A photo of Syd Heller

Syd Heller

Executive Director at The Last Mile

My time studying at the UCLA Slavic Department was not something driven by career goals and aspirations (as it was for many others) but rather by personal passion and interest. Currently, most of my job responsibilities do not really involve Russian language, although I do occasionally translate or interpret between Russian and English for the University or private businesses. Russian language and culture, for me, represents something much more intimate than the way I make a living. My wife is Russian, we speak Russian at home, I travel to Russia to see friends every year and the language, music, literature and folk lore can often be encountered at our house. It is part of who I am and part of my identity in such a way that really is only possible to achieve having obtained an elevated level of linguistic and cultural proficiency – something that was only made possible for me by the UCLA Slavic Department.