Three University of Notre Dame students received medals in the fifth annual National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest sponsored by the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR).p. More than 300 essays, including 15 from Notre Dame, were submitted by 35 colleges and universities to a panel of three Russian judges. Students were required to write for one hour in Russian about “My Favorite Place” without the aid of books or notes. Each of the Notre Dame winners participated in the non-heritage category (meaning Russian is not a first language), for which only Columbia University had more medal recipients.p. Megan McClain, a freshman from Lomita, Calif., received a Level 1, gold medal; Petra Dankova, a junior from the Czech Republic, was awarded a bronze medal in Level 1; and Alison Glass, a sophomore from Troy, N.Y., received a Level 4, bronze medal.p. “Notre Dame had more winners in the non-heritage category than institutions with renowned Russian programs, such as Harvard and Yale Universities,” said Alyssa Gillespie, assistant professor of Russian and coordinator of Notre Dame’s participation in the contest. “These awards demonstrate the strength, vitality and talent inherent in the Russian program at Notre Dame. The University’s strong showing is likely to be noticed by high school Russian teachers across the country, who might now be more likely to recommend Notre Dame for talented high school graduates looking to pursue Russian studies at the college level.”p. Founded in 1974, the ACTR works to advance research, training and materials development in the fields of Russian and English language; to strengthen communication within and between the communities of scholars and educators in language, literature and area studies in the United States and the countries of eastern Europe, Russia and Eurasia; and to further educational reform.p.