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Department honors top students

Monday, May 06, 2013

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures recognized 24 students for academic excellence, language proficiency and outstanding service at its annual honors reception April 23 in the Kansas Union.

William Comer, professor and chair of Slavic languages and literatures, welcomed attendees and presided at the event. The department’s faculty and graduate teaching assistants presented awards to students.

Harrison Smith, a Lenexa senior, received the Post-Secondary Russian Laureate Award from the American Council of Teachers of Russian for his outstanding performance as an undergraduate major in the department. Among his other accomplishments, Smith received a KU Undergraduate Research Fund award in summer 2011 to conduct an independent research project on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel "The Idiot."

Five graduating seniors were inducted into Dobro Slovo, a national honor society for students majoring in Slavic languages and literatures:

  • Trey Giesen, Great Bend, senior in Slavic languages and literatures and global and international studies
  • Katya DiTirro, Kansas City, Mo., senior in Slavic languages and literatures and global and international studies
  • Wayne Sloan, Baxter Springs, junior in chemistry
  • Amy Neville Sinclair, Wichita, senior in microbiology and Russian
  • Harrison Whitefield Smith, Lenexa, senior in Russian language & literature.      

Other students received certificates and book awards for excellence in elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian; advanced level Slovene, elementary and advanced Polish; elementary, intermediate and advanced Russian; elementary Yiddish; and elementary Ukrainian.

KU is the only university in the region to offer doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Slavic languages and literatures. The department itself and in conjunction with the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies offers Slavic-related events throughout the year. The area studies program, one of only 12 such federally funded national resource centers, provides a range of Slavic courses offered by more than 50 faculty members in 16 departments.

Dobro Slovo, the National Slavic Honor Society, was founded in 1963 with the help and encouragement of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL).  The Society serves as a means to recognize academic excellence in the study of Slavic languages and literatures and encourages scholarly interest in Slavic life and culture.



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KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies program is one of only 12 federally-funded national resource centers in the US
Only doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures between the Mississippi and the West Coast
100% of graduate students in the Slavic program had funding in academic year 2012-13
KU's Libraries house over 500,000 volumes of Slavic books and electronic editions
Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad