Q&A with the Class of 2023: Tara Ryan, Foss High School
Tara Ryan

Tara Ryan (they/he) wants to make positive change in the world. As the Math Team President, Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Vice President, ASB Club Commissioner, International Baccalaureate Diploma Program candidate, it’s safe to say that the soon-to-be Foss graduate has many interests and passions. Tara has plans to meld their interests and experience to achieve their overarching goal – using math to inform public policy decisions to make things better for all young people.   

Here's what Tara had to say. 

What is an accomplishment you’re proud of?  

I'm most proud of the work that I've done with the GSA at Foss and especially the Pride assembly, which I founded three years ago. While a Pride assembly might not seem like the biggest deal, it can affirm to students that there are adults at Foss who are successful and are openly queer individuals or allies. If school can serve as a safe place to be your full, authentic self, then it can truly save lives. 

What are your future plans?  

This fall, I'll be at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. I'll be studying applied mathematics, race, colonialism and diaspora studies and education. It seems like a hodgepodge of things, but I feel like it fits together nicely. Especially when you look at education policy and how big decisions are made based on statistical backing.  

I plan to continue doing what I already do in many ways. I have helped amend and write policy for local government in the City of Tacoma as well as the state Legislature, focusing on education policy and how to engage with young people of all walks of life in a way that is accessible and meaningful. I'm just really hoping to learn more about how to do what I'm already doing better and get to know people who've been doing it longer. 

What’s a challenge you’ve overcome? 

I think the biggest challenge I’ve overcome is surviving and thriving as a young trans person. I'm incredibly proud to be graduating and going to college. It's not something that happens for a lot of us, and it's really huge. 

How would you describe yourself in three words?   

Loving. Analytical. Kind. 


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