“I was in high school in South Florida when I first became involved in political advocacy, specifically after Proposition 8 was passed in California. I came out when I was 15, right as the debate around marriage equality was gaining national attention, and I became inspired to host an anti-discrimination event at my high school themed around the No H8 Campaign.
Amazingly, what started as a simple attempt to address issues of prejudice at my school had ripple effects far beyond my original intentions, contributing to a larger advocacy effort to make the county school board’s nondiscrimination and diversity policies more inclusive of LGBTQ+ students."Ryan Sasse MPA ’23
With time, NOH8 became a common thread that wove its way through my proudest milestones, from working with PROMO Missouri while at Washington University in St. Louis to extend nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ+ communities throughout St. Louis, to interning in the Obama White House and assisting with its response to the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 SCOTUS rulings, to being here at SPIA, where I’ve concentrated my studies in international human rights and humanitarian policy. While at SPIA, I’ve also served as the LGBTQ+ Representative for the Policy Student Government, working to elevate the voices of queer SPIA students to the administration and push for advocacy efforts to make the campus and curriculum more inclusive of LGBTQ+ students’ needs. Before coming to SPIA, I worked at UNICEF USA, where I led the organization's advocacy portfolio on child protection and inclusion issues, training child rights advocates to speak with their representatives to support policies that break down systemic inequities for girls and LGBTQ+ youth. I'm quite grateful I had several years of work experience between undergrad and grad school. One of the biggest gifts of my time at SPIA has been the chance to pause and reflect on what I want for my next steps. Having such formative work experiences pre-grad school better prepared me for navigating those decisions.”