A serendipitous suggestion

Nadia Vinogradova ’13 followed the suggestion of one of her professors to apply to Northwestern University’s competitive Slavic Literature program and was admitted for the fall semester.

Nadia Vinogradova ’13 accepted one of only two spots in Northwestern University’s PhD program for Slavic Literature. For her, it is a dream come true.

Vinogradova double majored in English writing and chemistry as a student at Lake Forest College. Here, that is not such an unlikely coupling.

“I think only in a liberal arts college could I have received such personal attention and been allowed to major in such different disciplines,” Vinogradova said. “The chemistry and English majors complemented each other well, although scheduling required some work (mainly around labs). My advisors and the departments were flexible and helped me to navigate my two majors.”

She appreciated her chemistry major for its research and independent study opportunities. She tacked on her English major after taking a few literature and writing courses for fun and finding that both “the writing and literature branches of the English department are very strong and gave me compelling and challenging texts to grapple with.”

Vinogradova first realized a serious interest in Slavic literature the summer after her first year at the College. She was working as a Richter Scholar with Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry Dawn Wiser when she was offered a second opportunity: translating Anton Chekhov’s play Three Sisters from Russian into English for the theater department with the help of Lecturer in Theater Richard Corley.

“This experience was marvelous because I got to see transformation of text across language and then onto the stage,” said Vinogradova, whose native language is Russian.

Later, Associate Professor of English Carla Arnell introduced her to Northwestern University’s Professor Gary Saul Morson and suggested that she apply for the program.

“It has shown to be a serendipitous suggestion,” Vinogradova said.

She looks forward to the Slavic languages and literatures department for its comparative and interdisciplinary approach.

“I really want to study Russian and British literature, and these interests seem to be a good fit for the school,” she said. “I’m really grateful and happy to have been accepted.” 

In the future, Vinogradova hopes to write and teach in a university setting, though she also intends to explore avenues of research and possibly get the chance to travel.