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Student/Tutor Spotlight: Anna & Roman; Moscow, Russia

Anna and Roman immigrated to the United States from Moscow, Russia with their 16 year-old son in 2019. It was a difficult decision to immigrate seeing that they would be leaving behind their two older children, a son, 25 who himself had just accepted a job as an engineer in Belgium and a daughter, 23, in addition to both of their mothers. Shortly after their arrival in America, Anna and Roman began working with the Adult Literacy Center (ALC) with aide from their tutors, Nancy Koehler and Chris Rahn.

Their journey to America began, when upon an urging from her son, Anna submitted her name in a green card lottery. This was the first time she ever participated in such a lottery. Anna was a scientist-research physician in Moscow. Her childhood dream was to come to the United States and do scientific research. The process happened so quickly they weren’t fully prepared to immigrate. Prior to her departure from Moscow, Anna was working on earning her PhD. Last year she returned to Moscow for two months to defend her dissertation, which Nancy aided Anna in translating from Russian to English. Not only has Anna earned her Ph.D since arriving in America but most recently was offered a research position at The Ohio State University. Anna credits her work with Nancy and the ALC to not only help her study and learn the English language, but in teaching her how to write checks, resumes and cover letters.

Roman, a Network Engineer, working in Moscow for an international company reiterates how difficult the decision was to leave their home country, but says he is enjoying life in the United States. He too has found all education aspects that the ALC offers to be of great assistance. When searching for employment, a position he had applied for contacted him. He found it challenging to speak on the phone. The next day he saw the same job advertised again, instead of resending his resume he decided to go into the office and introduce himself. After speaking with them in person, they decided to hire him. He is now employed at Midwest Fiber Networks.

Anna and Roman initially heard of the Adult Literacy Center from Russian friends, who were former students themselves. They, in turn, have shared their positive experiences and recommended the ALC with others seeking both literacy and cultural assistance.

Anna’s tutor, Nancy Koehler has been with the ALC since February 2019 and is a member of Grace Lutheran Church. She is a part-time Special Education Aide for Slinger Elementary School. Anna is Nancy’s first student with the ALC since her initial departure from tutoring with the ALC 30 years ago, prior to having children. Anna and Nancy share a special bond, much more than a tutor/student relationship. They have enjoyed attending art museums and the symphony together. When asked what her favorite part of being a tutor is Nancy says, “Seeing the desire in students to learn.”

Chris Rahn, Roman’s tutor, is a Senior Software Engineer at Acuity in Sheboygan, WI. He is also a member of Grace Lutheran Church. He began tutoring with the ALC in May 2019 after seeing an ad in the church’s weekly bulletin. Chris and Roman also have developed a friendship outside of the ALC, taking bike rides and spending time together. Chris says he has “leaned a lot as a tutor.” He is enjoying the reciprocity of being a tutor, not only teaching the students English and real-world situations but also learning about the culture of the student.

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