Anthony Vanchu, Ph.D. 1990


Dissertation: Jurij Olesa’s Artistic Prose and Utopian Mythologies of the 1920s. 1990.

Director, NASA Johnson Space Center Language Education Center

Since 1998 I have been working for a private comany, TechTrans International, Inc. in Houston Texas. TechTrans currently holds the NASA contract for foreign language and ESL instruction at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas (we also do interpretation, translation, and logistics for NASA). I have worked for TechTrans in the following capacities: 1998 Russian Language Instructor; December, 1998 – June, 2000 Russian Language Program Director July 2000-present, Director, NASA Johnson Space Center Language Education Center.

We have a thriving program at the JLEC. Most of the foreign lanugage instruction is in Russian, providing basic and advanced language training for astronauts and other personnel who have regular contact with their Russian colleagues. Most important for us is the preparation of American crew members for the International Space Station-they need to have sufficient Russian language competency to do the requisite training in Russia as well as fly one the ISS with their Russian colleague(s) and, at times, to speak with Russian ground control. Astronauts are generally taught in tutorials, while we teach group classes for the non-astronaut student population. We have some 200 students right now. Besides Russian, we also have some offerenings in Japanese. Finally we teach ESL to cosmonauts when they are in Houston for training. We do a lot of creation of our own materials here. I’ve developed and teach a 4-hour class on pronoucing Russian ISS (International Space Station) acronyms–even when flight controllers and others are speaking in English, all the acronyms for the Russian equipment are spoken in Russian.

Other professional experience:
1988 to 1996 Assistant Professor, Department of Slavic Languages, University of Texas at Austin
Summer, 1996–NEH Summer Seminar on Gender and Identity in Russian Literature. Amherst College, Amherst, MA.
1996-1997 Visiting Assistant Professor, Dept. of German & Russian, Oberlin College

While at Berkeley, besides being a TA for Russian language classes, I did direct the Summer language program in 1987.


  • “Technology as Esoteric Cosmology in Early Soviet Literature,” in The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, Bernice Rosenthal, ed., Cornell University Press, 1997: pp. 203-222
  • Translations of: Efim Yeliseev, “The Bench”; Vitaly Yasinsky, “A Sunny Day at the Seaside”; K. E., “The Phone Call.” in: Out of the Blue: Russia’s Hidden Gay Literature, An Anthology. Kevin Moss, ed. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1997; pp. 353-392
  • “Teaching Twentieth-Century Russian Literature with Original Texts: Strategies for Course Design” in: Delbert Philips, ed. Metodika prepodavanija russkogo jazyka i literatury v Amerike. Moscow: Syntax, v. 2, 1996; pp. 74-95
  • “Escape from ‘Tukhlandiia’: Cultural and Historical Perspective in Viktor Erofeev’s ‘Pis’mo k materi’ (‘A Letter to My Mother’),” in O Rus’!: Studia litteraria slavica in honorem Hugh McLean, Simon Karlinsky, James L. Rice, Barry P. Scherr, eds. Berkeley: Berkeley Slavic Specialists, 1995; pp. 515-530
  • “Cross(-Dress)ing One’s Way to Crisis: Evgenii Popov and Liudmila Petrushevskaia and the Crisis of Category in Contemporary Russian Culture.” World Literature Today. Special Issue: “Russian Literature at a Crossroads,” Winter, 1993; pp. 107-118
  • “Lack of Absolute Harmony (on the prose of Evgenii Popov),” Discovery Magazine, vol. 12, no. 14, 1992; pp. 14-19
  • “Desire and the Machine: The Literary Origins of Yury Olesha’s ‘Ofeliya’,” The European Foundations of Russian Modernism, Peter Barta, ed. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991; pp. 251-295