Meet Class of 2019 Valedictorian Tamara Volozhanina

John Cabot University’s Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Mary Merva is pleased to announce the Valedictorian for the Class of 2019, Tamara Volozhanina.

The word “valedictorian” is an anglicized derivation of the Latin vale dicere (“to say farewell”) and refers to the student who delivers the farewell statement at the graduation ceremony. This honor is usually granted to the student with the highest grade point average of the graduating class.

2019 Valedictorian Tamara Volozhanina

2019 Valedictorian Tamara Volozhanina

Tamara, who has a 3.95 grade point average, has been on the Dean’s List every semester since she arrived at JCU and also received this year’s Academic Achievement Award in International Affairs. She spent a semester at the New School Eugene Lang College in New York, where she studied political journalism and literature. She also took an intensive summer course in Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, where she studied the most pressing modern threats to international security. While working on her undergraduate thesis, she studied at the Universität Wien, where she took French and Arabic classes while working on her German.

Born in Russia, Tamara earned an International Baccalaureate diploma in Vienna before coming to JCU, where she majored in International Affairs and minored in Communications. “My appearance at JCU was a confluence of events, a coincidence to which I will forever be grateful. JCU was actually my second choice as I was planning to attend Cardiff University in Wales. But since I was refused a British Visa, I came to JCU with the intention of transferring to Cardiff the following academic year. However, after my first term at JCU, I knew I would never leave,” explains Tamara.

Starting in October, Tamara is going to pursue Master’s program in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford. She would like to work for an international organization such as the United Nations or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the field of international security and counter-terrorism.

Says Tamara, “I have a Russian heart but a European conscience. I believe in the power of multilateral cooperation when addressing human rights issues and anticipating the emergence of a more normative political equilibrium. I hope to be one of those young professionals who not only are willing to accept the change but also possess the passion and the capabilities of leading it. Studying International Affairs at JCU has become my springboard to this future.”

Here’s what two of Tamara’s professors had to say about her:

Pamela Harris, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

“In my twenty years of teaching, Tamara is quite simply one of most brilliant students I have encountered. She is a force of nature, a natural academic who combines extraordinary talent, fearless curiosity, a passion for learning and a taste for hard intellectual work. She will succeed in anything she does, and could not be more qualified or promising for a career – academic or professional – in international affairs.”

Michael Driessen, Associate Professor of Political Science

“Tamara is an uncommonly gifted student, with a natural knack for strategic analysis and forceful thinking. It was a joy to teach her. In many ways, Tamara represents why John Cabot is such an exciting place to be, both as a student and as a professor. Her loyalties, ambitions and hopes reflect a geographical depth and spread of experience (as a Russian, educated in Vienna and studying at an American University in Italy) that are truly rare. In class, she regularly taught her peers to see different angles to much of the geopolitics animating contemporary Eastern and Western Europe and, in doing so, she helped her colleagues and myself to think of pathways beyond these politics in terms that were outside the box of typical Western academic discourse.”

Congratulations Tamara from the entire JCU community!