Eva Pankrutskaya

“Dostoyevsky once wrote in one of his great books that, when you love your country, it doesn’t mean that you have to love your government.”

Oh, she moves around a lot, does Eva Pankrutskaya. “I live downtown, and I have to take the bus—sometimes for two hours!—to get to SMC. But it’s certainly worth it, because I discovered that all the great things I heard about this college were true”. But Eva’s commute to campus is nothing like the ‘commute’ she made when she was 17.

“That’s when my family moved here from Vladivostok, and at first I was in total denial. I refused to even leave the apartment,” says the young woman who was about to become a US citizen. “But then I started making friends and studying and seeing progress in myself. Suddenly, my life changed, and I don’t regret moving here at all.” Eva’s been at SMC for a looong three years. “The thing is, I was majoring in biochemistry to become a doctor. But I realized that sort of science just didn’t make me happy. It was a real struggle for me. But architecture,” she adds, “is something that I truly enjoy. And I’m good at it, just naturally. It’s my hope,” said Eva in perfect English, “that I can transfer to the Chicago School of Art—one of the best in the country—and get my Master’s. Then we’ll just see what kinds of things I feel like building.”

But because of a great SMC teacher, Eva nearly extended her stay at SMC even longer by jumping ship for yet another major. “His name is Lawrence Driscoll, and he teaches English literature. He gave me incredible inspiration, because he has such phenomenal energy and a great sense of humor. I was really tempted to make literature my new passion,” she says with a laugh. “But then I decided, ‘No! How many passions can you fit into one lifetime?’ ”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.​