Colloquium | Members

Maxim Kondratenko

Maxim is a senior majoring in International Relations with a focus in International Security. He was born in Moscow, but has lived in the United States since he was five. At Tufts, Maxim is involved with the Taekwondo team and the university’s fundraising program. He speaks English, Russian, French, and some Spanish. As part of EPIIC, Maxim is hoping to learn more about the challenges facing Russia today, as well as the motivations behind its foreign policy decisions. He is especially interested in the current crisis in Ukraine, and what impact it will ultimately have on relations between Russia and the rest of Europe. Maxim enjoys reading, traveling, and martial arts.

Benya Kraus

Benya Kraus is a freshman at Tufts University planning to major in International Relations with a concentration in US Foreign Policy.  She is a Thai-American citizen, growing up in Switzerland, Vietnam, Thailand, and the United States. She went to high school at the International School of Bangkok and was actively engaged in political advocacy and social activism as President of her school's Amnesty International club.  Under her leadership, the club received the 2012 Youth Activist Award presented by Amnesty International Thailand.  Individually, she has been awarded the EARCOS Global Citizenship Award in 2013 and the CIS International Student Award in 2014 for her service in the school and Bangkok community.  At Tufts, she serves on the Senate and participates in the spoken word society on campus.  

Ethan Krauss

Ethan Krauss is an undergraduate at Tufts University from Anchorage, Alaska. Majoring in International Relations and Russian and Eastern European studies, Ethan is particularly interested in domestic issues, particularly entrepreneurial enterprise, within Russia, as well as Arctic security issues. Having looked at Russia for 13 years from his back yard, Ethan is particularly excited to continue studies on the region. Ethan spent this summer in Tbilisi, Georgia after receiving a Critical Language Scholarship for Russian. In his spare time, Ethan participates in the Russian and Slavic Student Association and can be found behind a cup of espresso or looking for Boston’s best Indian food.

Shelby Luce

Shelby is a sophomore from Carmel, California. She is passionate about social justice issues and is interested in studying Environmental Science and Community Health. Along with participating in EPIIC, she is the Co-Director of the Tufts Sustainability Collective, is a member of the Tufts Dance Collective, is part of Tufts Club Soccer, and is involved in Tufts Partners in Health. This past summer, Shelby worked for Girl Rising in New York City. She is passionate about Russian military strategy and Russian agricultural issues.

Jack Margolin

Jack is a junior from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in International Relations and Russian. Prior to studying at Tufts, he received his International Baccalaureate from the Atlanta International School, where he developed an interest in foreign affairs and international diplomacy. At Tufts, his IR concentration is International Security, with an academic focus on the politics and security of the former Soviet Union. His interests include youth engagement in Russian politics, relations of the former republics, and security in the Caucasus. Jack continues his academic interests extracurricularly as a delegate and social chair for Model United Nations. This past summer, he took part in an immersive language program at the Davis School of Russian at Middlebury College in order to prepare for studying abroad in St. Petersburg in the spring, where he will conduct research in coordination with EPIIC.

Vance Matthews

Vance Matthews is a freshman from Monterey, California who is interested in majoring in either international relations or economics.  In high school, Vance was involved in student government, speech and debate as well as community service.  He founded a fiscally focused non-profit to aid students affected by cancer, and was a California Scholarship Federation regional recipient.  Vance’s interest in Russia began while he was an ESL counselor during the summers of 2012 and 2013.  Through this program, he tutored foreign students, including Russians, in English.  

Aidan Nguyen

Aidan Nguyen is a senior at Tufts, studying International Relations, with a concentration in international security, and Political Science. Before coming to Tufts, he served as a congressional page in the US House of Representatives and graduated from high school with his International Baccalaureate. He has since joined several congressional and gubernatorial campaigns and worked in the offices of Rep. Kathy Castor and Sen. Bill Nelson as an intern and fellow. He has also worked with a microfinance firm in Bucerias, Mexico. He spent last year in Paris where, after an appointment from the US Embassy in Paris, he moved to an internship at UNESCO headquarters and was later appointed to serve as a second deputy there. He was also asked by Ambassador Taha Mikati and Prime Minister Najib Mikati to join the central team of the Mikati Foundation during its expansion from a national to an international organisation. Aidan is excited to be joining EPIIC this year and is interested in the future of Russian politics and the organisation of opposition parties, the emergence of new media, independent press, and relations with former Soviet states. He also participates in ALLIES, the Field Ex Committee, LCS, and MUN on campus.

Benjamin Shipley

Benjamin Shipley is a sophomore with plans to major in international relations and political science, while also studying Russian and French. Born and raised in New York, Ben was introduced to politics at an early age and became interested in the international sphere soon after, when he went on his first trip to Europe. Ben has previously worked for U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, gaining valuable experience and learning about government work. Next summer, he hopes to work for the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs in either the Office of Policy and Global Issues, or the Office of Russian Affairs. He looks forward to learning about Russia and the experience he will gain from EPIIC.

Ben Spevack

Ben is a senior at Tufts, majoring in International Relations.  He began studying Russian in high school and, since coming to Tufts, has expanded his studies to include the geopolitics and cultures of the post-Soviet states, concentrating in the Caucasus and Central Asia.  This summer, Ben traveled to Kazakhstan, where he was hosted by the Eurasian National University to conduct research for his senior thesis on the New Silk Road in Central Asia.  He also studies Chinese and studied at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou in the fall of 2013.  At Tufts, Ben is also involved in the Russian and Slavic Students Association, China-US Symposium, ALLIES and Tufts Emergency Medical Services.  

Caitlin Thompson

Caitlin is a sophomore from Carmel, CA, pursing a major in International Relations with a concentration in Global Health and a minor in Russian. On campus, she is involved in Model UN, as well as the Tufts Equestrian team. Her interest in Russia stems from her passion for human rights and public health, supplemented by her fascination with journalism and freedom of expression. This past summer, Caitlin worked at The Borgen Project, a non-profit organization that focuses on global poverty related issues. She wrote for the group’s online magazine, reporting on topics from poverty in the struggling European Union countries to the persistence problem with alcohol in Russia. Caitlin is interested in becoming a foreign correspondent or an international prosecutor later in life, but for now, she is content learning everything there is to know about Russia through EPIIC. This year, Caitlin hopes to focus on the formation of a national identity and development in post-Soviet republics, as well as the interaction between the government’s decisions and the every day lives of citizen. She hopes to pursue research on Russia’s failing public health system and crippling rural poverty, and examine how the Kremlin’s priorities diminish the attention paid to policies in this area.