Meet QUEST’s New Graduate Assistant, Russell Ottalini!

Russell Ottalini, QUEST’s New GA

The QUEST program is excited to have a new addition to the guild this academic year, Russell Ottalini! Having grown up in Silver Spring and attended Montgomery Blair High School, Russell comes to QUEST with experiences both from undergrad and his years of volunteering and working out of the classroom.

He attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he majored in Sociology and Japanese. After he graduated, Russell worked with the Princeton to Asia (PiA) program for two years, teaching English in Japan. After PiA, Russell came back to Pittsburgh to work at HCL America for a year and a half. Shortly thereafter, he came back to his roots in Maryland, where he is now a graduate student at UMD studying Urban Studies and Planning.

When asked what brought him to work with the QUEST program and why he took on the assistantship, he said that he connected well with the mission and ideals of QUEST. Having been involved with honors programs in the past, Russell is keen on the overarching theme of honors students being enthused and invested into their futures and forming relationships with alumni and staff within those programs.

With QUEST in particular, Russell expressed enthusiasm about seeing students pursuing new innovations, which parallels well with his current studies in urban planning. With the recent changes in the Quality Guild, such as the addition of our new (but not really new) Executive Director Joe Bailey, Russell mentioned he’s more than excited for the potential for impact that he could have in the QUEST program in the upcoming years, as well as growth in professional and personal development.

If you found Russell at karaoke, he says that you’d be catching him singing the 60s top 100 hit Sukiyaki, which, by contrary to the suggested name of a food, translates to “I walk as I look up.” It’s great to have you on board, Russell, and the QUEST community is looking forward to getting to know you and seeing what you have in store for the future!

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