IREES Award for Excellence in Area Studies

The Institute for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (IREES) seeks to enhance students' knowledge about Russia, Europe, and Eurasia. The Institute encourages students to take a broad range of courses related to the IREES region and to participate in IREES events and programs.

Undergraduate and graduate students who have an outstanding record in IREES-related coursework and significant engagement with IREES programs and activities are eligible to receive the IREES Award for Excellence in Area Studies. Multiple awards are offered annually. 

Contact Information:

For information on this award, please contact Golfo Alexopoulos at or Victor Peppard at

PAST award winners: 

Nataliya Kuzmin recently graduated from USF after earning two degrees, one in Psychology and another in World Languages, with a concentration in Russian. Nataliya was born in Ukraine and grew up speaking Russian. She chose to study the language at USF because she wanted to improve her reading and writing. Her goal is to be proficient enough to transcribe her grandmother's old recipes and read her mother's favorite Russian classics. Throughout her undergraduate years, Nataliya served on the executive board of the Russian Language and Culture Association in various capacities. In her last semester, Nataliya worked as the president of the organization leading a myriad of events. Her favorite event hosted by the Russian Language and Culture Association is the yearly celebration of Maslenitsa.


James Greene graduated from USF in Spring 2021 with a B.A. in World Languages (Russian) and History. At the undergraduate level, he was able to utilize the resources in both major departments, as well as the extracurricular enrichment provided by the Institute on Russia, to open previously unknown academic and career paths. He is currently enrolled in the History M.A. program at USF where he hopes to further study Freemasonry and its impact upon Russian history, literature, society, and contemporary politics.