Staff Profiles

Oscar Swan, PhD
Director, Russian and East European Summer Language Institute (SLI)
University of Pittsburgh

Oscar Swan founded SLI in 1988, during his tenure as the Chairman of the Department of Slavic Languages. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Polish, Russian, and Slavic linguistics and pedagogy, and on Polish culture and cultural history.


Christine Metil
Associate Director, Russian and East European Summer Language Institute (SLI)
University of Pittsburgh

Christine has enjoyed planning and implementation of all aspects of SLI since its beginnings in 1988. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and studied at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan and the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She is also the Director of the Slovak Heritage Festival at Pitt.


Maher Al-Khateeb
Arabic
Northern Kentucky University
Biljana Amidovic
Beginning and Intermediate Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
University of Montenegro

Biljana was trained as a secondary school English teacher and teaches at a High School in Niksic, Montenegro—a small country on the Adriatic famous for its natural beauty. She has been teaching Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian at the Beginning and Intermediate levels in SLI since 2007 and is the site coordinator of the Pitt-Montenegro program.


Zhanna Budenkova
Beginning Russian
University of Pittsburgh
Zhanna is a PhD student in Film Studies and Slavic at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her MA from Ruhr-Universität in Germany. Her research interests cover early Soviet cinema and science fiction films in the USSR. She is also working on the topic of body politics in Russian protest art. Her professional background includes journalism and involvement with documentary film production.
Eugenia Dudina
Intermediate Russian
Dickinson College
Ljiljana Durasković, PhD
Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, East European Languages Program Director
University of Pittsburgh

Ljiljana did her doctoral work in Slavic Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University, where she taught Russian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. During the academic year she teaches Russian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian at the University of Pittsburgh. She has been with SLI for 5 years, where she teaches all levels of BCS, and is the coordinator of the BCS program. Ljiljana is a certified OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) tester for both Russian and BCS.


Beata Anna Gallaher
Beginning Polish
University of South Carolina

Beata Anna Gallaher is a native of Poland. She has a Ph.D. in Russian and SLA from Bryn Mawr College, PA, an MA in Germanic Linguistics and Polish Studies from Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, and an MA in Russian Language and Literature from Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Saint Petersburg. Since 2004, she has taught Polish, German, and Russian languages in the US. Last year, she taught German to refugees in Berlin, Germany. Currently, she is teaching Russian at the University of South Carolina. She joined SLI in 2014.


Victoria Kim
Beginning Russian
Ohio State University

Victoria holds a BA in Russian Language and Literature as well as an MA in Cultural Linguistics, with an emphasis on teaching Russian as a second language, from Saint Petersburg State University. She has taught Russian to non-native speakers in Russia, Hungary, and in the United States, where she spent three years as a Language House Tutor and Visiting Instructor at the College of William & Mary. She has been with SLI since 2013. This fall, Victoria is starting the Second Language Acquisition Ph.D. Program at Ohio State University.


Frane Karabatić
Beginning and Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
University of Kansas

Originally from Split, Croatia, Frane is currently a graduate student at the University of Kansas focusing on South Slavic Literature and Culture; he has been teaching B/C/S as a second language since 2009. In addition to teaching at the SLI at the University of Pittsburgh, he has significant experience in teaching courses at the University of Kansas, the University of Iowa, and Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Besides language classes, he has also taught South Slavic Literature and Civilization, Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, Literatures of Central and Eastern Europe, Cinema in Communist and Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe, and The Vampire in Literature, Film, and Television. He has been with SLI since 2013.


Kathleen Manukyan
Coordinator of the Russian Program
University of Pittsburgh

Katie Manukyan did her doctoral work in Slavic Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University, where she taught Russian language, Czech language, and Russian literature. Originally from northern Virginia, her travels have taken her to Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Armenia. She lived in Moscow for two years, where she studied Russian language and music performance. 


Marcela Michálková, PhD
Prešov University

Marcela earned her PhD in Slavic Languages and Cultures from The Ohio State University. She taught Czech, Slovak and Russian languages and cultures at the Ohio State University, Pittsburgh University and Indiana University, Bloomington. At the Ohio State, she also coordinated the Czech program and Russian Individualized Instruction program. Currently, she works as an assistant professor of American studies at Prešov University, Slovakia.


Olga Mukhortova
Advanced Russian - Project GO, Narva, Estonia
Russian State University/University of Pittsburgh

Olga Mukhortova has been teaching Russian language, literature, and culture to foreign students for 20 years in Russian and American Universities. Currently, she is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. Olga holds her MA degree from the University of Pittsburgh (2013). She received her first specialist degree in Russian and Bulgarian Languages and Literatures from the Samara Academy for the Humanities (1997) and the second specialist degree in Cultural Studies from the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, Russia (2001). She also has full OPI certification in Russian from ACTFL (2015). Olga joined SLI in 2010. Now, she teaches the 4th Year Russian and serves as a Lead Instructor in Narva, Estonia.


Robert Mulcahy, PhD
Director of Pitt in Moscow
College of William & Mary

Robert has worked at the College of William & Mary since 2014. He teaches various levels of Russian language, as well as courses in film, culture, folklore, and literature. He has also taught at SLI.


Lenka Pánková
Metropolitan University Prague

Lenka Pankova, formerly a full-time faculty member at Pitt, now teaches for the Metropolitan University Prague. Her SLI tasks are to coordinate students' cultural program in Prague and to help during their adjustment to a new environment.


Ali Yagiz Sen
Beginning Turkish
Bogazici University, Istanbul – Turkey
A native of Turkey, Yagiz is a linguist specializing in idiomatic/formulaic language. Having taught at all levels at Bogazici University's prestigious Turkish Language and Culture Program for three summers, he transitioned to the Bay Area last year where he teaches Turkish and continues his research while doing managerial linguistic work. A person of many interests and expanded curiosities, Yagiz is also a performing musician and an amateur cook.
Vlasta Stofova
Beginning to Intermediate Slovak
University of Central Florida
Vlasta is a native of Slovakia. She has been teaching all levels of Slovak
at SLI since 2003 and is the site coordinator of the Pitt-Slovakia program
in Bratislava following the six-week program in Pittsburgh. Her Ph.D. is
in Slovak Linguistics from Comenius University in Bratislava and MA in
TESOL from the University of Central Florida.
Elena Vasyanina
Moscow State University/Moscow State Linguistic University
Elena graduated from Moscow State University and received her PhD (kandidat nayk) there in 1998 after defending a thesis on Russian Language spoken by immigrants in the US. For over 20 years, she taught Russian language and culture courses to foreign students at Moscow State Linguistic University. She was a member of SLI team twice (2007, 2012).
Anastasiia Zinchenko
Advanced Russian

Anastasiia studied linguistics at Tyumen State University. Since 2011, she has been teaching Russian as a foreign language at the university level. She holds an MA in Psychology and a PhD in Cultural Studies. Anastasiia has been teaching at SLI for several years.