REEEC Graduating Student Profile: Jamie Hendrickson (MA, Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies)



Jamie Hendrickson completed her degree program this Spring 2021 semester, earning an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also earned a B.A. from Illinois in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and Slavic Languages and Literatures with a minor in History in 2019, graduating cum laude with Departmental Distinction.

As an undergraduate at Illinois, Jamie was on the Dean’s List for several consecutive years, from 2016 to 2019, and was a recipient of the Frances E. Smith Scheidel Scholarship, the Reuss Family Scholarship, and the Legacy Scholarship. She was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society, in Spring 2018 and into Dobro Slovo, the National Slavic Honor Society, in Spring 2019. She held several FLAS fellowships to study Russian, spending the summer of 2017 studying Russian at Indiana University Bloomington’s Summer Language Workshop and visiting Russia in the summer of 2018.

During Jamie’s senior year at Illinois, she completed a major research paper titled, “Strong President, Strong Russia,” which detailed and explored Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sistema (a system of governance within Russia composed of varying complex and informal networks of power and influence). Richard Tempest (Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures) served as her advisor throughout the project’s duration. Jamie’s undergraduate research interests also included topics relevant to the current Russian political regime, Sergei Nechaev’s political activities in relation to the writing of Dostoevsky’s Demons, and the music and resultant incarceration of the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot, on which she completed a capstone project.

Jamie began her REEE graduate studies at Illinois as a FLAS Fellow in Russian for 2019-2020, studying fifth-year Russian under Dr. Tempest. During this time, she also served as a lead staff writer for Illinois Physics’ semiannual magazine Condensate, which can be found online and in print. At Condensate, she was introduced to academic journalism, learning how to pitch and write new stories and lead social media campaigns under Illinois Physics Communications Coordinator Siv Schwink. Balancing her continued study of Russian with reporting on STEM news, she became very involved in School of Information Sciences (iSchool) Director Judith Pintar’s INFO 490 “Global Informatics” class, which experimented with using role-play in the classroom. Due to her performance and dedication in this class, Dr. Pintar asked Jamie to serve as her graduate assistant, helping to organize a REEEC- and iSchool-funded international online conference about misinformation tactics in the REEE region. The planning stages for the conference began in Fall 2020, during which time Jamie helped lead and organize a student panel for the Fall 2020 Playful by Design Symposium on behalf of Dr. Pintar, titled “Trolls at Play: Learning about Propaganda, Media Manipulation and Election Interference through Role-Play in the Classroom.”

In Spring 2021, Jamie became a graduate assistant for REEEC, working alongside Outreach and Programming Coordinator Stephanie Porter and Associate Director Maureen Marshall to create REEEC’s Annual Newsletter— slated to be released this June! Jamie was able to combine the writing skills she had honed over her academic career with the news-style tactics she learned as a writer for Illinois Physics to design, write, and edit news articles, profiles, and announcements for REEEC.

Jamie spent her final year in the REEES M.A. program conducting a major translation and cultural breakdown project on six early songs by Pussy Riot, thereby combining preliminary research she had conducted during her undergraduate career with the Russian language and writing skills that her FLAS fellowships and REEES coursework had helped her develop. With the supervision of REEEC Director and SourceLab editor-in-chief John Randolph (Associate Professor of History), Jamie turned her translations and historical/cultural commentary into an edition eligible for publication by SourceLab. She hopes to publish her project in the near future.

This academic year, Jamie also served as an Executive Board Member of Tea & Company, a registered student organization (RSO) where she made several beloved and hopefully life-long friends. Following her graduation, Jamie hopes to pursue a career in academic journalism or in translation while spending plenty of time with her friends and her two cats.