Career Success

By Ksenia Lukanova

Despite a strong affinity for history and all things historical, 2001 graduate Natalya Chernyshova had never considered pursuing history as a profession. That is, not until she enrolled at AUBG and got a first taste of what it might be to become seriously involved in the study of history.  

Natalya, who is currently a Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Winchester, England, double-majored in Journalism and Mass Communication and History as an undergraduate. She admits that being a historian “certainly wasn't the plan” when she came to AUBG. She loved history since she was a child and devoured history novels, but she never thought about making it her profession. When she graduated from AUBG she first worked in media and later earned a master’s degree in European Studies at King’s College, University of London.

However, the history classes she took at AUBG had cultivated her appetite for serious scholarly work. “The pull of doing history was always there,” she says. After completing her master’s degree, she finally gave in and went for a doctorate in history. “I was attracted by the possibility of doing in-depth research on something I was interested in,” Natalya says. “Being a researcher gives one amazing freedom: to pursue a subject that is of interest and importance to you, while also feeling that the results might be useful to others.”

Natalya says that AUBG helped her become what she is today in more than one way. Allowing her to major in two subjects and introducing her to a number of fascinating people are among the top factors that made AUBG such an incredible place to be. Natalya met one of the major influences in life at the University: Professor Craig McCaughrin was a visiting professor of politics from Virginia, USA for several years and one who “always put his students first, encouraged them and supported their development, often going out of his way to help,” she says.

Natalya liked that AUBG challenged her to give her best and be ambitious. “We were pushed to work hard, which prepared us well for the future.” Most of all, Natalya enjoyed the variety and the freedom of choice AUBG gave her. She said she felt encouraged to do subjects she probably would never have tried otherwise and doing history at AUBG built important foundations for further study.

Today, Natalya teaches courses on Soviet, East European, and 20th century European history to undergraduates at the University of Winchester. “I love my job,” she says, adding that the best part of her job is the research and writing. “I like going after a question – it is a bit like detective work.” She also likes teaching, although she did not think she would. “It is very rewarding to get a student become so interested in something you talked about in class that they want to investigate it further,” she says. “It is great to see young people develop and mature as they move from their first year to being graduates and to feel that perhaps you, too, contributed your little bit to this process.”

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