Russian Students Win Medals

By Dorian McElrone ‘25


On Saturday, March 25th, five Dickinson students in the Russian Department participated in the Olympiada of Spoken Russian, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. This annual competition allows students to test their spoken Russian proficiency and increase their knowledge of Russian culture. Participants can win medals or prizes based on their grammatical accuracy, spoken fluency, and pronunciation. The competition consists of three parts: a pre-recorded presentation on any aspect of Russian culture, a conversation about yourself with a Russian-speaker, and a recitation of a level-appropriate poem.

In this year’s Olympiada, all five of the students who participated received medals. Participants included four students from the Russian 202 course, and one student from the Russian 300 course. Maddie Garber (‘25) and Peter Guma (‘24) both received a gold medal and a special prize book from judges. Katarina Durham (‘25) and Ava Cestrone (‘25) won gold medals, and Dorian McElrone (‘25) was awarded a silver medal.

Students spent extensive time preparing for the event, with the 202 students practicing their presentations both in class and outside of class at the Russian table. At the Russian table, all five students presented to an audience of professors, native speakers, and Russian students of all levels. The students who presented were given feedback on their presentation content and delivery. At the following Russian table, the practice session focused on the “about me” portion of the contest, and students engaged with each other in a “speed dating” format, shifting around the room and talking with partners about their hobbies, interests, families, and hometowns. Some students also took to practicing their poems and conversational skills outside of school altogether, and Ava Cestrone attributed her success in spoken poetry to collaboration with her classmates.

Katarina Durham said of her success in the competition:

“I think it’s a testament to all the work put into learning another language and immersing oneself in another culture. It really shows the dedication of the professors in the Russian Department to their students.”


The Russian Department congratulates all of our Olympiada participants on this amazing accomplishment!

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