CSEES Graduate Spotlight: Hayden Hayes
What first piqued your interest in Eastern Europe?
I became interested in Eastern Europe during the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea. At the time, I knew little about Russia and Eastern Europe as a whole. After reading several compelling news stories about the situation in Ukraine, I decided to pursue a degree in Russian language and international studies with a concentration in Slavic and East European studies at Ohio State as an undergraduate in 2015. After having the privilege of studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan through the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship in 2017, I developed a real passion for the Russian language and all aspects of East European and Central Asian area studies. From there, I decided that the best way to expand my knowledge of the region and improve my Russian language skills was through the MA program at the Center for Slavic and East European Studies.
What became the focus of your studies as you progressed in our MA program?
Upon entering the MA program, I knew that I wanted to have a geographic focus on Russia. This was largely due to my prior Russian language experience, but I also wanted to expand my knowledge of both Russian domestic politics and foreign policy. As my studies progressed I became increasingly interested in Russian domestic policies concerning Chechnya. In order to further my knowledge of this region I was able to complete both an independent study and Masters research course pertaining to Chechnya and Russian domestic politics.
What are your future plans?
I have accepted a job as a Litigation Assistant with an international law firm in Miami, Florida. I hope that this job will allow me to use the language skills and area studies knowledge that I developed during my time at CSEES while also gaining professional experience. Right now, I am planning on entering law school in two years to continue my education. After law school, I hope to practice corporate law in an international setting.
What, as you exit, was your impression of our MA program?
Overall, the decision to pursue an MA in Slavic and East European Studies at CSEES has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have been surrounded by an amazing cohort of individuals that all share an interest in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The CSEES-affiliated faculty have been incredibly supportive in all of my classes and truly care about the success of their students.
Do you have any advice for current/future CSEES grads?
My advice is to not be afraid to seek out the guidance of your professors when you are working on research projects, papers, or if you just want to discuss the readings a bit more in-depth. Also, I would encourage everyone to take one or two courses outside of their specific area of focus. I think that taking courses outside of your specialization is a great way to think about various issues from a different perspective and gain valuable new insight.
Just for fun: A random fact about yourself!
In my free time I enjoy snowboarding, golfing, hiking, and traveling!