EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — President Joe Biden has nominated an East Grand Rapids native to serve as the ambassador to Ukraine.

Bridget Brink, who speaks Russian and knows several other languages, is a career diplomat who became the ambassador to Slovakia in 2019. She was nominated to that post by former President Donald Trump.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Welch went to East Grand Rapids High School with Brink. Brink was a grade ahead of her and graduated in 1987.

“I think a lot of people locally don’t realize that there’s this complete rockstar State Department employee in our midst, so I’m thrilled for her,” Welch said.

Welch said she is not surprised Brink has achieved so much success in her career.

“We were on the swim team together. She was a great gal. Always very, very busy and very, very bright. So we basically got to know each other through swim team and she also lived near me,” Welch said.

Brink has spent decades in her career with the U.S. Foreign Service, working in many eastern European countries.

“I think Bridget is such an example of a true public servant; these people who are going about their jobs out of the spotlight and of course a lot of us don’t realize the incredibly important work they’re doing,” Welch said.

The nomination needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate before Brink can officially be sworn into the new role.

“I think she will do great in this new job even though it’s incredibly challenging,” Welch said. “She is up to the task.”

Welch said she and others from her hometown are rooting for Brink’s success.

“People are going to be really enthusiastically supporting her. We are cheering her on from abroad,” Welch said. “Just so proud of her. She’s a perfect example of the great products that our local public schools can produce and she’s a shining star.”