*One of a collection of stories written by alumni for the Jepson School's 20th Anniversary

The way that I have navigated my post-graduate experiences parallel the way that I navigated my time at Jepson, and at UR overall. Jepson exposed me to new experiences, enhanced my belief in contributing to the broader community, charged me with thinking more deeply and critically about issues that face organizations and society at large and pushed me to work effectively with others to address those issues. Entering college, I was certain that I wanted to attend law school. While Jepson provided me with an opportunity to pursue that field in more depth, I was also exposed to the inequalities that exist in low-income communities and spent time in Richmond classrooms. So, when posed with an opportunity to join Teach For America as a high school teacher in Baltimore, I found myself drawn to a job that I had never considered up until that point.

Since graduation, I have held a variety of different roles, from high school government teacher to recruiter for Teach For America to now being a corporate recruiter, focusing on public relations and communications. The common thread through each of these roles is the necessity of problem solving through effectively building personal relationships. While my strengths in these areas have certainly been fine-tuned as a result of my professional experience, it is undoubtedly the foundation that was laid during my time at Jepson that provided me with the platform to be successful.

Aside from the skills that I gleaned from my time at Jepson, I think that what is perhaps most important is the mindset that was instilled in me. As a Teach For America corps member, I fought daily to provide my students with the best possible education that I could deliver, and was fueled by my passion about doing my part to solve a systemic inequality in our country. As a recruiter for TFA, I was in a position to broaden my impact by delivering talent to school districts in desperate need of quality educators. Currently, I work with Fortune 100 companies, nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions to identify and select leaders and serve as an organizational consultant.

It is unclear where my career path will take me. However, I know that, due in large part to my Jepson education, I have the skills and conviction to be successful wherever I land.

--TR Straub