Russian student returns after 30 years to reminsce
Katie Clarke, Features Editor
October 5, 2009
Filed under Lifestyles
Matthew Stershic is a 1977 graduate of JC with a Ph.D. in Chemistry. He studied Russian with Ed Miller and kept in close contact with him over the years. His Russian foundation has opened many doors for Stershic in the business world. Recently, Stershic returned to John Carroll to sit in on Mr. Miller’s Russian class and to find out how the school has changed since his graduation.
Katie Clarke : How is JC different from when you were a student?
Matt Stershic : It’s gotten bigger and it has a different feel, I can’t say if it’s better or worse. The facilities are definitely better and the arts area has dramatically improved.
KC : Has JC been a large part of your life after graduation?
MS: I’ve kept up with alumni stuff and I had my 30-year reunion last year. I’ve kept in close contact with Mr. Miller over the years especially.
KC: How has Russian affected your career and what is the impact that JC had on your Russian studies?
MS: John Carroll gave me a phenomenal background in Russian. I started at James Madison University in upper level language classes [because of my Russian foundation in high school]. In my career, Russian helped me develop relationships with some former colleagues in Kazakhstan and helped me break through some cultural barriers. [Russian] basic principles helped me to learn other languages more easily when I studied German, French and Japanese.
KC: How did your language studies differ in college than from high school?
MS: College classes were a little more intense and much more is done in the [target] language. A lot of the language classes is listening.
KC: What would be your most important advice to language students?
MS: Listen and learn. Repetition is key.
KC: Did you ever visit Russia while the country was still a communist nation? What was Russia like during that time and how does that compare to Russia now?
MS: I went on an excursion trip to Russia with Mr. Miller in 1977 and we visited Moscow and St. Petersburg. You can’t compare the two (Russia under communism vs. now). Moscow has gone from being a dreary, ugly city to an absolutely thriving one today. It’s very westernized now. St. Petersburg is a wonderful place. It’s been cleaned up and is a beautiful city now.
KC: Is there anything about schools and colleges that you’d like to change?
MS: We don’t have enough people in science in the United States. How do we get kids interested in science? I’ve seen the world compliments of the companies I’ve worked for and it is because of chemistry.
Katie Clarke can be reached at email@example.com for any further questions.