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Congratulations to Beth Aiken!

Student receives PURE Award for research on the press coverage of famines in the Soviet Union

The School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures would like to congratulate Beth Aiken, a third year history student minoring in Russian, who was selected to receive a PURE Award, summer 2017.

Beth’s PURE Award research project examined Canadian and American press coverage of famines in the Soviet Union during the inter-war period (specifically from 1923, after the 1921-22 famine, until the end of the 1930s, before the start of the Second World War) using articles from The Globe and Mail, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. 

According to Beth, “Having the opportunity to conduct a research project of this size and depth was invaluable to my academic career. I had to work in a field that relates to both my major and my minor programs. I was able to extensively research a topic that is fascinating and barely touched by historians and specialists in cultural studies. Conducting a large research helped developing my research, analytical, organizational, and writing skills. Furthermore, I was able to enhance my understanding of Russian culture and history. In addition, having the possibility of presenting my findings at a conference will be a valuable experience which will help me in my honors project. I am also interested in aquaponics and sustainable food growth and am a member of the U of C Aquaponics Club so studying the cultural and social consequences of famine as well as the historical attitude towards famine is fascinating and will enrich my involvement in the aquaponics community.”

This is the second time in the last few years when a student of Russian, supervised by Dr. Irina Shilova, has been selected for a PURE Award.
In 2014, Luc Bibeau received the award for his research on the effects of market liberalization on Russia's organized criminal culture in post-Soviet Russian. 

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Irina Shilova and Beth Aiken


PURE awards provide financial support to University of Calgary undergraduates to conduct research for 8, 12 or 16 weeks between May and August, making it possible for students to work with University of Calgary researchers to learn how research projects are developed and conducted, and how research results can contribute to new knowledge and solve problems in a field of research and in society.

Each PURE learning experience is a unique opportunity to develop research skills, but also to explore personal research interests, and develop the abilities to collaborate, think critically and creatively, and communicate. The PURE Award experience will enrich and extend undergraduate learning at the University of Calgary, and is particularly advantageous to those students who are intending to pursue graduate studies. However, as research skills are highly transferable to many professions, the PURE experience is beneficial to all students.