Churbanova is from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is majoring in anthropology and pursuing minors in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, and Chinese language and culture.
She lived in Moscow until age 6, and has returned annually with her family to visit relatives. In her Schwarzman application, she wrote about her gap year before Princeton, studying Mandarin in Beijing through the U.S. State Department’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth.
The experience piqued her interest in the relationship between China and Russia, and its U.S. policy implications. She wrote: “I aim to become an academic anthropologist; dedicate my research to arriving at a people-based, unbiased understanding of Sino-Russian relations; and use the outcomes of my research to shape U.S. policy.”
In summer 2023, Churbanova conducted ethnographic research for her senior thesis about Taiwan’s Russian community. She has also completed summer internships with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow and the Arkansas Lieutenant Governor’s Office. She has received Princeton’s Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence twice.
At Princeton, she is a member of Mathey College, where she is a peer academic adviser. She is also a head fellow at the Writing Center, president of Princeton’s Society of Russian Language and Culture, and financial stipend director at the Daily Princetonian. She has also served as an advising fellow with Matriculate, advising students through the college application process.
The full story is available to read here: Three Princeton seniors and one alumnus have been named Schwarzman Scholars