LAWRENCE — The Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies has announced that this year’s Roy D. and Betty Laird Essay Contest winners are Department of History doctoral student Robert Jameson, for his essay titled “Crimea as Kosovo and Sudetenland: The Peril of Historical Narratives in the 2014 Russo-Ukrainian Crisis” and REES co-major Natalie Cristin-Perry for her essay “Progress through Dispute: The Caspian Oil Power Struggle and Its Effects on Central Asian Cooperation.”
Now in its 20th year, the annual essay contest is named after the late Dr. Roy D. Laird, a longtime member of the Russian and East European studies and political science faculties, and Betty Laird, whose support makes this prize possible. In honor of the award's 20th anniversary, the Laird Essay Competition was split into two categories: undergraduate and graduate.
A committee of three REES faculty read and independently rated the anonymous essays submitted for the contest. According to CREES Director Mariya Omelicheva, Jameson’s essay was “a true opinion piece” and noted its timeliness, cogency and strong composition. Perry was given special commendation for being the first winner of the new undergraduate category.
As the graduate recipient of the award, Jameson receives a $500 award and a book budget of $75. Perry, the undergraduate recipient, receives a $250 award. Both essays will be published on the CREES website, and Jameson will present his essay at the final CREES Brownbag of the year, which will be at noon today in 318 Bailey.
Robert Jameson received his bachelor's degree in history and international studies from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2010, and his master's degree in history from Iowa State University in Ames in 2013. His paper "Armageddon's Shortening Fuse: How Advances in Nuclear Weapons Technology Pushed Strategists to Mutually Assured Destruction, 1945-1962" was published in spring 2013 in the Air Force Historical Foundation's journal, Air Power History. He has been recognized by the KU Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures for excellence in intermediate Czech studies and was also awarded a Summer 2014 FLAS for Czech study at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.
In May 2014, Natalie Cristin Perry is graduating from KU with a bachelor's degree in Slavic languages & literatures and a co-major in Russian, East European & Eurasian studies. Her academic awards include an AY 2012-13 FLAS Fellowship, Larry D. Horner Scholarship 2012, Gilman Scholarship 2012 and an Office of International Programs Scholarship 2012. She has been a CREES student assistant since Fall 2011 and is also currently working as a Russian interpreter at Seaman School District in Topeka. After graduating this May, she will begin a job as a Russian translator with American Business Consulting based out of Irvine, Calif.
CREES is designated a National Resource Center for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia by the Department of Education and receives Title VI funds for educational outreach activities. For more information on CREES events and activities, visit www.crees.ku.edu or call (785) 864-4236.