Dr. Maria Carlson is professor of Slavic languages & literatures, courtesy professor of history, and director emerita of the KU Center for Russian & East European Studies. She has taught at KU since 1987. Prof. Carlson's research focusses on Russian cultural and intellectual history and Slavic folklore. She has received various research grants (including Fulbright, IREX, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Hall Humanities Fellowship), several teaching awards (among them the AATSEEL National Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Post-Secondary Level), and awards for service (the Distinguished Service Award for Academic Leadership from the International Relations Council in Kansas City, Missouri). In 2009 Prof. Carlson was inducted into the KU Women's Hall of Fame for her many contributions to KU. Her vampire project is the outgrowth of a life-long fascination with this figure.