After I graduated from Carleton, I lived in Minneapolis for 2 years while I worked for Jewish Community Action as a VISTA volunteer. My job there actually did allow me to speak Russian, as I was a community organizer with Russian-speaking immigrants. It was a terrific experience and it convinced me to continue as a community organizer after moving to San Francisco. In San Francisco, I started out working for ACORN (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now--www.acorn.org). I decided to attend business school, though, and in August of 2005 I left ACORN to attend the GreenMBA program at the New College of California in Santa Rosa. This program is fascinating because it blends financial, environmental, and social justice thinking into one program. In May of '07 I'll have an MBA! I live with my fiance, Rich Higgins (Carleton class of '00), and we're getting married in May, 2006. I commute to school mostly on weekends, and I work part-time with Junior Achievement, an educational nonprofit. I can't wait to come back to Carleton for this year's 5 year reunion!
After graduating from Carleton, I spent a year in Kyrgyzstan on a Fulbright grant - and traveled throughout post-Soviet Central Asia and Iran. From there, I began an MA in International Relations and European Studies at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary. I received my MA in June 2003, and in fall of 2004, started a PhD in Comparative Gender Studies, also at CEU. Concurrently, I began working as a Research Associate (Consultant) for the Managing Multiethnic Communities Program, an in-house project of the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI), part of the Open Society Institute (Budapest, Hungary). From winter 2004 - fall 2005, I performed fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for my dissertation, the working title of which is: "Local Strategies in Globalizing Gender Politics: A Study of Women's Organizing in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan," and initiated research for a long-term project on diversity and interethnic community relations in Kyrgyzstan with LGI.