Ted Cross

Russian & Soviet Studies
Diplomat & Author
U.S. Department of State

My Russian Studies degree had a big impact early on. In my junior year I got an offer to work at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow due to my Russian language training, and I was thrilled to take them up on that offer once the security clearance process went through. That first job changed my life. It introduced me to the Foreign Service and made me realize it was what I wanted to do. I also met and married my wife in Moscow. I've been married to a wonderful Russian woman for nearly 23 years now. I joined the Foreign Service full time and have often purposely chosen posts where my Russian language skills could be put to some use, such as Baku, Azerbaijan and Budapest, Hungary and to a small degree even Zagreb, Croatia. I have also served in Beijing, China, Reykjavik, Iceland, and Nassau, Bahamas. My Russian experiences affected my life in other ways as well. In my novels I have used many Russian characters and set my sci-fi novel primarily in Moscow. I used the time in Russia to play chess games against several world champions, such as Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand. It may have been an unusual road for using my degree, but I wouldn't change a thing.