Elena Pedigo Clark began life in rural Kentucky but was suddenly whisked off to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. This unexpected event led her to change her focus from equestrianism to Russian, which was probably a good thing for everyone concerned. Following a number of adventures in various parts of Europe, she returned to the US and took up residence in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she completed her BA in International Studies. She left NC briefly to go to Columbia (the university in NYC, not the town in South Carolina), where she received an MA in Russian Translation, before returning to her adoptive home state to do her doctoral work at UNC-Chapel Hill. While completing her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures at UNC, she also traveled to Finland to study the language and see the country; in fact, this picture is of her hiking above the Arctic Circle in Lapland, where she was almost trampled by a herd of stampeding reindeer. Her enthusiasm for Finland (and hiking) undimmed, she successfully defended her dissertation on the Russian poet Evgeny Baratynsky (the “Bard of Finland”) and is now working on a larger research project on Russo-Finnish relations and identity formation.
Before coming to Wake Forest, she taught Russian at The College of New Jersey and the University of Notre Dame. When she’s not on campus, you can probably find her at a yoga studio, on a hiking trail, or working on a fantasy novel.