HSE Faculty Members’ Life Rules: Alyona Vandysheva
Every faculty member at our program has his or her own history of coming to the profession, background, hobbies and interesting stories. To get to know each of our professors closely, we’ve decided to launch a special section called “HSE Faculty Members’ Life Rules”. Today we are talking with Alyona Vandysheva, the senior lecturer of the Political Science Department, who will tell us about the origins of her music preferences, share the history of her long way to political science and give recommendations on things that should always be in a bag of a political science student.
How did you end up in Political Science?
Indeed, my path to political science was very long. I studied at the Faculty of Law and was always interested in protecting human rights. When I graduated from the university, I decided to work for the Human Rights Ombudsman. But at that time we didn’t have this position in St. Petersburg. When I was searching the Internet for some information about it, I accidentally found the website of the Strategy Center, which played the key role in my destiny later on: I met Mikhail Gorny and Alexander Sungurov there. At first I worked as a volunteer, then I got a position of a lawyer and a year later we started establishing Department of Political Science. Thus, I have been here since the very beginning of the program and participated in the development of the first academic disciplines.
Could you name three authors who influenced the formation of your research interests?
Frank Baumgartner (Ph.D. in Political Science, Honored Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina), John Kingdon (the author of the multiple streams framework) and Peter Jones.
What is your favorite movie?
The “Stealing beauty” by Bernardo Bertolucci. I also really like Emir Kusturica’s “Black cat, white cat” and the “Wings of Desire” by Wim Wenders.
Do you have a favorite quote, proverb or saying?
“This too shall pass”. Because everything passes.
The place where you have been to and will never forget?
Iceland and its nature. I have been to Reykjavik and travelled around the Golden Circle of Iceland.
Imagine you’ve become the head of an anti-corruption fund for an indefinite period. What would you use this opportunity for?
Solely to minimize corruption in all the spheres in which it would be possible. Probably, I would begin working actively on involving crowd-funding resources to launch very interesting campaigns and explain the harm of corruption and ways to diminish its degree in various spheres to people. Particularly, I would create promo videos and try to make something funny, interesting and memorable for everyone who would pay attention.
What kind of music do you prefer and what was the last concert you have been to?
Last time I was at the concert of Jay Jay Johanson, I attend all his shows. But the most memorable concert I have been to was Bjork's one. Unfortunately, she does not come to Russia anymore. Maybe one day I will visit her concert in America or somewhere else, because she is an incredibly powerful singer. In general, I like a lot from the eighties and nineties: Sonic Youth, Portishead, CocoRosie. I also like to listen to punk bands sometimes. I was born on October 6th of the year Sex Pistols began to record their first album. Maybe it means something.
People say that you need to try everything in your life. Are there any things you will never try?
I will never ever try drugs. This is my principle. Also, I have never tried nicotine.
What must necessarily be in a bag of a political science student?
Let there be a textbook on quantitative methods. This is something a political scientist cannot survive without in the modern world. He or she must be fluent in quantitative methods.
What would you like to wish to our students?
I wish students not to be afraid of anything, to meet all the deadlines, to remember that you are the coolest ones, and there would be no the Political Science program without you. We, professors, are developing and growing because you are interested in developing and growing.