Student Success Story: Timothy Bussey

Name: Timothy Bussey

Undergraduate Institution:

B.A. – Political Science (Columbus State University, Columbus, GA)

Visiting Student Certificate – Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, Oxford, England)

Graduation Institution:

M.A. – Political Science with a concentration in American Studies (UConn)

Graduate Certificate – Feminist Studies (UConn)

Graduate Certificate – College Instruction (UConn)

Ph.D. Candidate – Political Science (UConn)

How did you choose your particular internship?

Timothy had already been volunteering with the Rainbow Center, since arriving to UConn in 2012. The previous Director of the UConn Rainbow Center, Fleurette King, was very supportive and approached Timothy about serving as a graduate intern to better support his career goals. He knew that he wanted to go into an administrative role to support LGBTQ+ students. The internship provided Timothy with the ability to support LGBTQ+ students, while also gaining more program management and development experience.

What new skills or knowledge have you gained from participating in your internship?

Timothy already had some program development, management, and leadership experience, and the internship provided him more tools to showcase his programming skills and to hone them in a LGBTQ+ specific setting. He learned logistical skills about how to successfully run a major university program for a set demographic of students and how to ensure the needs of a diverse student population were being met. The internship also provided him with a number of experiences collaborating across campus departments to support the needs of graduate students at the Rainbow Center. At the end of the internship, Timothy was asked to serve as the lecturer for the UConn Rainbow Center, where he now organizes and manages the center’s Out to Lunch (OTL) Lecture Series and its corresponding course, UNIV 2500: Gender, Sexuality, and Community.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career-related decisions during your time in graduate school or on your decision to pursue an internship?

Timothy’s decision to pursue an internship at the Rainbow Center mainly came from Fleurette King, who provided him with the opportunity to obtain experience through a graduate internship with the center. Timothy also has a mentor, Dr. Sherry Zane, in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program here at UConn. For years, Dr. Zane has consistently supported Timothy in terms of thinking about what to do for a career and how to gain practical skills. Timothy’s advisor and dissertation chair, Dr. Christine Sylvester, has also supported both his doctoral work and unique career trajectory as well.

Describe your role in your internship. What did your daily tasks consist of?

The internship did not consist of a “typical” schedule. It was different in the sense that it was “off hours.” Timothy’s tasks consisted of re-structuring the Rainbow Grads and Young Professionals Group, which is the Rainbow Center’s official graduate student group. Timothy made sure that they had programs that would meet the needs of the very diverse group of students and the greater campus community. Timothy was tasked with organizing events, growing the group and its social media accounts, and co-managing the program to make sure they were offering programs that hadn’t yet been provided to queer and transgender graduate students at UConn.

What advice would you give to current UConn graduate students who are looking to go on the same path?

For graduate students who are looking to go into a student affairs role, Timothy advises students to seek out experiences that will allow them to hone their skills and ensure they will be a competitive candidate on the job market. He also advises students to seek out a diverse mentorship network of people who can provide different types of both academic and experiential support. Lastly, Timothy advises students to visit the Center for Career Development early and often. Graduate students may not always be aware of the fantastic resources that the Center for Career Development has for the graduate and post-doctoral community, but he wants them to realize that the Center for Career Development does provide a number of resources specific to the graduate community here at UConn, which can help keep them stay competitive on the job market.

What do you know now about graduate school that you wished you knew before entering?

Timothy encourages students to not restrict themselves to one specific path but to instead keep their options open and flexible. Graduate internships are not necessarily talked about or encouraged in all graduate programs, but Timothy wants to students to remember that they can be key to ensuring that they become uniquely competitive candidates on the job market. Graduate students should also be aware that they need to focus on building a support network of different mentors, who can support their individualized needs and career objectives.

By Reid McLendon
Reid McLendon Web Development Specialist Reid McLendon