary goal is to gain exposure to careers in State in order to gauge how suited I am to working there in the future.”
Before Culp can embark on her projected career track, she still has a year in Kazakhstan ahead of her, where, she’s “really looking forward to solidifying my knowledge of the region and developing more comfort in speaking Russian in all sorts of social situations.”
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.