Year of Graduation:
Degree(s) (Majors in addition to geography, Minors/Concentrations, BA/MA/PhD):
B.A. summa cum laude, International Studies and Geography (double major), with minor in Political Science, California State University, Hayward, 2005
M.A. Geography, UW, 2007
Ph.D. Geography, UW, 2011
Favorite (or most memorable) faculty member:
Suzanne Withers, Mark Ellis, Sarah Elwood (my dissertation committee)
What is your current job? What are typical projects or tasks in that job? In what ways did your geography degree help prepare you for this job?
I am a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) appointed to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Division (FHEO). The PMF program provides two years of intensive leadership training, developmental rotations in other departments and agencies, and challenging cross-departmental projects. The goal of the PMF program is to provide fellows with ideal opportunities for promotions and placement in a permanent, career-track position by the end of the program.
I use spatial demographic analysis and GIS to support the investigation of fair housing complaints, the enforcement of fair housing laws and compliance reviews of HUD-funded programs. My geography degree provided me with the experience and skills to work with multiple sources and types of geodemographic data and apply them to study racial and socioeconomic inequalities in housing and education.
Do you have any advice to graduating seniors on what to (not) do when applying for their first job?
Read the job description carefully and make a list of the top three skills that the position requires. For each of those skills, make another sub-list of how you have either developed that skill before (i.e. in jobs, volunteer experience, etc.) and/or how your current/recent educational projects have helped you to develop that skill (think about papers, posters, group projects, presentations you’ve done). Then highlight those set of skills and explain to the employer how you will specifically apply those skills to help your potential team and supervisor attain their goals. In order to do that, research everything you can about the company (and subdivision of that company that the job is in) and figure out how the hiring team or supervisor fits into the company’s mission and goals, then articulate how you — with your unique set of skills – will strengthen and support that team. Be assertive, sincere, open-minded and eager to learn so that the interview is not only a chance for you to make a pitch for the job, but should also be an opportunity for you to learn more about the company and the broader field/industry.
Can geography students contact you for advice? If so, what is your preferred medium of contact?
Yes, the best way to reach me is by email Tricia.F.Ruiz@hud.gov
You can read more information about the PMF Program here http://www.pmf.gov/
And here is the link to HUD’s FHEO division http://portal.hud.gov/