❍ Year of graduation: 1977
❍ Field of current or former occupation: Academia
Question: What is your current occupation and where do you live? Please briefly describe your duties and responsibilities. How long have you been at this position?
Judith Kornblatt: I currently work as a hospice nurse in Madison, Wisc. I have only been in this position for 6 months, since I went to nursing school only after I retired after 30 years as a professor of Russian literature in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Question: Did studying Russian language and culture at Williams help you in your professional and personal development? If yes, then how were Russian Studies were useful to you? What opportunities and challenges did the Russian major open up for you both specific to your current occupation and more generally?
Judith Kornblatt: Yes, indeed, studying Russian language and culture at Williams had everything to do with both my professional and personal development. I first went to the Soviet Union the summer after my freshman year at Williams on CIEE and spent the first semester of my senior year in the Soviet Union, as well. I had excellent support from all my professors at Williams. They always challenged to do my best intellectual work, and they help nurture leadership and initiative.
Question: Please share your advice or recommendation about the Russian department at Williams to a prospective student who is considering taking courses or majoring in our program.
Judith Kornblatt: I did not enter Williams thinking I would be a Russian major. But in my first discussion with him, Michael Katz suggested that I push myself way beyond where I thought I should go after several rather weak years of Russian in high school. His advice was the best thing that ever happened. I took one class, then another, then another. My advice to others is just to start. You’ll get caught! And it is worth it.
If you would like to write to Judith Deustche Kornblatt, please contact Baktygul Aliev.