Senior Aleksandr Senderovich of UMass Amherst Named to USA Today All-USA Academic First Team

February 13, 2003

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AMHERST, Mass. - Aleksandr "Sasha" Senderovich, a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been named to the First Team of the All-USA College Academic Team by the national daily newspaper USA Today. Senderovich is one of 20 undergraduate students from across the country chosen for the First Team for outstanding intellectual achievement and leadership. The First Team is featured in the Feb. 13 edition of USA Today.

Senderovich, 21, of Belmont, Mass., is enrolled in Commonwealth College, the University''s honors college, and is pursuing a double major in comparative literature and Russian and East European studies. He spent his junior year at Oxford University in England as a visiting scholar in 2001-02 and was the first recipient of the David and Kathleen Scott Scholarship for study at Oxford''s Trinity College. Senderovich designed and taught courses during the summers of 2001 and 2002 at Yale University''s Exploration Senior Program for high school students; was a teaching assistant at the Brandeis University Summer Odyssey; and was the Lipper intern, teacher and tour guide at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City from January-July 2001.

"It is a great privilege to receive this award because, in part, I see it as a token of acceptance from the country to which my family came as Russian-Jewish immigrants five years ago," Senderovich says. "Additionally, I would like to believe that this award is in some way shared by many of my teachers who shaped my ideas, as well as my passion for scholarship and teaching over the years." He says his studies have allowed him to develop his thinking "between two languages."

"We are very proud of Sasha," says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of psychology and director of the UMass Amherst Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) at Commonwealth College. "This is a well-deserved recognition of Sasha''s many accomplishments." Senderovich was a state finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2002.

Senderovich''s family came to the United States in 1997 from Ufa, Russia, a city 1,000 miles east of Moscow in the Ural Mountains. At that time, he was already in the U.S. as an exchange student living for six months in Canterbury, N.H. Senderovich became a U.S. citizen in October 2002.

Whitbourne says ONSA was founded in August 1998 as the central coordinating agency on the UMass Amherst campus that provides information, advice, and support for all students who wish to apply for major national scholarships such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, and Fulbright. She notes that in 2002, UMass senior Helena Horak was named to the USA Today First Team, and in 2000 and 1999, UMass students were named to the Third Team and received Honorable Mention.

Senderovich says some of his academic interests include Russian literature, East and Central European literatures, Jewish studies, memory and cultural history, exile, and autobiography. He is currently applying to graduate programs in Slavic languages and literatures and intends to become a professor of literature. Professor James E. Young, chairman of the department of Judaic and Near Eastern studies, and Senderovich''s honors thesis advisor, says, "His literary sensibility and grasp of the most difficult issues surrounding the idea of ''home,'' ''nostalgia,'' ''exile,'' and ''belated memory,'' are profound and promise to result in some of the most original work being published in these areas."

Aleksandr Senderovich can be reached at 413/546-4252 or Sasha@student.umass.edu.

Susan K. Whitbourne can be reached at 413/545-4306 or swhitbo@psych.umass.edu.