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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

SU takes top honors at New York State Russian Language Competition

Arts and Sciences students take first and third place overall

April 21, 2010, by Rob Enslin

Syracuse University came out on top at the New York State Russian Language Competition, held last weekend on campus. Samantha Costello ‘13, a freshman majoring in Russian language, literature and culture, placed first overall. Elin Wiklund ‘12, a sophomore majoring in international relations, placed third overall. Other SU participants were Marie Morrow and Tyler Mills, both international relations majors from the Class of ’13.

“It was amazing to connect with so many students from all over the state and to bond over our mutual affinity for Russian language and culture,” says Costello, one of nearly 30 students who competed in poetry recitation, spontaneous speaking, reading, and grammar. “Just the act of reciting and conversing with Russian professors and with other students provided a wealth of knowledge.” 

Student participants came from SU, Binghamton University, Hamilton College, Union College, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, and the U.S. Military Academy.

Organizers Erika Haber, Zofia Sztechmiler, and Gerald Greenberg, instructors in SU’s Russian Language Program, agree that the event is a fun way to network with other students. “While nervous going into the competition, our students enjoyed themselves and came away from the event motivated and eager to continue their Russian studies in our program,” says Haber. Wiklund echoes these sentiments. “Not only did my preparation help me with the competition, but also it improved my Russian skills, in general. Plus, I made some new friends in the process," she says.

Each year, the New York State Russian Language Competition travels from campus to campus, highlighting the best in first- and second-year language students. “It was neat to see how much I’ve progressed with Russian,” recalls Mills, who hopes to compete next year.

The competition was presented at SU in conjunction with the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, which is housed in The College of Arts and Sciences and promotes the study of languages, literature and culture, and language theory.