Tag Archives: Diversity & Inclusion

Ryan Tauriainen, Former White House Fellow serving in the US Department of Education, answers career related questions LGBTQ+ identifying students might have when seeking job opportunities

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!

Applications now accepted for Theatre Communications Group Rising Leaders of Color

Seeking early-career, NYC-based BIPOC leaders in all theatre disciplines.   Since 2016, TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color (RLC) program has developed and highlighted highly talented early-career Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders across the U.S. who are committed to initiating and upholding equitable practices in the theatre field. 

Funded in part by the Howard Gilman Foundation, an organization that supports performing arts organizations in all five New York City boroughs, this year’s RLC will form a cohort of eight highly talented early-career BIPOC leaders based in NYC.    

Join program staff for an info session to learn more about the program: Wednesday, March 10th, 3:00pm EST
Click here to register for the event!

Students! ProPublica and The Pudding Want to Help Pay For Your Journalism Expenses in 2021.

They are giving 25 scholarships to help you attend a journalism conference and/or to support your work.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

We are proud to announce our sixth annual scholarship program. This year we are teaming up with The Pudding, a visual essays online publication.

ProPublica, with additional support from The Pudding, will be sponsoring need-based scholarships for 25 students to attend an eligible journalism conference in 2021 and/or to contribute toward journalism related expenses such as subscriptions to news publications, software, FOIA fees, or equipment (think cameras, recorders, etc.).

Residents eligible to file a W-9 can apply. We especially encourage students from an underrepresented group in journalism — including people of color, women, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities — to apply.

The $750 scholarships will go to students who would otherwise be unable to attend conferences or purchase supplies to support their education and ongoing reporting.

The following conferences offer great opportunities for networking and professional development, especially for those just starting out in journalism. Scholarship recipients will also have the opportunity to meet ProPublica and The Pudding staff throughout the year at conferences (virtual or in person). Check out last year’s scholarship recipients.

You can apply for the scholarship here. The deadline is Feb. 22. Students have the option to select a conference as part of their application. We understand many have yet to announce dates and that formats may change, but we would still like to know which you are interested in attending.

  • AAJA, Asian American Journalists Association. Location and dates TDB.
  • AHCJ, Association of Health Care Journalists. Austin, Texas, June 24-27.
  • IRE, Investigative Reporters and Editors. Indianapolis, June 17-20.
  • JAWS, Journalism and Women Symposium. New Mexico, Sept. 24-26.
  • NABJ National Association of Black Journalists. Houston, Aug. 18-22.
  • NAHJ National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Virtual, July (exact date TBD).
  • NAJA, Native American Journalists Association. Phoenix, Sept. 15-19.
  • NICAR, The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting. Virtual, March 3-5.
  • NLGJA, Association of LGBTQ Journalists. Location and dates TBD.
  • NPPA, National Press Photographers Association (Northern Short Course). Location and dates TBD.
  • ONA, Online News Association. Location and dates TBD.
  • SND, Society for News Design. Location and dates TBD.
  • SRCCON, organized by OpenNews. Location and dates TBD.

Every year, we share what ProPublica is doing to increase the diversity of our newsroom and of journalism as a whole. These scholarships are a small but important step to help student journalists from underrepresented communities take advantage of everything these conferences offer.

High school, college and graduate students are welcome to apply. You must be a student at the time of application, but it’s OK if you’re graduating this spring.

Questions about the application process? Want to contribute to our scholarship fund to send more students to these conferences? Get in touch at adriana.gallardo@propublica.org.

Lime Connect Fellowship Program applications are open! Rising juniors with disabilities are invited to apply by February 28th!

The Lime Connect Fellowship Program For Students with Disabilities is our flagship program in the U.S. designed for highly accomplished rising juniors with disabilities. 
Applications for the 2021 Fellowship Program are now OPEN! Apply by Sunday, February 28th at midnight PST!
This prestigious program:
  • guides Fellows through the summer internship recruitment process
  • connects them with our corporate partners – some of the world’s leading corporations – for potential Summer 2022 internships and more
  • deepens their leadership skills
  • prepares them for success in their internship
  • builds their confidence as a person with a disability
  • engages them in a Lime Connect Fellowship community, consisting of current and past Fellows
  • provides access to prestigious scholarships

The Fellowship Program kicks off with a leadership & development symposium in New York in July and offers individual coaching, webinars, mentoring, and Fellows community discussions throughout the year.  Upon “graduation” from the program, Fellows become part of the larger Lime Connect Fellows Community and have access to ongoing professional development, community and networking opportunities throughout their careers.

2021 Lime Connect Fellowship Program Eligibility Requirements:
  • A current sophomore at a four-year university in the United States
  • Continuing studies as a full-time student for the 2021 – 2022 academic year
  • Eligible to work in the United States
  • A person with a (visible or invisible) disability.
Lime Connect Fellow Benefits:
  • Participation in an expense-paid Leadership & Development Symposium in New York City
  • Access to Lime Connect’s partner companies (BlackRock, Bloomberg, EY, Goldman Sachs, Google, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Microsoft, PwC, Sony, and Unilever) via networking events, career workshops & more for potential summer 2022 internships
  • Ongoing professional development, coaching, and mentoring for internship and career success
  • Lifelong benefits of The Lime Connect Fellows Network
  • Further development of Lime Connect’s Fellowship Program and mentoring for future Fellows classes

*NOTE: The Leadership & Development Symposium listed above is slated to take place in New York City, assuming COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. If necessary symposium programming will take place virtually.

Click here to learn more and to apply!

The Lime Connect Lens: building accessible and inclusive workplaces – Thursday, December 3

Lime is excited to share the details of their virtual offerings that are designed to raise awareness about the experiences of people with disabilities, opportunities to create more accessible workplaces and the learnings around disability that have come from working in a virtual environment.  

Building back better: Opportunities for creating a more accessible workplace 
11:00am ET/8:00am PT
Lime Connect partners will share lessons learned during the transition to working virtually; and the impact of key practices and accommodations that were implemented as a result.  
The unique disability perspective: Accessibility @ work
12:30pm ET/9:30am PT
Lime Connect Network members will share the unique strengths, skills, and perspectives that people with disabilities bring to the workplace and the world; and the tangible benefits to their companies.        
Accessibility and inclusion through Google technology 
2:00pm ET/11am PT
Kyndra LoCoco, Accessibility Partner & Community Programs Manager at Google, will highlight the accessibility features in Google products; and how we can create more accessible experiences for all users. 
Accessibility and inclusion through Microsoft technology 
3:30pm ET/12:30pm PT
Ricardo Wagner, Microsoft Canada Accessibility Lead, will explore the impact that accessible technology can have for people with (and without) disabilities; and specific features of all Microsoft products. 

Click here to learn more and register for the event!