Rhianna Patrinely (Left)

Rhianna Patrinely (Left)

Honors, achievements, and special recognition:

  • Academic paper, “The Aral Sea Disaster: Unequal Restoration Progress in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,” published in the inaugural edition of Trioka, abd undergraduate Slavic Studies journal at the University of California, Berkley

How I became interested in my field:

Sometimes really great opportunities find you. I sort of stumbled into studying Russian and fell in love with it. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I changed my major. Dropping one of that major’s courses and in need of another, I signed up for REES 111: Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe. The rest is history!

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me and why:

Two women inspire me every day. One is my mother and the other is Professor Irina Six. Both women have uprooted themselves to start anew when most are settling into their careers- my mother, to attend medical school, and Professor Six to teach at KU. These women exemplify the meaning of hard work and perseverance. These women have loved and inspired me through my life and college career. I hope to be able to inspire people in the same way someday.

My favorite KU memory:

I have several great memories of my time at KU, but I most enjoyed getting to know the other amazing men and women preparing to serve in our country’s Armed Forces. And of course I won’t forget the night we won the 2008 NCAA National Championship! Rock Chalk!

An important life lesson I have learned:

Many things seem important in our day-to-day lives, but focus on what’s really important at the end of everything—family and friends.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know…

You don’t have to decide your entire future right now! Pick something that interests you and start there. Your decision may change, or where it takes you may be unexpected, but as long as you enjoy what you’re doing it does not matter. There is not one right path to happiness, it is something you define on your own!