STARTALK Immersion Program

Cohort 2014 - Faculty and Staff


Dina MokhnatkinDina Mokhnatkin, M.A.

Director of the Program, Professor Mokhnatkin has an M.A. in Russian Language and Literature and was a Research Fellow in Art and Architecture at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. She has extensive experience in teaching Russian language, literature, civilization and cultural studies at all levels in both the United States and Russia. For the past 8 years, Professor Mokhnatkin has been the Director of two Russian Immersion Programs at CSUN – the summer STARTALK Russian Language and Culture Immersion Program and the year-long National Strategic Language Initiative Program (SLI). In addition, she has been the head of a study abroad program for the past 5 years in which students travel to Russia, organizing and coordinating an agreement between California State University, Northridge and the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, Russia. Under her leadership, the program has become coveted throughout the United States and known for its focus, structure, and unprecedented results in achieving fluency in Russian language. Alumni of the program have gone on to employ the Russian language in their future endeavors, from translating at the Russian Winter Olympics in Sochi to teaching English in Russia at the University level while on Fullbright Scholarship.

Professor Mokhnatkin has also developed new curriculum for her Russian Studies program at California State University, Northridge utilizing her methodology and pedagogical skills. She has created new classes for the program, such as Russian Civilization, Russian Folklore, and Russian Business and Travel. Her topic of interest is the methodology of teaching Russian Language for non-native speakers.

She is very proud of the instructors who have worked with her for the past 8 years, as well as the several former participants of the program that also make up this year’s Teaching Assistant team.


Oleg MininOleg Minin, Ph.D.

Dr. Oleg Minin has been the Lead Instructor of the STARTALK Russian Language and Culture Immersion Program and the Strategic Language Initiative Program for the last 8 years and has been instrumental in the creation of the Russian Language and Culture Immersion Program curriculum. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California with an emphasis on Language Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition. His areas of research and publication include literature, visual and performing arts of the Russian Silver Age and the Avant-Garde, the periodical satirical press of the Russian fin de siècle, J. Habermas’s social theory, P. Bourdieu’s theory of cultural production, and Russian artists in the United States.

Dr. Minin has experience teaching Russian language, literature, and culture at all levels. For the past two years he has been a visiting professor from Bard College in New York, and has returned to CSUN every summer to continue his involvement with the STARTALK Program and to be a part of our team.

Tatiana ChapmanTatiana Chapman

Tatiana’s professional experience in the United States includes teaching the Russian language at all levels as well as teaching Russian Literature. She has taught four years as a lecturer of the Intermediate Russian Conversation at the Strategic Languages Initiative program and three years at the STARTALK Program at California State University, Northridge. Her qualifications include a graduate degree in Liberal Arts from Saint Petersburg which is her native city.

Teaching in STARTALK Program is an excellent and very effective program. She is happy to be a part of the STARTALK Team.

Teaching Assistants

Noah LloydNoah Lloyd

I am currently a senior at California State University, Northridge where I am majoring in History and minoring in Russian Studies. I am an alumnus of both the STARTALK and SLI programs and really enjoyed being a part of them. This summer, I am working as a Teaching Assistant in the STARTALK Program and have been working with Tatiana Chapman and her Intermediate Low class. I have really enjoyed working with the students and helping them to become proficient in Russian.

I chose to be part of the STARTALK Immersion program because of my fascination with Russian history. I felt that it would be impossible to have a fully rounded view of Russia and its history without having a strong grasp on its language. After taking just one semester of Russian, I fell in love with the language. After graduation, I plan on entering graduate school to study American history. 

Kyle PachecoKyle Pacheco

I am currently a senior at California State University, Northridge, majoring in mathematics. However, I would like to change my major to Russian studies or add it as a minor. I became interested in Russian language when my friends would speak Russian with each other, excluding me and other friends who spoke only English. I have completed four semesters of Russian here at CSUN. I travelled to Moscow and St. Petersburg with the Russian Strategic Language Initiative Program in 2013. I am an alumnus of the STARTALK Program and am working this summer as a Teaching Assistant for the program. I decided to continue my studies in Russian language not only because it is interesting, but because it opens up many job opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to me.