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An Interview with Timofey Velenchuk, Global Legal Research Intern

Timofey Velenchuk at the Jefferson Building. [Photo by Kelly McKenna]

Describe your background

I was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, and moved to the United States when I was two and a half.  I lived in northeast Philadelphia for about five years and after that moved to Warminster, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where I went to high school at William Tennent High School.

What is your academic/professional history?

I went to college at Penn State where I was a student at the Schreyer Honors College and where I studied economics, political science, history, and psychology.  I’ve always been fascinated by government, politics, and international affairs, and so I decided to write my Schreyer honors thesis in political science on the relationship between war and conflict and regime change in Eastern European states.

I’ve also done psychology research, specifically in how body behavior can change one’s perception of their own attractiveness and self-efficacy.  I had the opportunity to present my research at an Eastern Psychological Association Conference in New York City.  Other extracurricular activities I’ve done include serving as the treasurer for the political science honors society Pi Sigma Alpha, and working as an undergraduate teaching assistant for an economics class called “Economics of Sports.”

I’m currently a rising second year law student at Georgetown University Law Center, where I’ve taken a big interest in constitutional law, criminal procedure, and litigation.  I’m a Bradley Fellow for the Georgetown Center for the Constitution and a new member of the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I get to do a lot of legal research and writing in really interesting and complex areas of both United States and Eastern European law.  I love doing work in both constitutional and criminal law, and at the Law Library, have had the opportunity to conduct research on a variety of topics, including child protection and disability laws in the context of writing a Global Legal Monitor article. I love diving into and dissecting unique and complex legal questions, and I’ve been able to do just that by responding to congressional requests on foreign legal questions ranging from banking law to stare decisis. One of the projects is related to freedom of speech in the United States. I researched a variety of topics including the origins of U.S. freedom of speech law, the constitutional foundation, and case law surrounding freedom of speech.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

I love libraries because they are a repository of knowledge.  So naturally, I was drawn to the Library of Congress.  I also wanted a summer internship where I could tackle exciting and challenging legal issues while also expanding my research and writing skills; the Law Library was able to provide a great blend of both.

What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?

I was surprised at the large amount of congressional and other government requests the Law Library receives on foreign legal issues.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I’m a former concert pianist.  I went to Settlement Music School, where I studied piano performance under Dolly Krasnopolsky, and musical theory.

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