Misha Releasing a Merlin after Banding, Photo by Walter Kitundu, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory

an aspiring architect, urban planner, ecologist, and researcher, I study how human habitats--buildings, cities, and regions--can be built more in harmony with the nature around us and within us. I believe in a future architecture and urbanism based on ecoempathy.

I'm currently a graduate student in the Yale Schools of Architecture and Forestry/Environmental Studies, pursuing joint Master's degrees in Architecture and Environmental Management. 

Prior to Yale, I was the Class of 2015 Valedictorian at Princeton University, where I majored in Architecture with certificates in Urban Studies and Translation.

My main interests are in cities, nature + environmentalism, and the translation and reading of literature in Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.

As a child, I spent long hours after school sketching architectural and urban fantasies; as I got older, they became full-fledged buildings and proposed transit systems. Now, I'm hoping to use my passion for design to change the way our cities relate to the natural world through a new framework I call EecoempathyThe first step is projects like the ones featured on my urbanism+environment page, and the kinds of architectural design projects I undertake at Yale School of Architecture.

My professional experience, detailed on my resume, includes working with DPZ Partners and Calthorpe Associates to plan walkable communities, designing a biofabrication research project for The Living, and piloting a city recycling program as part of an internship with TerraCycle. As an undergraduate, I took samples from green roofs to assess their performance, proposed ways to retrofit New Jersey suburbs, and designed an urban bike sharing system. Now a joint degree student at Yale involved with the Urban Ecology and Design Lab, I'm studying how cities can be made more sustainable, more walkable, less car-dependent, and better integrated with nature and functional food and waste systems. 

In my thesis (available on the Research Writing page) inspired by my summer work with urban codes at DPZ, I explored models for user-modifiable housing based on sets of rules, and asked if architectural ideas could be deployed at a larger scale by being based on codes and patterns. Now at Yale, I’m continuing to investigate ideas like Christopher Alexander’s ideas about a “pattern language” that defines human interactions with space. I am interested in pushing Alexander’s work further to discover a new, twenty-first century set of rules and patterns that can be integrated into buildings and cities to further define and mediate the human relationship to nature. While much modernist architecture, to its detriment, assumes a top-down formal order, by looking at cities as complex human ecosystems with natural laws and patterns, we can begin to determine the most effective architectural and ecological interventions.

Though always rooted in my home city of San Francisco, I gained a love and appreciation for nature at a young age, as I traveled around California's beautiful parks with my Biologist parents, who imparted to me a Russian love for "priroda" (nature)--that's where my passion for Bug Faces photography stems from. I believe solving the world's pressing environmental crises must involve an experience of awe and wonder with nature. During High School, I worked with the Student Conservation Association, the Earthwatch Institute, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, and Naturebridge to make a difference in the San Francisco Bay Area. At Princeton, I served as co-President of Greening Princeton, a key member of the Greening Dining Committee, and an active member of the GreenLeaders group and advisor to the Office of Sustainability. Read more here about the new recycling system we implemented at Princeton. As an aspiring urban designer, I hope to work toward the integration of cities with nature--see my Ecoempathy page

Check out the interdisciplinary work I'm now doing at Yale on murbanism+environment page.
I love learning and studying languages, and I find translation to be a tough but rewarding challenge. Through my work with the late CK Williams and contemporary poet Dmitry Kuzmin, I've translated quite a few 20th century and contemporary Russian poets. Updates are coming out frequently, so check out my Translations page for my latest work. My translations have been published in the St. Petersburg Review, the Big Bridge Anthology of Modern Russian Poetry, the Atlanta Review, Spolia, and Talisman Magazine. I also won honorable mention in the 2014 Compass Award Tarkovsky translation contest.
I've also recorded poetry for film soundtracks and am available for hire to recite poetry in Russian and English.

Many of my undergraduate courses focused on linguistics and translation theory, culminating in several articles on the translation of address terms, which can be found on my Research Writing page.