Haley Bader grew up on a small farm in Madison County, Virginia, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. She resisted the traditional demand of footwear (smelly feet and enforced baking-soda bombs are a sour combination in any child’s sneakers) to take barefoot romps in the woods. She spent her formative years hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, camping, wandering, taking turns at the cider press, relishing dunks in the frigid waters of the Rapidan River and filling hours of countryside solitude with book binges and sometimes haphazard cooking.
These experiences left her with a taste for adventure.
Haley attended Bard College in New York, a small liberal arts institution on the banks of the Hudson River. She studied Russian & Eurasian Studies and Asian Studies with a focus on the Russian and Japanese languages. For her senior thesis, she described the bride-kidnapping phenomenon in Kyrgyzstan as well as the role of NGOs and NPOs in Central Asian women’s organizations. During her studies, she also worked with the children of several families as a caretaker, tutor and mentor. She graduated in May 2013.
After taking a year off to explore the culinary industry, Haley began volunteering as an Americorps VISTA. Her background working with children and her desire to learn more about NPOs led her to team up with Space of Her Own and Space of His Own (SOHO), one-on-one creative mentoring programs that incorporate the arts to support 5th-grade at-risk youth.
Following Americorps, Haley worked for 6 months as a Youth Service Coordinator at the Alexandria Court Service Unit, a partner of SOHO. Haley taught youth on probation, as well as youth diverted from court proceedings, life skills and continues to support the SOHO programs.
Beginning in May 2016, she began voluntary service with Peace Corps and was assigned to work as a Community and Organizational Development Volunteer with the “Miras-Moldova” Public Association in Comrat, Gagauzia, Moldova. Her main tasks were building organizational capacity, cultural reporting, recruiting local volunteers and developing/co-coordinating a Journalism Mentoring Program for local youth. Beyond forging great friendships and cooking (a lot), she focused her free time on cultural reporting and storytelling, which are recorded in the archives of this website.
In May 2020, Haley graduated with a master’s degree from Harvard’s Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian (REECA) studies program. Her thesis, “Moldova’s Media Formation: He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune,” focuses on media systems and the neo-Soviet model of the media; tracks the evolution of Soviet media in Russia to its modern media system, and then compares it with that of Moldova; and uncovers the many influences of geopolitics, Moldovan political institutions and civil society that have resulted in a media system with de facto Democratic values but that functions as a captured system generally controlled by oligarchs with massive wealth.
Her passions lie in the Russian and French languages, psychology, feminism, human rights & social justice, writing and the arts. She still loves to read.