Peer Career Advisor (PCA) and Posse Scholar Zoey Ellis ’22 interviewed Ryan Tauriainen ’08 to answer common career related questions LGBTQ+ identifying students might have when seeking job opportunities.
Zoey: What activities or student organizations were you involved in during college and how did they help you get to where you are today?
Ryan: While a student, I was predominantly involved with Middlebury Open Queer Alliance (MOQA) and Feminist Action at Middlebury (FAM). I was co-president of MOQA in 2007-2008, which was an eventful period for queer activism at Middlebury. I was also part of a three-person team that successfully founded the Queer Studies House in 2008. Being the leader of a student organization helped me to develop communication and organization skills, which was useful in future leadership positions I held.
Zoey: As a graduate who identiﬁes as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming, Genderfluid, or Queer, what are some of the questions you suggest students should keep in mind when researching employers and applying to job opportunities?
Ryan: Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender expression. The landscape for queer people in employment is better than it has ever been. That being said, working in a supportive environment is key for one’s mental health. I’d suggest that students do their research before applying. Does the workplace have a history of supporting LGBT people or causes? Does the workplace have an LGBT affinity group? Are there already LGBT employees one can check-in with? Are there LGBT people in seats of leadership or influence? Does the place of work donate to organizations or politicians who are anti-LGBT?
It is also essential to remember when an employer is interviewing you, you are also interviewing your employer. If you feel comfortable, you could ask how the employer supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and specifically LGBT employees.
Zoey: Would you suggest students consider to what extent they would like their career to incorporate their LGBTQ+ identity? Do you want your identity to have a major role, such as working for an LGBTQ+ advocacy group? Or expressed differently, like joining the LGBTQ+ affinity group for employees at an organization?
Ryan: LGBT people, like everyone else, should pursue the career or field that they are passionate about. If that means pursuing a job that is directly related to LGBT rights or activism, that’s wonderful, but it isn’t the right fit for everyone. For some LGBT people, they may have a career that isn’t directly tied to their identity (lawyer, teacher, etc.) but allows their identity to be incorporated in a different way. For example, a queer professor who advises a queer student group on campus or a queer physician who does outreach to the LGBT community. Joining affinity groups can be a great way to find support or make friendships at work when they exist. That is not something that interests every queer person and it should never feel compulsory to be involved in such groups.
Personally, I have always been “out” wherever I worked in the sense that people I worked with always knew that I was gay and partnered (eventually married) to another man. When I was a teacher and a school leader, it was not necessarily something I discussed with students or parents unless it was applicable to the conversation, but that had more to do with keeping my personal life and professional life separate. For some people, that is a very important delineation. Essentially, people should express themselves at the level they choose.
Zoey: Could you recommend any career-related LGBTQ+ resources that helped you in the job search process?
Ryan: I have been very fortunate that in every role I’ve held, using career-related resources wasn’t necessary for me to find the job. I will give the recommendation of the Victory Fund as an LGBT resource if you would like to pursue political appointments for an administration. I know that they are working with the Biden administration to increase the number of LGBT appointees.
Zoey: Have you come out to your employer, and if so, when in the employment process and how?
Ryan: I’ve been fortunate to always work in environments or states in which being LGBT was protected, if not celebrated. In my adulthood, I’ve always felt comfortable being “out.” I’ve never had to “come out” to my employers in the sense that based on my appearance and mannerisms it is usually assumed. Sometimes people are visibly curious but feel uncomfortable asking, so in those cases, I will mention something about my husband to confirm suspicions. I also do this if I find out or suspect a coworker is LGBT, in order for them to find another ally. For example, as a principal, I had the occasion to interview (and hire) applicants who were gay and transgender and I always made a point to drop the hint that I was a member of the community so that they would be less nervous. It gave me great pleasure to hire other LGBT people (as long as they were also qualified and a good fit)!
Zoey: What advice would you give your younger college self?
Ryan: The advice that I would give my younger self would be to apply for everything and not fear rejection. When I was younger, I would talk myself out of applying for programs or jobs because I would convince myself I wasn’t qualified. At a certain point, I started to ask myself, “Why not me?” and pursued everything I was interested in. I wish I had that mindset sooner. I also do not get discouraged by rejection. There have been multiple programs I have applied for and been rejected on the first try. Persistence matters! I have been admitted to nearly every program I have pursued, eventually – sometimes after three tries. In 2019, I was the first Middlebury graduate to ever be admitted into the White House Fellowship, a program with an acceptance rate of less than 1%. However, after applying three years in a row, I eventually made it in. I was told my perseverance was one of the major factors in being offered one of the 15 spots that year.
Zoey: Is there any other advice that you’d like to share with Middlebury students?
Ryan: Middlebury students are incredibly fortunate – do not waste the opportunity you are being given at one of the most beautiful and enriching schools in the world. While a student at Middlebury, challenge yourself to take classes that will perfect your writing and speaking skills. I have found that those are the most important and universal skills in the professional world. You may be surprised to find out just how few people can do those two things well.
My second piece of advice is to be bold and to reach out. I think this should apply to anyone you want to reach out to, but Midd Kids should feel especially comfortable reaching out to other alums. I have found that Middlebury alumni tend to be extremely loyal to our alma mater. Do not be afraid to reach out (via email, LinkedIn, social media, etc) to Middlebury alums who can help you in your field. You would be surprised just how many will respond and actively want to assist you. The worst thing that could happen is being ignored – and that puts you in essentially the same situation had you not reached out at all. Put yourself out there confidently and respectfully and you will go far. On a related note, always be kind to “assistants” and “schedulers”! If you do it the correct way, you’ll always get a response.
My third piece of advice is to never underestimate the power of written thank-you letters. One of the best investments I ever made was having personalized stationery and envelopes made (with my name, address, and a monogram). I even bought a fountain pen, wax, and a wax-seal. Every prominent or potentially helpful person who gives me a moment of time receives a hand-written and mailed card from me. I cannot tell you how much that sticks out in people’s minds. They simply do not forget it! Something that takes just a few minutes could create a lifetime of opportunity.
Ryan Tauriainen was most recently a White House Fellow serving in the US Department of Education where he helped to streamline operations, manage education grants, and direct the Department’s response to COVID-19. Ryan also helped to oversee the dissemination of over $30 billion of emergency educational funding. Prior to being a Fellow, Ryan had a long career in public K-12 education. Ryan started his career as a Hawaii Public Schools teacher through Teach For America, where he was among the highest performing teachers in the state. He moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he would serve as a teacher, principal, and district leader. Ryan became a principal at age 26, making him the youngest in the country at the time. He has won several local awards for educational leadership, including being The Washington Post’s Principal of the Year in 2016, and has national awards from five different organizations. He is the author of five children’s books. Ryan received his bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College while on a National Merit Scholarship and a master of education from Chaminade University of Honolulu. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.
If you would like to contact Ryan Tauriainen, please reach out via Midd2Midd!
- Communications Specialist – Deadline date: May 6
- Junior Analyst (Digital marketing consulting firm serving Arts and Culture Organizations) – Deadline date: May 7 – They want to hire 5 analysts!
- Summer Intern: Digital Design, Editorial – Deadline date: May 7
- Copywriting Intern – Paid (Summer 2021) – Deadline date: May 7
- Personal Assistant (Classical Music and Publishing Management Firm) – Deadline date: May 7
- Games & Interactive Experiences Audio Intern: Remote – Summer 2021 – Deadline date: May 7
- WMG Emerging Talent Associate Program (Virtual – Summer 2021) (Warner Music Group) – Deadline date: May 7
- Remote Writers’ Assistant: Blog & Technical Writing – Deadline date: May 8
- Summer 2021 Publicity Internship – Deadline date: May 10
- Web Editor (WomenWorking.com is looking for talented, passionate, web editor/writer to join their team) – Deadline date: May 10
- Painting/Drawing Instructor for July Teen Program – Deadline date: May 10
- W.W. Norton & Company is the oldest and largest publishing house owned wholly by its employees. They posted 16 positions in handshake! – Deadline date: May 10
- 2050 Administrative Fellowship (New York Theatre Workshop) Deadline date: May 11
When: Wednesday, May 5th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. EST
This session is designed for juniors and seniors as they prepare for what’s next. Over 90-minutes, Kevin Ostergaard, CFP® ChFC®, will provide a high-level view into basic budgeting principles, cash flow management, retirement planning, taxes, debt management, personal investing, and more.
Please register in advance. Space is limited.
Webinar Presenter Kevin Ostergaard, CFP®, ChFC®
Kevin is an Associate Financial Planner at Wolf Group Capital Advisors specializing in holistic financial planning. He is dedicated to supporting and guiding his clients to achieve financial freedom through the development of a comprehensive financial plan and tailored investment management strategy. Kevin is a Certified Financial Planner® and a Chartered Financial Consultant®. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in economics and also holds an Executive Certificate in Financial Planning from Georgetown University.
Come learn from a panel of graduate students at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) about what it’s like to specifically study NPTS. Bring your questions, and be ready for the group to discuss topics like why they attended grad school, what skills are they developing and how they want to use their degree. Open to all students. Click HERE to register in Handshake and get the Zoom link.
Here are the panelists for Wednesday, April 28 at 7 pm EST:
ELLE ZESKY is a second semester NPTS student from Syracuse New York. She is also perusing the Financial Crime specialization and serves as the Graduate Assistant for the Cyber Collaborative. Elle’s background includes working in cyber security, information technology, data science, counter human trafficking and intelligence. Elle is passionate about accessible cyber education, blockchain technology, cyber capacity building and countering disinformation, radicalization and extremism online.
CYRUS JABBARI is currently working at Analytic Services, Inc. (ANSER) as a Technical Analyst, assigned to the Pentagon within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). His work includes supporting and briefing the acting Under Secretary and the acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, performing data analytics on DoD research, development, test, and evaluation, and developing new tools for analysis and implementation of DoD Modernization Priorities. He is a recent graduate of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), having attained an MA in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies and advanced language training in Persian (Farsi). He holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California. Mr. Jabbari has worked at organizations including the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of State, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the United Nations Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch, and the Congressional Research Service.
BEN MATTERN is in his final semester at the Middlebury Institute studying Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS) with a specialization in Financial Crime Management. His research at the Institute focuses on counter threat financing and Russian financial crime with particular emphasis on cryptocurrency and other emerging technologies. Ben currently works for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and volunteers with CipherTrace’s Defenders League conducting crypto asset recovery investigations. Before coming to the Institute, Ben completed his undergraduate studies at Lehigh University and worked for a financial technology company in Moscow and New York City, where he was responsible for sales and strategic partnerships in the eastern United States.
RAYNA ROGERS is a master’s candidate in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. She’s a Graduate Research Assistant at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies using open-source tools to understand technological advancements of countries’ nuclear weapon programs.
This is the third of four events this spring in a series of events about graduate school. There will be another about graduate programs at MIIS in Translation and Localization Management on May 6.
The series is a collaboration between the Center for Careers and Internships, the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs’ Student Advisory Board, the Model UN club at Middlebury, and the Student Council at MIIS.
Established in 2011 by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, the Paulson Institute is a non-partisan, independent “think and do” tank dedicated to fostering a US-China relationship that serves to maintain global order in a rapidly evolving world. We are based in Chicago with offices in Washington and Beijing. Our diverse, multicultural staff brings deep experience to our work from the highest levels of business, government, conservation, policy and research.
Our focus on US-China is dictated by the reality that it is the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world. We often operate at the intersection of economics, financial markets, environmental protection, and policy advocacy, in part by promoting balanced and sustainable economic growth.
We currently have open Summer Internship opportunities for highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students. Our internships are paid and typically involve much more than general research, although there will be some of that.
You will be required to work with MacroPolo experts, the creative team, and leadership on major projects for which you will contribute significantly. It’s an opportunity to not only conduct relevant research but to also gain insight on how to create and execute on products.
You will be involved in team functions and activities and also have the potential opportunity to publish work jointly, as evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We encourage a diverse set of applicants from different fields—from researchers and analysts to coders and designers and data scientists. Traditional think tank experience is not required.
Design Your Midd: Pros & Cons for Making Decisions
As a student, you are often presented with multiple options and face tough decisions that may have lasting impact on your life. Come to this workshop if you have an important decision to make in the near future. You might be thinking about choosing classes or a major, where to study aboard, what to do this summer, or which internship offer to take. Come learn how to use logic, data and feelings to make good choices. This program is designed for First Years and Sophomore Febs, but all students are welcome. This program is co-sponsored by Blueprint and the Center for Careers and Internships.
These projects enable Middlebury students and recent graduates to develop and demonstrate their skillsets, explore career paths, and build their networks. They also give alumni and parents access to the talented network of Middlebury undergrads and newly minted graduates.
Past Midd Gigs have encompassed a diverse range of industries and projects, ranging from podcasting and script editing in the creative industries to rigorous research and statistical analysis in STEM and business fields.
Midd Gigs are perfect for projects or short-term initiatives that don’t fit within the parameters of a traditional internship or work assignment. Our platform enables any Middlebury alum or parent to easily create a position announcement, manage the hiring process, and structure the project workflow. We encourage prospective project sponsors to think creatively about their needs and “hire Midd!”
Visit Midd Gigs on Midd2Midd to apply for projects!
Click here for frequently asked questions regarding Midd Gigs.
You’ve landed the internship or have plans to secure one soon. How do you prepare for your internship and get the most from your summer experience? Hear from a panel of students giving their best tips and advice on making the most of your internship. The conversation will include working with supervisors, taking initiative, what to do when you make a mistake or don’t know how to do an assigned task, organizing your work, negotiating conflict in the workplace, advocating for yourself, preparing for and ending your internship strong, and more! There will be time for your questions as well.
Making the Most of your Internship!
Monday, April 26, 5:00-6:00 pm
Brought to you by Blueprint and the Center for Careers and Internships.
Interested in making your mark in Vermont this summer? Experience SUMMER in VERMONT with one of these amazing MiddWorks for Vermont internships. The goal of these internships is for students to gain the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in making lasting change at the local or state level while working to further the mission of the organizations they will be serving.
There are some really wonderful internships posted now and more to come – apply by April 23rd and make an impact in Vermont this summer!
Torden is a New England-based professional services firm that provides foreign language solutions to the Federal Government – specifically, the Intelligence Community. Working as members of an integrated Government-Contractor team in support our nation’s National Security, Torden language professionals help protect against threats emanating from our Nation’s adversaries.
Torden language professionals must meet the Government language requirements, as well as be vetted for security clearances. The qualification process can be lengthy, but can also be accomplished while you are completing your degrees.
Torden’s requirements include Russian and Arabic language professionals to support National Level intelligence requirements from U.S.-based facilities. Their employees are a combination of native linguists and graduates from the nation’s top institutions for foreign languages. They will brief you on their current openings, the security process, and what life is like as a Torden professional.
Date: Wednesday, April 14
Time: 6pm-7pm EST
Click here to register in handshake!
|Arab-American Business & Professional Association (ABPA) Institute is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing free professional development and internship opportunities to underrepresented groups, minorities, and Arab-American students across the US to boost their participation in civic services, federal agencies, Fortune500 companies, Think-Tanks, and Non-Profits. |
ABPA Institute’s Internship Placement Program (IPP) is an experiential learning program that empowers Arab-American students to integrate theoretical knowledge in their academic curriculum with practical application in a professional setting.
The goal of ABPA Institute’s IPP is to foster Arab-American students’ professional skills and enable them to benefit from the vast opportunities across the United States.
ABPA Institute’s IPP is a collaboration among ABPA Institute, a host employer, and the student. The role of ABPA Institute is to facilitate the way for young talents to their best career path within the public or private sector. ABPA Institute’s signature established a robust internship program that placed students within many top organizations including Bureau of Land Management of Dept. Interior, Dept. of State, Middle Eastern Institute, Gulf International Forum, US-UAE Business Council, Dept. Energy, and many more in the recent years.
Moreover, ABPA Institute helps all Arab-American student applicants with the most critical mentorship services including:
-Providing students one-on-one advising to prepare their internship application packages
-Offering individually tailored mentoring services including: how to write a resume & cover letter for Federal internship positions and how to succeed in job interviews
-Providing editing services such as: feedback on applicants’ cover letter, resume, and writing samples
They offer paid/unpaid or academic credit, depending on ABPA Institute’s agreement with the host employer.
Join. Connect. Grow. Arab-American Business and Professional Association (ABPA) is a Non-Profit organization. ABPA strives to promote networking and professional opportunities Arab-Americans, African Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans, Hispanics, Veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
Date: Friday, April 16
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00 pm EST
Click here to register in handshake!