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The American Countil of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) Post-Secondary Russian Scholar Laureate Award (PSRSLA) recognizes outstanding students who are studying Russian at the college/university level. The nominations revealed that there are some fantastic, dedicated, talented students in our Russian programs around the country who were honored. This is a wonderful way to applaud the efforts of our best students, while letting them know that we in the field appreciate and value their achievements. Moreover, because this is a selective, national program, students will be able to exploit the award as further testament to their skills and abilities as they enter the job market.


  1. Normally departments (be they independent or part of a larger Modern Language department) may nominate one student from either the junior or senior class.
  2. Eligibility is based on the demonstration of an active dedication - in course work, outside activites, attitude - to the study of Russian language and culture. Past laureates have demonstrated their enthusiasm for things Russian by becoming majors or minors, excelling in our courses on Russian language, literature and culture, participating in the National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest, the Poetry Evening, Russian clubs or Russian houses (among other things!).

2012 Laureate
Kyle Barry

Kyle has distinguished himself in both language and literature classes. Always going beyond the bare minimum, Kyle delves deeply and broadly in the subjects he studies. He is a lover of poetry and can recite both English and Russian poems by heart. So comfortable is he with poems in either language that he is able to quote a poem during class to make a point. Having started Russian at Rutgers, Kyle made remarkable progress in his proficiency in the language, and his language abilities and literary talents won him several awards in different years in the ACTR Post Secondary Essay Competition, as well as our own internal competition. Kyle was also inducted into Dobro Slovo, the National Slavic Honor Society. He participated in our summer program in St. Petersburg, living with a host family, and exploring the city with a curiosity and an openness to difference that deepened his knowledge of the city and its cultural heritage. He has been an active member of our student Russian Club and is a champion in Rubik's Cube competitions. Kyle also successfully completed a major in History and has plans to study next year in the European University in St. Petersburg, Russia, and continue graduate work in Russian in the United States after he returns with an M. A.

Kyle Peterhof

2011 Laureate
Robert Campana

Robert is a truly exceptional student whose gift for language acquisition, combined with an extremely high motivation, dedication, and hard work, has brought him to a rather advanced level of mastery in Russian. In 3 years Robert has completed all the requirements for the Russian Minor (moreover, he has taken courses beyond those that are required), while successfully pursuing his Major in Chemical Engineering. Robert’s dedication to and love for Russian, Russia, and Russians is self-evident and beyond any doubt. After graduating from Rutgers next year with a Major in Chemical Engineering and a Minor in Russian, Robert is hoping to put both to work in the country that he fell in love with – Russia.

Campana laureate

2010 Laureates
Erik Carmelia
Awarded Posthumously

Before his untimely death in February, Erik was a model student. He was particularly gifted in foreign languages and majored in Russian with minors in French and German. The study of languages and literature seems to have been something he did for himself, out of a love and respect for language itself. All his instructors speak of him as having been remarkably able to understand difficult grammatical points and to read and speak at a level beyond his actual level of study. Erik was frequently seen reading newspapers in several languages and was often deep in a book during his spare time. A participant in our first summer program in St. Petersburg, Erik proved himself not only to be an excellent student of foreign languages but also a keen observer of life around him in Russia. His e-journals were wonderful "snapshots" of the sights he saw on his travels around the city and were filled with interesting contrasts to what he knew of America.

Erik always challenged himself. He chose difficult poems to recite in class and at our evening of Russian poetry, and participated in the weekly Russian conversation group and the essay competition. He was inducted into the Slavic Honor Society, Dobro Slovo, in 2009.

People who get "the Russian bug" are a special breed and do not always come from the same mold as everyone else. Erik was one of us.

Erik Grad1

Peter Boyajian
Rutgers Camden

Peter has sought every opportunity to pursue his interest in Russia and Russian History. A student at Camden, where Russian is not taught, he has worked on his own and in independent studies to study Russian. He was an ideal participant in our first summer program in St. Petersburg in 2009. His work in St. Petersburg was exceptional as was his willingness to help and contribute to the general good of the program. Back home, he set hiself an ambitious agenda for study and displayed a remarkable ability to master new material quickly. He continues to be a real scholar and will participate again this summer on our St. Petersburg program. He hopes to return to Russia to work after graduation.

Peter is truly an great student: he is intelligent, has a big and open heart, and a true love for Russia and the Russian language--одним словом, настоящий интеллигент!

Peter grad

2009 Laureate
Tiffani Jarnigan

Tiffani has been a wonderful student in our Program. Her true dedication to Russian Studies is evidenced by her having spent a WINTER semester in St. Petersburg. Tiffani is always ready to help the cause of Russian studies.  She helps students when they need special tutoring, she meets regularly with a young visiting scholar from Kazakhstan to exchange help in Russian and English, and most recently she attended an orientation session for prospective students for our new study abroad program to give the students perspective on the experience of studying in Russia. Among her many accomplishments is her excellent interdisciplinary honors thesis on Russian Orthodoxy and Russian Nationalism. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Dobro Slovo, and will graduate from Rutgers College this May with High Honors. She is quite simply an outstanding person and one who has a serious interest in Russian.



2008 Laureate
Tatiana Borisova


Tatiana has contributed her time and energy to our Practicant Program, where advanced students assist instructors grading, checking homework and assisting students. She has been excellent in this capacity and has also volunteered to hold a conversation group once a week for interested students. Her Russian is native and she works to improve it through class work, reading and writing. Her academic record is impeccable and her work in Russian Literature has been outstanding.

Borisova laureate web




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