Alexander Tsurikov '17
Political Science/Business Management double major, Writing and Rhetoric minor
Summa Cum Laude
Alexander Tsurikov ‘17 moved from Russia to Massachusetts when he was 14 years old. While it’s hard enough to start a new school as a teenager, Alex had another challenge: he didn’t speak English. Trying his best to fit in among a sea of adolescents, Alex accelerated his mastery of the English language by reading (and memorizing!) books from the library, and filling up notebooks with words, definitions and sentence patterns. “I forced myself to learn English and get rid of my accent,” Alex says. “I observed people and their speaking patterns, picking up some of their differences and also adjusting the movements of my tongue to change my accent.”
Growing up in Russia, Alex watched a lot of American movies, many of which had taken place in New York. It became a dream of his to one day live and work there. A double major in political science and business with a minor in writing and rhetoric, Alex developed a strong interest in political science and international relations at a young age. When the time came to explore colleges, Stony Brook University (in New York!) caught his eye.
“Stony Brook has a great political science department and is one of the greatest research universities in the world,” says Alex. He also appreciated that Stony Brook University has relatively lower tuition as compared to other schools in New York that carry his degree program. “I never even visited the campus for a tour. When I came to the school to take my math placement exam, I discovered how much I liked it, and everything just worked out.”
As his college career progressed, Alex began attending networking events and subscribing to emails from the Career Center. One particular email that got his attention was about a networking event at Morgan Stanley. He attended the event, meeting many high level people from the company, which ultimately led to his application for an internship at the company. After a series of networking events, phone interviews and face to face meetings, he landed the summer internship. This was a great achievement considering the competitive application process, with numerous applications from students worldwide.
“I never expected to get the internship at Morgan Stanley,” Alex says. “I looked at the interview process as a learning experience. Today, I feel fortunate that this experience led to a job offer.” Alex will begin working at Morgan Stanley full time in January 2018, and plans to continue his current trajectory in finance.
A University Scholar, Alex is graduating with summa cum laude distinction. He is the past president of the Pre-Law Society and vice president of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. Alex also served as a recruitment chair for the Student Health Advisory Committee, and was a member of the Dean of Students Advisory Council. He also held an intern position at Senator Chuck Schumer’s office.
"I've come to learn that, in moments of self-doubt, it is important not to look around at other people or compare yourself to anyone other than your past self," Alex says. "It is important to use the memories of past struggles and difficulties - no matter how big or small - to remind yourself that you've already come this far and overcame challenges in the past so you can inspire yourself to overcome the next challenge."
When asked about his favorite classes, Alex mentions Department of Political Science Professor Helmut Norpoth’s American Elections class, which he found particularly interesting as he took this class during the time of the most recent Republican National Convention (you may recall that Professor Norpoth predicted the results of the 2016 presidential election using a model with a remarkable record of predicting election outcomes.)
Alex also mentions WRT 381 - Advanced Analytical and Argumentative Writing taught by Robert Kaplan, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, among his favorites. “ It was very demanding, very hard, and it taught me how to be a better writer,” Alex says. “You’ll always need to know how to communicate and persuade people to listen to what you have to say.”
For those students who may decide to attend Stony Brook University, Alex’s advice is simple: get involved. “I thought it was cliche when so many people said it was important to get involved, but I did; I got involved from the very start, and I realized how much of a difference it made,” he says. “It’s not just getting involved in clubs and organizations. That’s a big part of it, but it’s also getting out of your comfort zone and just talking to different individuals, especially your professors. Just building rapport with your professors can really go a long way.”
"During my three and a half years at Stony Brook, there were plenty of stressful days and moments of self-doubt that made it difficult to find motivation to persevere and continue working hard. To be able to have a successful college career, I had to learn how to motivate and inspire myself during such moments. I've come to learn that, in moments of self-doubt, it is important not to look around at other people or compare yourself to anyone other than your past self. It is important to use the memories of past struggles and difficulties - no matter how big or small - to remind yourself that you've already come this far and overcame challenges in the past so you can inspire yourself to overcome the next challenge. I believe that inspiration is a lot like love; we often say that you cannot truly love someone until you learn how to love yourself first. It goes the same for inspiration. You cannot inspire someone until you learn how to inspire yourself first. And during my time at Stony Brook, every time I felt like the homework, a project or class material was too difficult, I tried to remember where I was before and how far I have come to inspire myself to read a few more pages, solve a few more problems or write a few more paragraph when all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I think that this strategy has paid off. I consider my college career to have been successful and, knowing how much work I put into it, it is an incredible feeling when people recognize my hard work and achievements."