Meet the 17th Class of the Alfa Fellowship Program

Alfa Fellows from the 2019-2020 class visit the Valaam Monastery.

NEW YORK — Cultural Vistas is pleased to introduce the Alfa Fellowship Program’s 17th class of fellows. The 17th class consists of 18 emerging leaders from across the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany in the fields of economics, risk and legal consulting, financial analysis, public policy, arts and culture, journalism, business, and academia.

Fellows completed four months of intensive language tutoring in their home countries, then spent the summer in Moscow continuing their language training, while also attending lectures at the Higher School of Economics and participating in business meetings with private and public sector leaders.

They also used the summer to explore Russia, both via two trips organized by the program and on their own. The program’s first regional trip was a mid-summer visit to St. Petersburg and a boat trip to the island monastery of Valaam, which is only accessible by water. The second trip was in late summer to Kaliningrad, where in addition to topical meetings, fellows had the opportunity to visit the Curonian Spit (Kurshskaya Kosa).

Curonian Spit, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. Photo Credit: 2019-2020 Alfa Fellow, Kenneth Wayne Smith, Jr.

Fellows have now started their work placements, which will last through the end of April. The placements are as varied as the fellows themselves and their professional backgrounds; examples include Control Risks, the World Bank, BP, and the Museum of Cosmonautics.

In addition to the daily professional and cultural immersion of spending 11 months in Moscow, fellows will be traveling for the first time this December to Uzbekistan, where they will be visiting the ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand along the Silk Road.

Meet Our 17th Class of Alfa Fellows

Howard Amos
United Kingdom

Education: University College London School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, MA, Political Science; Oxford University, BA, History
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Senior Editor at The Calvert Journal
Area of Interest: Political Analysis

Helen Beckner
United States

Education: London School of Economics, MS, European Studies; University of Wisconsin-Madison, BA, International Studies (Global Security Option) and Spanish
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Intelligence Analyst Europe, Russia, and CIS region at WorldAware (previously iJET International)
Area of Interest: Business

Jake Cordell
United Kingdom

Education: University of Edinburgh, MA, History
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Head of Outreach at Prague Civil Society Centre & Economics Correspondent at City AM (London)
Area of Interest: Journalism and Public Policy

Isabella Craft
United Kingdom

Education: University of Bristol, BA, Russian and Spanish
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Russia/CIS Business Development Executive at Mishcon de Reya LLP; Business Development Manager at Russo-British Chamber of Commerce
Area of Interest: Trade and Development

Nicola Habersetzer
Germany

Education: University of Potsdam, MA, Political Science; University of Göttingen, BA, Political Science and Economics
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Project Assistant for “Women, Peace and Security: A Chance for Georgia’s and Ukraine’s Protracted Conflicts?” at Polis180
Area of Interest: Human Rights & Public Policy

Grace Kenneally
United States

Education: Johns Hopkins University, MA, International Economics and European & Eurasian Studies; Tulane University, BA, International Relations and Russian Studies
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: International Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission
Area of Interest: Business

Kamila Kocialkowska
United Kingdom

Education: University of Edinburgh, MA, Fine Art, and Courtauld Institute of Art, MA, Art History
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge
Area of Interest: Art & Culture

Jan Lindenau
Germany

Education: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, BA, German & Slavic Studies
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Freelance Reporter at WELT, VICE
Area of Interest: Journalism

Cyrus Newlin
United States

Education: Swarthmore College, BA, Political Science & Russian Studies
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Research Associate/Program Manager at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Area of Interest: Geopolitical/Macroeconomic Risk

Zachary Palomo
United States

Education: Carnegie Mellon University, MS, Public Policy; University of Rochester, BA, International Relations
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Assistant Vice President in Bank Secrecy Act, Anti-Money Laundering, and Sanctions Compliance at PNC Bank
Area of Interest: Risk Management and Analytics

Aaron Rosen
United States

Education: George Washington University, MIS, U.S. Foreign Policy; London School of Economics, MSc, Empires, Colonialism and Globalization; University of Central Florida, BA, International Relations & Comparative Politics
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Associate of International Policy at MUFG Bank, Ltd.
Area of Interest: International Affairs

Melissa Samarin
United States

Education: University of Oxford, MSc, Russian and East European Studies; Whittier College, BA, International Relations
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley
Area of Interest: Political Analysis and Research

Johanna v. Seckendorff
Germany

Education: Second State Examination and Legal Clerkship at the District Government of Upper Bavaria; Ludwig-Maximilians-University-Munich, (Legal Studies and First State Examination)
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Legal Counsel at CRX Markets AG
Area of Interest: Business Law

Kenneth Wayne Smith Junior
United States

Education: Georgia Institute of Technology, MS, Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering; University of Akron, BS, Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Structural Dynamicist at NASA Langley Research Center
Area of Interest: Aerospace Engineering/Human Space Flight/Space Policy/Public Policy

Reid Standish
United States

Education: University of Glasgow, MIA, Russian, Central, and Eastern European Studies; KIMEP University, MA, International Relations; Simon Fraser University, BA, International Studies
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Freelance Correspondent at The Atlantic, POLITICO Europe
Area of Interest: Journalism

Dominik Tomenendal
Germany

Education: Ludwig-Maximilians-University-Munich, MA, Political Science; Universität Regensburg, MA, Political Science & History
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Director of Studies at Europäische Akademie Bayern
Area of Interest: Research or NGOs

Spencer Vukic
United States

Education: Johns Hopkins University, MA, International Relations; Mercyhurst University, BA, Russian Studies
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Associate at TD International
Area of Interest: Business

Lucie Wuester
Germany

Education: Johns Hopkins University SAIS, MA, European and Eurasian Studies; University of Glasgow, MA, Central & Eastern European Studies
Professional Experience Prior to Fellowship: Researcher at Central Asia Caucasus Institute
Area of Interest: International Organizations