St. Petersburg, Russia and Palatine, Illinois
Political Science Major, Computer Science Minor
What are your interests and hobbies?
I love cooking, especially the Russian food I grew up with, but also trying new things and different world cuisines. I also love music -- singing and playing piano and ukulele.
What activities do you participate in on campus?
I am a brother of Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Knox's service fraternity, and I serve as president of the Knox Democrats. In the past I've been involved with cross country and track and field, jazz combos, and the Galesburg Community Chorus. I love that at Knox, I get to try all sorts of different things -- there's really room to explore and find your place.
Have you done any volunteering/community service during your time at Knox?
I do most of my volunteering through APO, including the APO book co-op, blood drive, and run-a-thon. I'm a tutor at the Knox County Academy, the area alternative school, as well as a reading buddy at Nielson Elementary. I also volunteer with Safe Harbor.
How did you learn about Knox?
As long as I can remember thinking about college, I remember telling people that I wasn't very picky, but I didn't want a small school in the middle of a cornfield. I first heard about Knox due to the amazing commencement speakers. Then, I received a mailing from Admission about John Podesta, a Knox alumnus and a personal hero. This convinced me to give a campus visit a try -- there seemed to be more going on at Knox than I (mistakenly) assumed was possible at a small school. Several campus visits later, I was sold.
What would surprise your high school friends about you now?
My high school friends would be shocked that I'm an enthusiastic member of the Greek community. It's definitely not something that was on my radar in high school, but I find that surrounding myself with people who are as committed to service as I am helps me to live my ideals. Service has always been important to me, but having the support and the high expectations of my brothers has really helped me grow in that area.
Can you elaborate on any study abroad or distinctive programs you have done?
... Kemper has been invaluable to me, in terms of personal and professional development, and providing opportunities like the chance to intern at Lookingglass Theatre last summer.
For my experiential learning, I took a leave of absence the fall term of my sophomore year to run a political campaign. In fact, I had my last finals of spring term my first year on a Monday, and I started work that Tuesday as a campaign manager for a state representative in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I oversaw every aspect of the campaign -- writing and managing a $100,000 budget, managing a staff of three, a dozen interns, and about 50 volunteers. We didn't win, but improved on the previous candidates' performance by five percentage points. I learned so much, and I am so grateful to the candidate for taking a chance on a then 18-year-old. The campaign constituted the hardest and most rewarding five and a half months of my life.
What is your favorite place on campus? Off campus?
On campus, my favorite place is the Crash and Burn Lab. It's a Computer Science Department lab tucked away on the second floor of SMC (Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center), where all the computers are named for pioneers in the field -- e.g., Turing, Babbage, Dijkstra, etc. For me, it is often an oasis of calm in the otherwise bustling hallways of SMC. SMC rats (as those of us who spend a lot of time in the building call ourselves) often have a pretty big workload, and it's nice to have a quiet place to de-stress, maybe play some music while you work on a project, and be removed from the world a little while.
Off campus, my favorite place is Q's Café on Main Street. It has some of the best food in town (they make the brownies that are so popular in the Gizmo), and the people are so warm and friendly. When I go to Qs, I feel connected to the Galesburg community.