Yana Zlochistaya is a senior majoring in Comparative Literature, which means she spends most of her time frantically searching for books at the library and getting lost in Dwinelle Hall. She currently focuses on Russian, French, and English literature, though she hopes to add a few more languages to the mix in the future. Her academic interests range from Renaissance drama to the Russian avant-garde (and most things in between). Some of Yana’s other passions include watching John Oliver, listening to the Hamilton soundtrack, and consuming the white chocolate macadamia cookies they sell at Cream.
Callie Starn is a junior transfer student majoring in Comparative Literature. Her focus is on German and English literature. Because of her love of languages she is learning the International Phonetic Alphabet to get a leg up on the pronunciations of all the world’s languages. However, currently she is just being taunted by words like this, [ínʈ͡ɬ’ànt͡ɬ’à] the phonetic transcription of “good luck” in Zulu.
Claire Newfeld is a sophomore studying Philosophy, with a focus on Art and Literary Theory. She really really really wishes she could speak another language, so she’s studying Italian as well. When she’s not writing papers or studying for a midterm, she spends most of her time in art museums, seeing films or plays, reading long novels, and trying to find the best coffee shops in Berkeley. She is always down to share a Thai iced tea or iced mocha.
Nick Pingitore is a first year student majoring in math and comparative literature. He loves all literature but has a specific fondness for modern British literature. When not absorbed in a book, Nick can be found hiking the local-fire trails or cooking with whatever ingredients he can salvage from last night’s meals.
Wesley Boyko is a third year student. He studies Comparative Literature (with a focus on English and Latin) and desires to read Virgil’s Aeneid in the original language one day. After spending two years at Mt. San Antonio College, he transferred to Berkeley, hoping to plumb the depths of his favorite books. Wesley is particularly interested in how literature can both offer insights into and influence the human condition.
Joe Temes is a first-year at Berkeley. He intends to study philosophy and comparative literature. He enjoys thinking about the nature of the individual, the structural means through which people come together and interact, and how things should be. Falling asleep on the grass under the shade of trees on sunny California afternoons is a cultural ritual he practices with utmost dedication.
Bethany Tidwell is a senior transfer-student finishing her degree in English. She loves that her favorite things (books, art, and people) are mutually constitutive; their interconnections are often strange, beautiful, and significant. For Bethany, cartoons, magical realism, and fantasy all evoke her passion for the limits of the real, the tension between ideal and material existence, and the boundaries of maturity. She’s interested in the growth that comes from reading more, seeing more, and connecting more. While comparative literature and Cal fulfil this desire currently, as a middle and high school teacher she plans to engage her future students in this same exploration.
Tina Guo is a fourth year majoring in Comparative Literature. During the two years she spent at Pasadena City College, she met some of the most inspiring professors across various disciplines to whom she remains deeply grateful. Coming to Cal, the more she draws herself to fields, languages, and literatures conventionally unrelated to one another, the more she becomes fascinated by the inexhaustible possibilities of making connections in the world of comparative literature. While struggling with some of the most challenging materials she has ever encountered in class, she often takes pleasure catching fleeting moments of beauty from behind the the classroom window.
Haili Wang is a forth-year Art History major and Buddhist Studies minor. He speaks Chinese and Sanskrit, and enjoys sleeping, reading, and contemplating in darkness. His academic research concerns contemporary visual activism, relational aesthetics, artistic labor, and intellectual property law. Currently, he is writing his senior thesis on crafts, migrant laborers, art workers, and collective authorship through the case study of a northern Chinese village.
Andrew Kuznetsov is a second-year studying Comparative Literature and History. He is eternally learning French, Russian, Spanish, and so on. His interests include the internet, world languages, world music, world history, and post-everything-ism. His favorite authors alternate at despicable speeds that would likely outdate this short autobiographical blurb within minutes of its publication.
Emily Shen is a second year applied math major and major literature enthusiast. She has a background in Chinese languages and Latin literature. Her academic interests include analyzing classical and intersectional themes in literature as well as trying to learn enough math to understand numerical analysis. She uses up more time, than she will admit, sketching on campus, watching dogs on Memorial Glade, photographing the squirrels of Dwinelle Hall, and indulging in cafe food.
Lara Sindelar is a Junior International Exchange student, studying English Literature and Linguistics. She just moved to Berkeley from the University of Glasgow in the UK, although she is originally from Sweden. She loves literature that uses language to explore the way people think and perceive the world. While in California, she hopes to spend her time getting lost in bookstores, listening to live music at obscure gigs and hiking through national parks.
Anshul Tibrewal is a junior studying Engineering Math and Statistics (one major not three!) with an active interest in how language shapes the fundamental experience of reality and relationality to others. He loves to read all kinds of modernist fiction and contemporary fiction, especially anything after 1950s (a true Borges fan), Heideggeran Philosophy and absurdist drama. If you ever end up running into him at the usual spots (Soda and Moffit) he might be found listening to love songs for young vulnerable suckers, watching Zizek vidoes on YouTube and looking outside the windows hoping to find better realities to get lost in. Sometimes he can be found with his dance buddies on Lower Sproul and Boba places.
Madeline Cline is a third year at Berkeley studying English and Political Economy. She is planning on graduating a semester early which means she is frantically concerned about her lack of marketable skills and the fact that she may never have another class in the infamous, beloved, and (currently) elusive Wheeler Hall. Her academic focus is 20th century literature, particularly that which is written from and by the subaltern, as well as globalization and what those phenomena mean for the majority of the global population. When she is not reading with fervorous panic for one of her classes you can find her knitting, sleeping in sun-filled parks, cooking for her friends, and generally practicing to be a grandmother.
Tasha Symons is a junior English major and Philosophy minor, who is originally from England but transferred to Berkeley from Orange County. She speaks decent French, indecent Spanish, and drinks more tea than anyone she’s ever met. Her greatest joy in literature is identifying philosophical structures within a given text—the wilder the better—and testing the limits of how outlandish a thesis the GSIs will let her get away with. She’ll read almost any genre, but maintains a lifelong love of “Frankenstein,” “Paradise Lost,” and anything SF.
Gitika Nalwa is a freshman studying English and Economics. She fancies herself conservative in dress, liberal in chocolate consumption, and moderate in opinion. She’s difficult to anger and fast to forgive. She enjoys sipping tea while binging on Bollywood films. She is a fan of Jon Stewart, but prefers Larry David. And try as you may, you cannot curb her enthusiasm.
Yuvitza Rivera is a junior studying English. One of her first favorite books of 2017 is Julia Alvarez’s novel In the Time of the Butterflies. While she finds similarities with all four of the Mirabal sisters, she identifies more with the eldest sister Patria. As the year continues she hopes to further expand her knowledge in the Portuguese Language. Some of her favorite television shows include How to Get Away with Murder, Stranger Things, and Penny Dreadful.
Arya Sureshbabu is a second-year English major who has been described alternately as either a “smol bean” or “Hamlet but a girl” (no, she does not understand how those two coexist either). She’s fond of saying that she’s fond of most literature but often finds that once she starts qualifying her tastes, she can’t stop—at any rate, she particularly likes Shakespeare, Austen, and Woolf. She wishes she could say she were a raconteuse, but it would probably be more accurate to say that she’s prone to overenthusiastic rants. When she isn’t hiding behind her books, Arya enjoys overanalyzing animated movies, delivering melodramatic monologues to her long-suffering sister, listening to increasingly obscure folk music, and consuming unhealthy amounts of cheese.