Every year, Nancy Foner (who's a sociology prof. at NYC's Hunter College) requires the students in her honors seminar course, "The Peopling of New York" to interview a close relative about their family's recent history. This year, GOTO's own Alex Akulov was one of Foner's students.

This winter, the New York Times interviewed Alex & a few other students and compiled their stories for an article. Here's a snippet from Family Stories as Secret Text for Immigrants:

Before interviewing his parents, Mr. Akulov had known that his mother had studied engineering in Russia, but, he said, “I hadn’t given it much thought.” As a child in Russia, he was far more aware of his father’s career as a doctor than his mother’s work, he said.

“At the time when we came to America, I wasn’t even sure what engineers did,” Mr. Akulov said in an interview.

When the family arrived in New York in 1998, Mr. Akulov’s parents both found work at a Russian-owned laundromat in the Bronx where they were paid less than minimum wage. His father made extra money delivering newspapers.

“I don’t know how they could take it psychologically,” he told the class. “That’s crazy sacrifice.” Mr. Akulov’s mother now works as an accountant for the

Y.M.C.A., and his father is a clinical researcher at a nonprofit AIDS research organization.

Here's a link to the full article. You can also find an audio excerpt from Alex's oral history presentation on their site.

The article is a great read and an even greater testament to how determined & talented Alex is. Definitely check it out.

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