Anna Polishchuk (class of 2016) was the first student to graduate with an Iranian Studies minor.
"My interest in Iran was sparked by chance. Whatever I studied, Iran seemed to be always on the periphery. As a history major, I took classes about the Ottoman Empire and noted with surprise that all the elites spoke Persian and venerated Persian culture. Persia loomed as the formidable foe of the ancient Greeks and popped up in Russian literature. I began to become interested in Persia’s complicated interactions with Turkey, my initial area of historical focus, and with Russia, my cultural homeland. I found a welcoming Iranian community, and the professors at Stanford nurtured my fascination with Iran’s rich artistic heritage and history. I discovered Iranian cinema with the renowned Bahram Beyzaie, reveled in ancient Achaemenid and Sasanian history with Professor Vevaina, and dove into more contemporary politics, Iran’s relations with the West, and competing ideologies within Iran with Dr. Milani. Meanwhile, a year of Persian language with Shervin Emami allowed me my first glimpse of the beauty of Iranian poetry. Currently, I am an assistant paralegal at an immigration law firm, exploring various career paths before pursuing further studies. I believe that the cultural and historical understanding that I have developed in the Iranian Studies program will serve me well, wherever I end up!"
Read a Stanford News story on Anna's research at the Hoover Archives while at Stanford.