Students find commonalities and make connections on Russian and American soil

At a time of mounting tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine and reports of election hacking, two Yale undergraduates are among a group of American students busily collaborating on research projects with Russian counterparts, and finding much common ground.

The two — seniors Irina Gavrilova and David Kurkovskiy — are among the 31 delegates in the 2016-2017 Stanford-Russia Forum (SURF), which annually brings together students from Russian and American universities to promote dialogue and cooperation on issues and challenges of mutual concern, creating lasting ties in the process. The program runs through the academic year.

Gavrilova and Kurkovskiy were selected for SURF from over 600 applicants from 168 universities in the United States and Russia. Since most of the delegates are graduate students, the Yale undergraduates felt particularly excited to be chosen. They are among a handful of Yale students to take part in SURF since its inception about eight years ago.