Melissa Warner ’12 is spending her summer in New York City providing support for the Russian American Foundation’s (RAF) 10th Annual Russian Heritage Festival, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive program and the National Security Language Initiative for Youth language program.
“I really enjoy working with RAF because I think the work they are doing to promote understanding between Americans and Russians is very valuable in our increasingly globally connected world,” explains Warner. “By helping to support each of RAF’s initiatives, I’ve seen firsthand how the organization’s goals of fostering bilateral cultural understanding and educating youth are carried out in all their events and programs. As a result, I’m very proud to continue to be a part of their organization.”
Warner was invited to return this summer by RAF Vice President Rina Kirshner after serving as a marketing and special events intern last summer and a part-time volunteer over winter break. This summer, Warner is again helping to promote and organize activities.
“The summer is RAF’s busiest time, so it’s really interesting to work here right now,” says Warner. “I am constantly being given new assignments within different divisions of RAF, so my responsibilities are always changing.”
Warner adds that she has benefitted from her time with RAF.
“Working at RAF is a great way for me to keep up my Russian language skills and keep myself up to date on current Russian culture and issues, which is very important since I’m going to graduate school for Slavic Languages and Literatures,” says Warner. “I’ve also learned so much from RAF about how a non-profit is successfully run and I believe that the organizational skills and event planning skills I’ve gained from working at RAF will prove invaluable for whatever job I take in the future.”
This fall, Warner will begin her Ph.D. program in Slavic languages and literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and hopes to stay in contact with the organization.
On campus, Warner was the vice president of Russian Society, served as a member of the Libertango Executive Board, wrote for the Herald, volunteered with America Reads, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Warner previously completed a nine-week intensive Russian language immersion program at Middlebury College. She graduated from William Smith summa cum laude in Russian language and culture and Asian languages and cultures.
In the photo above, Melissa Warner’12 is at the opening ceremony of the Russian American Foundation’s 10th Annual Russian Heritage Festival® at the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.