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Why Michigan?

For over 50 years, the University of Michigan has been training Russian, East European, and Eurasian specialists.

Many alumni from CREES and other degree programs have gone on to have distinguished academic careers; 10 have directed area studies centers at major U.S. universities. CREES-affiliated University of Michigan alumni have also pursued careers in the following fields:

  • Government - CIA; Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State Departments; NSC; NSF; U.S. Army; U.S. Forest Service
  • Non-profit sector - American Councils for International Education, CIEE, Human Rights Watch, IREX, Kennan Institute, NDI, Open Society Institute, Oxfam
  • For-profit sector - Citigroup, GM, Merrill Lynch
  • International organizations - EBRD, OSCE, United Nations, World Bank

Are you curious about the career possibilities that a degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from the University of Michigan provides? Here are examples of what a few alumni have done since leaving U-M, including insights for current and prospective students on what to do with a REES degree.

Mike MacQueen (photo:

How can your Michigan REES M.A. degree be useful?

Here's Mike MacQueen's answer: "The broad exposure to East European culture, politics, economics and history in my REES M.A. program provided a solid foundation for my past work focusing on the investigation of WWII crimes in Poland, Belarus and the Baltic States. I am still drawing on this now as I investigate crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Moreover, over the course of my career, I have relied on connections and contacts made during my REES studies. When making a recent hiring decision, I’ve also have had the satisfaction of knowing that the candidate with a Michigan REES background was someone with a solid and sound background."

Mike MacQueen (M.A. REES '83) used his language and area studies training during his 20+ years at the Department of Justice, most recently serving as chief of investigative research in the Office of Special of Special Investigations. In 2008, he moved to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Department of Homeland Security, where he continues to work on Balkan cases. Read more about Mike's work in The New York Times and Newsweek.

Jill Dougherty (BA Slavic Languages and Literatures '70) began working at CNN in 1983, where she was a foreign affairs correspondent and Moscow Bureau Chief from 1997-2005. After leaving the network in 2013, she has been a fellow at Harvard and the Kennan Institute.

Dougherty delivered the keynote lecture, "Found in Translation: My Life, Thanks to Michigan," during the International Institute Bicentennial Symposium in March 2017. Watch the full video here, or see below for her reasons for choosing to study Russian at Michigan.

Visit our Alumni pages to read more about what students who completed REES or related degrees at the University of Michigan have done since graduation.