Dr. Tricia Ruiz, who graduated from the Geography Department with a PhD in 2011, is back at UW in a postdoc position! Tricia joins us this summer for a rotation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). Tricia is a Presidential Management Fellow at HUD, and uses spatial demographic analysis to support fair housing compliance reviews and investigations. She completed her M.A. in Geography (2007) and Ph.D. in Geography (2011) at UW, and was a NICHD-funded trainee in CSDE from 2007-2009. A main component of the Presidential Management Fellowship Program requires that each Fellow complete a developmental assignment by rotating to a different division within the agency or to an organization outside of HUD, to foster and expand the Fellow’s training and career objectives in federal government. During this rotation, Tricia will collaborate with CSDE Research Faculty, Dr. Suzanne Davies Withers, on a research project focusing on the geographical aspect of fair housing, sustainable cities and housing equity. Their work will build on existing fair housing and community development research, including topics of segregation, sustainable development, urban planning, land use and zoning, housing cost variability, measures of place-based socioeconomic opportunities such as local or regional job-housing ratios, access to transportation, high-quality schools and neighborhoods – all issues related to identifying areas of unmet housing need and to creating stable, integrated and sustainable communities.
We recently shared an alumni profile of Britt Yamamoto, a 2007 alum of the University of Washington and current director of iLEAP. You can see that profile here. However, it seems that we are not the only ones interested in what Britt has been up to since graduating. Tom Paulson of Humanosphere, a Seattle-based news service focusing on global health and poverty, recently spent some time at iLEAP and published a fantastic article on the organization’s work. Among other things, he describes iLEAP as performing “quiet, boring work in support of revolution.” Check out the whole article here, or iLeap’s website here!
The 2012 iLEAP Fellows celebrate their graduation.
Here is our latest alumni profile, from Dr. Tricia Ruiz:
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/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp
Here is our profile of UW Geography alum Greg Hitchcock:
When did you graduate from the department, and with what degree?
I graduated with a BA in Geography and a minor in Computer Science in 1986.
Who was your favorite (or most memorable) faculty member?
What is your current job?
I’m a development lead at Microsoft working on Reading and Typeface design. My job involves leading a team that researches how we read and developing software and typefaces to make it easier to read on computer screens. Geography helped me in at least two ways. First, I felt I got exposed to some great breadth. Geography gave me foundations in statistics, economics, history, geology, computer graphics, computer databases (GIS), and cartography. Second, my emphasis was in computer cartography. This field has a very rich tradition that goes back hundreds of years as a craft involving art and the latest technology. The field I got into at Microsoft, especially with typeface design, shares much of the same traditions. (Ironically I was asked to help start a geography group at Microsoft in the mid-1990’s, but I turned it down because I was so deeply involved in typography.)
Do you have any advice for graduating seniors on what to do when applying for their first job?
Be confident in yourself and your education.
Can geography students contact you for advice?
Yes, contact me at gregh (at) microsoft (dot) com .