PSI Madison Pushkin Scholars

“Pushkin Scholars” is a unique financial aid and educational advancement opportunity offered to graduates of the Pushkin Summer Institute. With our detailed knowledge of students who participate in the PSI we are in a strong position to advocate for the most successful and hard working among them to gain admission to UW-Madison and become eligible for Pushkin Scholars financial aid packages. Each year the administration of the PSI works closely with the Admissions and Financial Aid offices at the University to admit and fund our most promising program graduates. Once admitted to UW-Madison, PSI grads normally continue their Russian study in our nationally recognized Russian program. They may also apply to the federally funded Russian Flagship program, which places our students on a fast track to professional language competence and a broad array of exciting in-country travel, internships, and career opportunities.

Andrew Carrera

Andrew Carrera

My name is Andrew Carrera. I am about to begin my second year at UW-Madison. I am the first to go to school in another state out of 4 siblings. PSI helped me do better with Russian language while I was at Pritzker College Prep and now I attend UW-Madison because of the PSI program. My time during the program in 2016 was amazing, and I was able to enjoy Russian with new friends. Since we lived in Leopold Hall, I was able to experience living away from home on a college campus for the first time. As a Badger, I am enjoying college and trying to have fun while learning. PSI helped me get into college and now I am experiencing PSI as a counselor so young students can get the same opportunity I did.

Gustavo Marquez

Gustavo MarquezMy name is Gustavo Marquez. I was in Pushkin Summer Institute (PSI)in 2016. It was such a great experience to be able to visit a college campus while taking intensive summer Russian classes that would resemble what I would do in college. Being a badger is such a fulfilling opportunity, and I am currently continuing what I started at PSI by being a part of the Russian flagship program and hopefully be able to major in Russian. I would not have been given this opportunity if it were not for PSI.

Jennifer Caraballo

Jennifer CaraballoMy name is Jennifer Caraballo, and I was part of the Pushkin Summer Institute in 2016, which is still one of the most influential summers of my life. Through the program, I was able to develop writing and language skills that I still apply to my life as a college student. The program exposed me to and helped me prepare for college-like courses. Through this program, I was able to meet faculty that became a huge support system while applying for college and that continue to support me to this day. I continue to be a part of the Pushkin Summer Institute as an assistant to the On-site director. Thanks to the Pushkin Summer Institute and all of their staff, I was able to fulfill my dream of becoming a badger!

Grissell Erazo

Grissell ErazoMy name is Grissell Erazo and I attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I got the opportunity to participate in the 6 week PSI program in 2016. Aside from learning this rigorous language, the PSI program allowed students to learn the culture as well. This program allowed me to become comfortable in the badger community, so entering as a freshman was a little less scary.  I have continued to study the Russian language and culture at UW-Madison. I am grateful for the opportunity with the PSI program because it allowed me to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Claudia Torres

Claudia TorresMy name is Claudia Torres. I am a rising sophomore studying Russian and Political Science. I attended the PSI program at UW Madison in 2016 and the PSI Abroad program in Latvia in 2017. PSI allowed me to explore outside of my comfort zone and emerge in the Russian language and culture. Studying Russian at UW as a high school student made me realize that this school was for me, which strongly encouraged me to apply. My first year as a badger was challenging, but I was able to grow both as a student and person thanks to my PSI support system. I was introduced to the opportunity of skipping first year Russian to second year and join the Russian Flagship program. Without this amazing program, I would have not found my love for Russian and would have not received the many incredible opportunities I have now. Thank you, PSI!

Annette Pabello

Annette Pabello My name is Annette Pabello. I have participated in PSI for the past two summers, and I am happy to say that they have been the best. My summers consisted of immersion in the Russian language, new experiences, foods, relationships, and so much more. PSI has given me so much more than an opportunity to study Russian over the summer. In the fall, I am more pleased to say that I will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and there I will further my Russian studies.​

Anthany Carreno

Anthany CarrenoMy name is Anthany Carreno. I am actually from Chicago, Illinois not a suburb around Chicago. Anyway, my experience in PSI has made me consider changing my name to Антон Сережа Карренье. Before I attended PSI in the summer of 2017, I was not at all confident about my Russian. I did not know the alphabet. I lacked confidence which caused me to not read out loud to my peers. This all changed after PSI because I gained the confidence to read out and not worry about anything because people were just as afraid as me about messing up. I also picked up the ability to spell words out because we spoke a lot of Russian during the summer, so I got used to the sounds that the words made and letters they sounded like. I loved my stay at UW-Madison. It was six weeks long, so I got to know the city and school itself. I befriended all the counselors when I attended. These are people that I came to when I was looking at becoming a Badger. They helped. All of them do different things, yet they all had something positive to say about UW. I spent everyday walking from Leopold to Van Hise When I was selecting my schedules, I was thinking about how I would not be able to get to Van Hise or Sewell from Vilas or Grainger in 15 minutes by foot. Also, I love playing basketball. When I play basketball, I yell “That’s you!” or “Go crazy”. Now, I yell “это ты!” and “Сходи с ума”. I love that I can incorporate what I am learning with what I love.

Abril Pereznegron

Abril Pereznegron My name is Abril and I am a first year student at UW- Madison. What made PSI more than just a summer Russian program was the importance of culture. Six weeks initially felt like a long time, but as we were exposed to Russian music, dance, food, and poetry, the six weeks flew by. All the PSI students were able to connect with each other as we learned about the Russian culture. All the staff was so welcoming from day 1 and that massively helped with being homesick. Within days it felt as if we had created another home together. Though initially being scared about the course work, I learned to love challenging myself everyday. In every class I learned something different, which was through engaging activities. Whether it was drawing, singing, dancing, or simply talking, our Russian skills were tested in the most entertaining way possible.The students, the environment, and most importantly, the staff made my college decision easy. By the end of PSI I knew that my heart would always belong to UW.

Sandy Cortez

Sandy CortezWhen I first made the decision to join the Pushkin summer program, I was unsure. I only went there to improve my Russian but little did I know this experience was going to shape where I am today. Not only did I improve on my Russian but I had the opportunity to integrate myself into a completely different culture. I still remember making my first Russian pancakes and folk dancing. Now, I am studying abroad in Latvia. The foods I learned about in class are now set upon my table. I grow confidence every time I order food in a Russian restaurant or when I call my host mom on the phone. I am still learning so much but I know that these experiences will help me through college. Whether that is raising my hand during a lecture or joining a club. I want to thank PSI for the amazing opportunities and support they have for their students.

Amar Chhetri

Hello! My name is Amar Chhetri, I am a Sophomore at UW Madison and I study Political science and Russian. I participated in PSI in the Summer of 2019. I learned so much about the Russian language, remarkable Russian poetry, and myself. I was able to connect with others who resembled me while learning a very important language. One of my favorite memories from PSI was the trip to Mount Olympus, we went on a day trip to the Wisconsin Dells, and I had the time of my life! As a Pushkin Scholar, I get a tremendous amount of support both from my fellow scholars and also from Professor Bethea and Anya. Not only do I get to explore who I want to be and who I will be, but I get to do it at a beautiful school with unlimited resources and opportunities. UW Madison’s resources help me develop and hone my skills while also exploring my identity and enjoying college. The PSI program and scholarship has given me the ability to study at a higher-level university at a price that my family and I can afford. I am forever grateful for this program which I believe anyone who is considering should take advantage of. For your education, for you, and for the future you!

Jocelyn Villa-Auquilla

Hello, my name is Jocelyn Villa-Auquilla. I am about to finish my first semester as a sophomore
at UW-Madison. I am a first generation student majoring in Chicana/o Latino/a studies. I joined
PSI when I was a junior in high school in 2021 and since then, PSI has helped me improve on
my Russian. Throughout my summer in 2021, despite having the program online, I had fun
learning new things and improving my Russian. In my time at UW-Madison, the PSI community
has helped me open up and discover a new confidence in my Russian. My counselors have
been very sweet and I have had fun talking to them. When I first came to UW-Madison, I was
afraid because it was my first time being alone, away from my parents, and in a different state I
didn’t know anything about. PSI helped create a community for me; ultimately making me feel
safe, supported, and not alone. They always have my back and always help me get up during
tough times. I really like the community PSI has constructed. They helped me improve not just in
Russian language, but have also helped me build boundaries for myself, improve my study
skills, and my time management skills.

Melissa Figueroa

My name is Melissa Figueroa, and I was in the 2021 virtual PSI cohort. I am currently majoring in Animal and Veterinary Biosciences and working on a certificate in Chican@ & Latin@ Studies. PSI was a fun and challenging course that gave me a glimpse into college courses, which I enjoyed.

Tsitsiki Marchan

Меня зобут Цицики Марчан. Back in the summer of 2022, I attended the Pushkin Summer Institute. When I received the welcome to PSI email in the spring of my high school junior year, I was hesitant to join because I was about to be away from home for so long. However, I am thankful for this experience because it made a difference in my life. It made a difference in my life because I am the first in my family to go out of state for college, which at first was hard as I was homesick to the point where I thought of transferring. However, because of the support system this program offers me, the awesome people I met here and became friends with, my classes, and the opportunities Madison offers, I realized I belong here and everything that happened was meant to be. As I wrap up my first semester at Madison, I hope I continue improving my Russian as I have moments where I fall back, but I know with a little harder work and help from my TA, it is possible to overcome such an intense class. The same goes with my other classes as well.

Elias Barrera

My name is Elias Barrera, I am in my first year of college and I am currently undecided, but I am leaning towards business. I participated in the Pushkin Program during the summer of 2022. The experience I had during the Pushkin program could not have gone any better. I met some amazing directors, teachers, and counselors who inspired my ambitions for more. Being a part of the program influenced my curiosity for the Russian culture and language, especially after taking a year of Russian during my Junior year. It was an honor and amazing time to be a part of the Russian community and to be able to learn from a new environment outside of my norm. My favorite memory was going to the Mt. Olympus Water Park and enjoying the day before an informational lecture with Professor Bethea! Freshman year has been going well and the campus has been treating me alright. There are many opportunities and connections that have been shown to me during my time here. I’ve had access to a tutor and college advisor who also help me out a lot.

Andrew Luna

My name is Andrew Luna and I had participated in the Pushkin Summer Institute in the summer of 2022. During my time there, I was able to profound my standing in the Russian language as I had undergone rigorous teachings. These moments brought many emotions but led me to become inspired in furthering my education in Russian. I’m very grateful for the wonderful experiences brought forth to me by the opportunities that PSI was able to provide. Thank you PSI!

Damaris Mendoza

My name is Damaris Mendoza. I am currently a freshman and participated in PSI 2022. During PSI I was exposed to a whole new culture and immersion into the Russian language. While attending PSI, I was not confident about learning Russian because it is a hard language but throughout the program, I was able to acquire more knowledge of it. All the staff was welcoming, and our counselors were helpful and fun. That also inspired me to attend PSI abroad program in Latvia in the summer of 2023. I want to thank PSI for the wonderful experience and opportunities they have provided. I am pleased to be part of the badger community and be allowed to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Eric Harris

My name is Eric Harris. I am currently a freshman at UW-Madison, and I completed the Pushkin Summer Institute during the summer of 2022. Aside from strengthening my fluency in Russian language, the PSI program allowed me to create endless memories with people I am still friends with to date. This program also allowed me to dive deeper into the Russian culture that has become something I enjoy being a part of. The PSI prepared me heavily for my first year here at Madison due to me making connections with current students during the program. I am so grateful for everyone who makes PSI possible! They have set me up for success in many ways which allow me to focus on the things that matter most while still having lots of fun.

Ericson Sanchez

Hello, I am Ericson Sanchez and recently joined PSI. I am new to this experience and hope through the years tend to know more and have a fun experience in PSI.  As a UW student I have been able to mature and develop myself. I’ve learned how to be more independent and take care of myself mentally and physically. I was able to learn new topic sand material in my classes to develop on how to become a buisness person. I tend to explore more my options and been in many different organizations to be the best version of myself. I am thankful for PSI for choosing me as being a part of there team and hope to better develop my Russian culture, community, and language Skills.