Oscar Swan, PhD

Academic and Founding Director

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. His Polish language website and online dictionary are cutting-edge, and his language textbooks and bicycle guides are his claim to fame.

Kathleen Manukyan, PhD

Managing Director and Coordinator of Russian Program

University of Pittsburgh

Katie Manukyan has taught all levels of Russian language and culture at the University of Pittsburgh since 2011. She has worked at SLI every summer since 2011, first as an instructor, then a director. Katie did her doctoral work in Slavic Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University, where she taught Russian language, Czech language, and Russian literature. Her research interests  are Russian Romanticism, phonetics, opera and dance, and Gogol. 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, and she still actively maintains a career in opera performance.

Christine Metil

Associate Director

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


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

4th Year 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.

Agnieszka Jezyk

Beginning Polish

University of Illinois at Chicago.

Agnieszka Jezyk, originally from Kraków, Poland, got her BA and MA in Journalism and Polish Literature from the Jagiellonian University. She is working as a lecturer of beginner Polish and Central European Culture at UCLA and is currently finishing her Ph.D. thesis on Bruno Jasieński at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her teaching interests focus on the importance of visual aids in the second language classroom. She enjoys live music, and photography.

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.

Jolanta Lion

Intermediate Polish

Carnegie Mellon University

Jolanta Lion, originally from Łódź, Poland, received her MA in Polish Language and Literature with a specialization in Linguistics and Film from the University of Łódź, Poland. She has been teaching Polish Language and Culture for beginning to advanced-level students since 1989 at the University of Łódź, Polish National Film School in Łódź, and the University of Pittsburgh, including SLI. In addition, she created and taught courses on contemporary Polish Cinema and Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski as well as founded and directed a Polish Film Festival "Through Polish Eyes." Currently, she is the Director of the Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival, "Faces," where Polish films and Polish Filmmakers are a significant component of the festival.

Ilknur Lider

Beginning Turkish

University of Pittsburgh

Originally from the Black Sea region of Turkey, Nur is a native speaker of Turkish and she has been teaching Turkish at the University of Pittsburgh’s Less Commonly Taught Languages Center since 2008. Nur holds an MPIA degree from the University of Pittsburgh and she is fully certified by ACTFL as an OPI tester for the Turkish Language. In addition to language classes, Nur teaches a general education course on Turkish Culture & Society, and she will advise students for the new Turkish Minor beginning in fall 2018. She is a fellow at the University Honors College and the chair person for the Turkish Nationality Room.  Nur serves on scholarship committees and has extensive experience mentoring students for nationally competitive scholarship applications. She has been with the SLI since 2011.

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.

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.

Natasha Samokhina

Intermediate Russian

University of Arizona

Natasha (Natalya) Samokhina received her MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Texas and PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching from the University of Arizona. She has taught various levels of the Russian language, Russian Culture through Film, intro Linguistics courses, and Academic English at the University of Arizona, Trinity College, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the University of California at Irvine. She also taught Beginning and Intermediate/Advanced Russian in the Summer Intensive Language Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and Intermediate/Advanced Russian in the Summer Program at the Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan.

Tetyana Shlikhar

Beginning Russian

University of Pittsburgh

Tetyana is an advanced PhD student in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at University of Pittsburgh. She received her MA and PhD in Translation Studies from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine), as well as MA from University of Pittsburgh (2016). Her current research interests include memory studies, historical film, and Russo-Ukrainian relations. During the academic year at the University of Pittsburgh she has taught elementary Ukrainian, intermediate Russian, Early Russian Culture, and Modern Russian Culture. Tetyana has been with SLI since 2015.

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.