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Claudia Wagner

MAERES Class of 2016

I am from London, UK. I studied Russian with

Politics and Economics for my undergraduate degree
at University College London. My previous work
experience is in political risk and business intelligence

C E RE S S t u d e n t P r o f i l e

Originally, I became interested in the region at the

age of 14 when I first began learning Russian at the
international school I attended. My introduction to
the language was complimented with studies of
Imperial Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution and the
Stalin period in history classes at high school, and I
developed a passion for Tolstoy and Pushkin novels
during my teen years. After taking a gap year to
explore Latin America, I returned to my studies concentrating on the Russian language and Russian
and Ukrainian politics and foreign policy. During my undergrad studies, I spent significant periods of
time in Kazan, St Petersburg and Moscow, Russia. I was fortunate to be in Moscow during the 20112012 elections and protests and later wrote my undergrad thesis on the portrayal of these elections
and protests in Russian media and social media.
I decided to pursue a Masters degree in the US as there are no similar programs in the UK.
However, CERES also stood out in comparison to other programs in the US. Initially, I was
impressed by the breadth of countries covered in the courses: the program offers courses on most
countries in the region, so you can choose to be as specialized as you wish. The multi-disciplinary
nature of the program also means you are able to study the region from all angles. I also appreciated
the opportunity to take courses outside CERES in departments across the School of Foreign Service
and the Graduate School, as well as other universities in the DC area. The chance to be taught by
professors with a wealth of professional experience professors currently working on the region was
also particularly appealing. Finally, the location in DC was a big attraction: the speakers I have heard
at Georgetown and around DC have been remarkable, as well as the ability to interact with the wider
community of academics and professionals working on the region.
During my first year at CERES, I took courses on Russian Foreign Policy, European Security,
Central Asian Politics and Business in Eurasia, as well as advanced Russian language classes. I spent
the last year working with Dr. Angela Stent as a Research Assistant, researching Sino-Russian
relations. I am on the board of Georgetown Women in International Affairs as the Strategic
Planning Chair - a student-run organization housed under the Georgetown Institute for Women in
Peace and Security.