I am an International Affairs Specialist for the US Department of Energy's Office of Russian and Eurasian Affairs. I have used my Russian language skills in my capacities as Desk Officer for the Baltics and Armenia, as well as staff-level coordinator for the US-Russia Energy Working Group under the Bilateral Presidential Commission, established by Presidents Obama and Medvedev. I use my Russian language skills on a regular basis to analyze news, current events, and legislation (most recently on Energy Efficiency in the RF) throughout the former USSR. I think that the ability to speak a common language brings a more human face to the promotion of US government policy in the region. It really is an invaluable tool to "get the conversation started," and break the ice with high-level decision makers in advance of meetings and other events. My education gained at Middlebury, and especially the summer language program, has uniquely prepared me to take on these responsibilities serving the US government.