I grew up in California, and graduated from Harvard in 1993 with a degree in Russian history & literature. I worked for five years after college before returning for a masters’ degree at Johns Hopkins SAIS. After finishing SAIS, I realized I wanted an academic career, rather than the business career I had previously been planning. I moved back to California in 2000 to start a history Ph.D. at Berkeley. At Berkeley I became interested in cross-cultural interactions between Russia and China under socialism, and therefore started taking Chinese. In the long run I hope to do all sorts of research comparing Russian and Chinese experiences of socialism. My dissertation is about the lives of Chinese students in the Soviet Union. I am currently in China interviewing former students, and will come to Russia for six months starting in February to work in the archives.