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Professional Bio

1005081_474707989283286_696453576_nDespite the incredible genetic opportunities that came with being born into a family of mathematicians, computer engineers and scientists, Olga Belogolova has skillfully been able to avoid all practical and lucrative career paths. Instead, much to the dismay of and despite the earnest wishes of her kind parents, she chose “the arts” and political science.

The end results of this choice are still to be seen, but Olga was lucky enough to remain a massive nerd in the face of her questionable career choices. This nerdy behavior began to present itself in the early stages of her high school career, where she was President of French Club, Vice President of Latin Club, Class Council member and Co-Founder and President of Model United Nations. This heavy involvement not only allowed her photo to appear on almost every page of the club roster in the school yearbook, but also found her waking up at 6 a.m. to decorate the school gym before pep rallies.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thinking that these activities were clearly not enough, she joined the school paper and started writing and copy-editing. Her love of journalism/writing was born and she continued to pursue it in college and afterward. She is a graduate of Boston University, with a dual degree in Magazine Journalism and Western European Studies.

Since then, she has been published (perhaps because of talent; perhaps sheer luck) in The Student Operated Press, The Daily Free Press, OC METRO Business Magazine, OC FAMILY Magazine, Boston magazine, UniversityChic.com, Encore Magazine, National Journal, The Atlantic online, Ogonyok magazine (in Russian), Inside Defense and The Globe and Mail. In addition, she has contributed two chapters to the book - U Chic: The College Girls Guide to Everything. In the spring of 2009, she was selected as one of 10 journalism students nationally for a journalism press trip to Jordan. In 2012, as a reporter at National Journal, she traveled to Russia and Japan on two back-to-back fellowships through the International Center for Journalists. She is currently an M.A. candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), focusing in international economics and strategic studies.

 

Other Things You Really Ought to Know

Like many creative types, Olga does some of her best work in the wee hours of the morning. With many all-nighters of practice throughout her high school and college career, she has become virtually unable to process any practical or logical information before she has eaten her breakfast. Those who know her well know that it is wise to stay silent and distant from Olga while she is in the waking stages of her morning, much like it is wise to stay as far away as possible from a hungry lion in the Serengeti desert.

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Though she has yet to visit the Serengeti, Olga really enjoys travel and the study of foreign languages and foreign affairs. Coming from the Soviet Union to America at the age of 3, she was forced to simultaneously learn English (for survival purposes), while speaking Russian at home (also for survival purposes).  Since then, being the overachiever that she is, Olga has studied Hebrew, French, Latin and Italian and has visited more than 15 countries.

As a lover of travel and culture, Olga has grown to love not only languages, but also art and performing arts, such as ballet and theatre. Having once aimed to be a costume designer (another lucrative career option), Olga fell in love with period pieces and fashion at a young age. In this regard, she has a serious substance abuse problem…when it comes to dresses. There are few dresses in the world that Olga does not love…or want to own.
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There are other items, however, that Olga just can’t hold onto. Olga has a knack for losing a lot of things, but mostly sunglasses or cell phones. You can even find one of her cell phones at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay.

Despite her usual elegant appearance,you will often find Olga climbing trees and finding nearby playgrounds to visit. Still, in the face of her youthful agility and athletic ability, Olga is also a massive klutz. She has a tendency to run into doors, break fingers and toes and spill wine, especially red wine, all over everything.

Watch out for this one.

 

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Choices and destiny

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Choices are the hinges of destiny.” – Pythagoras

When my mother was visiting this past week, we spent some time wandering by the monuments here in Washington and she posed a question I had never really thought to ask.

She wondered, in several instances, about how I ended up where I am today — in Washington, a journalist, with aspirations to work in foreign affairs. Am I passionate about foreign policy because my parents ensured I spoke Russian at home when I was growing up? Or because they taught me about my family’s history and culture? Did I end up in Washington because of my studies at Boston University and inspiration from some politically-astute professors? Would I still end up here eventually if I didn’t take a journalism job in Washington 4 years ago? What would have happened if I didn’t do all those things?

I’d like to think I would still find my way to where I belong . . .

It’s a tough balance believing in fate and simultaneously strongly believing that every life choice matters. As I struggle to make potentially life-altering decisions about my future right now, I have to think about both. As a self-starter and generally pushy human being, I know that getting what I want means making a path for myself even when there isn’t one already there. But a small part of me still knows that no matter what choices I ultimately make, I will end up where I need to be.

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