Professor Spotlight: Nina Barzachka

Carl Sander Socolow '77

Simran Dali ’22, Life & Style Columnist

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Hailing from the eastern side of Europe, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies Nina Barzachka is not unfamiliar with the changing nature of politics and its effect on a nation and its citizens. 

Born a few years before the communist regime collapsed in Bulgaria, Barzachka was always observant of how the political change in her country was impacting people in society, including her family. Her interest in the nature of the field lead her to double major in International Relations and French at Roanoke College, Salem, Va. 

“I studied abroad in Brittany, France for one semester and that was really fun, very interesting as well because I was there in 2002 when they had a presidential election,” recalled Barzachka, as she describes her growing interest in politics. She went on to pursue foreign affairs at University of Virginia, getting her Ph.D. specializing in comparative politics in Europe and international relations. 

Politics wasn’t always her set career path though. “I originally wanted to be an animator. As a child, that’s what I wanted to do. I loved to draw [and] paint. Throughout high school and college, I took art classes but I became interested in international relations somewhat towards late high school as I liked history,” revealed Barzachka.

Before coming to Dickinson, Barzachka taught at Mary Baldwin College, Transylvania University and Gettysburg College. As a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies, she is currently teaching two classes at Dickinson: “Introduction to International Relations” and “European Political Parties”. 

On being asked why she became a professor, Barzachka said, “It wasn’t planned. I started teaching in graduate school as a teaching assistant but once I was given the opportunity to teach my own class and designed my own class, I [found out] that I really loved it. And I really enjoy working with students.”

While she enjoys dabbling in conversations about protest movements in eastern Europe and the effect of institutional changes such as Brexit on political stability, Barzachka spends her time outside of college doing Zumba, swimming and painting. “And coffee. I like coffee,” she added. 

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