Advisory Board members and CLI students at 2018 July CLI Graduation Ceremony
Melikian Center Advisory Board members with students at the CLI graduation ceremony

Mary Karapetian Alvord, PhD, is a Psychologist and Director of Alvord, Baker & Associates LLC
in Rockville, MD. She also holds a position of Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry and
Behavior Sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Photo of Steve Batalden

Stephen K. Batalden, PhD, served as a professor of History at ASU for 40 years and was the 
founding director of the ASU Melikian Center. He is currently a Melikian Center research professor,
leading ASU’s contribution to the Yerevan State University American Studies grant program funded
by the US Embassy in Armenia.

Photo of Shahin Berisha

Shahin H. Berisha [Executive Committee - Board Secretary], PhD, is a retired Faculty Member of the Math
and Science Division of GateWay Community College and an Adjunct Professor with the Melikian Center.
He has served as a facilitator for the Center’s projects with and in Kosovo for 20 years.

Ron Birks Photo 2021

Ronald M. Birks, MSEE, is a senior software engineer and international representative with Honeywell
International, Inc. He received a BA in Russian and a Russian and East European Studies (REES) Certificate
at ASU and studied Polish and Albanian in the Critical Languages Institute (CLI).

Robert Bohannon is the former chairman and CEO of Viad Corp.  He currently resides in Texas. 

Keith S. Brown [Ex officio], PhD, is Director of the Melikian Center and Professor in the ASU School of Politics and Global Studies. His research has focused primarily on politics, culture and identity in the Balkans, with a particular emphasis on relations between Macedonia, Greece, and Bulgaria.

Photo of Phil Carrano

Philip M. Carrano, MPA, is Director of Fiscal Business Services for the ASU College of Health Solutions (CHS). He served for over three years as the business operations manager for the Melikian Center before joining CHS.

Lee B. Croft, PhD, is a Professor Emeritus of Russian Language and Culture at Arizona State University, where he taught and administered foreign language programs for 38 years (1973-2011) and served as Head of the Faculty of German, Slavic, and Romanian from 2006-2011 in the School of International Letters and Cultures. He is an affiliate of the Melikian Center, having been a co-founder of the its predecessor, the ASU Russian and East European Studies Consortium (REESC), and co-founder and founding Director of the Center's Critical Languages Institute (CLI).

Shelley D. Cutts, JD, is an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona in the Environmental Enforcement Section. After serving four years as a Russian linguist in the US Army in Augsburg, Germany, she first earned her BA in History at ASU and a Russian and East European Studies (REES) Certificate, then went on to complete her law degree at ASU.

Photo of Victor Friedman

Victor Friedman [Distinguished honorary member], PhD, is the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at the University of Chicago and an Honorary Associate at La Trobe University. He is president of the U.S. National Committee of the International Association for Southeast European Studies. He is also a member of the Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of Albania, the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Kosova, Matica Srpska, and has been awarded the "1300 Years of Bulgaria" jubilee medal and the Medal of Merit of Macedonia.

Aleksandra Gruzinska, PhD, is an Emeritus Professor in the ASU School of International Letters and Cultures, where she primarily taught courses on 19th Century French literature. Her research interests also include Nobel Prize Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska and Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz. Her longtime interest is the exploration of the fate of unaccompanied Polish children in their trajectory of exile, homelessness, repatriation or immigration, from Poland, by way of Spain, to the U.S. during and after WWII. 

Patience T. Huntwork, JD, is a staff attorney at the Arizona Supreme Court. She has served on legal reform projects and as an election observer in Ukraine, and she is a recipient of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America's "Man of the Year" award. 

Mary "Marcie" J. Hutchinson, MA, was a high school History and Government teacher for over 30 years, primarily in Mesa, AZ, and now serves as Clerk of the Governing Board of Mesa Public Schools. For several years, she served as Director of K-12 Initiatives for the ASU School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, and was interim Chief of Party in Prishtina, Kosovo, for the Center’s “Future Voters of Kosovo” project funded by the U.S. State Department.

David P. Jankofsky is a regulatory economist with particular specialties in utility regulation, public financial management, tax administration, and economic development.  He has consulted and conducted training in 66 countries  including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, and Kosovo, and is currently serving as a regulatory expert for an energy project led by Deloitte Consulting in southern Africa.

Michael D. Kennedy [Distinguished honorary member]
Pauline Komnenich
Ilene J. Lashinsky
Arben Lasku
Linda Lederman
Emma O. Melikian
Gregory J. Melikian
Ramona L. Melikian [ Executive Committee - Board President]
Robert A. Melikian
David A. Merkel
Claire Sechler Merkel
Stephen Ovanessoff [Executive Committee - Board Treasurer]
Gabriel "Gabe" H. Reuben
Stella Saperstein Photo

Stella Saperstein is a graduate of the Leningrad Conservatory with a degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy (college level). She teaches piano at her own Stella Saperstein Piano Studio, and is co-author of the book, The Harmonious Child. She is Treasurer for the Young Artist Committee, Director of Development at USASU Bösendorfer & Yamaha International Piano Competition as well as judge for numerous piano competitions, local and international. She is also a graduate of Moscow State Linguistic University and former escort-interpreter for the US State Department.

Charles "Charlie" Tichy, PhD, served as a Professor of German and Russian for 45 years at Slippery Rock University, PA, and was Chair of the Modern Language Department for 25 years. He published several articles on  higher education distant learning and articulation. Retired in Gilbert, AZ he has taught a course in the ASU Barrett Honors College on Crimea and is an  ASU Associate Professor Emeritus member. He joined the advisory board of the Melikian Center because of the center’s elaborate international projects and its developed language institute
Walter J. Winius, Jr.