Russian at the CLRC

Russian culture and history are endlessly fascinating and intriguing. Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy; all have their place in our common culture. Yet, as a place where East meets West, Russia has always been intriguingly different.

Sue Ellen Turscak, M.A.

sue-ellen-turscak-great-books-clrcSue Ellen Turscak studied Russian and Ukrainian from an early age. She concentrated in Russian History and Literature at Harvard, and worked as an oral history interviewer for the Ukrainian Famine Commission, interviewing those who lived through the Stalin era in the Soviet Union. She received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in Russian Pedagogy and is a life member of ACTR, the American Council of Teachers of Russian. She has taught four levels of high school Russian at independent college preparatory schools in Ohio and Virginia, and led student exchange programs to St. Petersburg.

Mrs. Turscak homeschooled her two children through high school. Her son works as a data scientist for a major consulting firm, and her daughter is a software developer for Microsoft. Sue Ellen resides with her husband and one very grumpy cat in Northeast Ohio, and attends St. Elia the Prophet Orthodox Church. She enjoys international travel, Slavic music, literature, cooking, and folklore, and has an embarrassingly large collection of matryoshka dolls.

Anna Shkireva, M.A.

Anna Shkireva is from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. She received her MA degree in International Relations from the State University of Nizhny Novgorod and completed her second MA degree in TESOL at the University of New Mexico. Now, Anna is working toward her PhD in Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies. Her main interests are second language acquisition, instructional communication and classroom applications that support the development of students’ interest and persistence. Anna is passionate about teaching and learning foreign languages, sharing Russian culture with students, hiking, snowboarding, running and kayaking. Her next personal goal is to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.


Lydia Aleshin, B.A.

Lydia Aleshin received her B.A. in Russian Language and Literature from S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook. She received highest honors and the Stony Brook Russian Award. She was raised bilingually, immersed in the Slavic culture, and studied for a summer semester in Moscow and Leningrad. After graduating, she taught privately and traveled the world extensively for eight years as a consultant for tourists and professional educational groups, specializing in the former U.S.S.R.

She took a hiatus from travel to raise her children, though continued teaching private lessons. Lydia has been teaching for over 20 years, interprets, and has engaged in cultural and citizen diplomacy. She has taught Intensive Russian, Russian Language and Culture, Russian Literature, Russia-Ukraine-Belarus Current Events, Russian Cooking, ESL, and more at Shepherd University, two local colleges, and at public as well as private schools and venues.

Lydia loves sharing the Russian culture and teaching language to people of all ages. When not teaching she enjoys reading, writing, art, baking with her granddaughter, and is working on a cultural art cookbook. Three adorable cats keep her family entertained on a daily basis.