2016, Honors College
Using the skills cultivated by the Honors College, our graduates are transforming the Capital region. Ryan Thornton (Government & International Politics ’16) played an essential part in Quorum’s growth from a startup with 10 employees to a leading software development and data analytics organization with nearly 70.
“Working at Quorum is impactful on personal and larger scales,” explains Ryan, who was one of Quorum’s original hires just under four years ago. “We’re out to change politics. We’re leveling the playing field for organizations to drive advocacy.”
While attending Mason, Ryan was able to make great use of the opportunities the region presented. Internships with the Office of US Senator Bob Casey Jr. and the AFL-CIO helped prepare him for a full-time job with Quorum Analytics by his senior year at Mason.
As Quorum’s Marketing and Communication Manager, Ryan cultivates relationships and engages with stakeholders ranging from startups to larger entities like the Sierra Club and the United Nations Foundation. He promotes equity by helping smaller organizations track legislation and analyze social media data.
In his daily work, Ryan has the opportunity to offer his communications expertise to public affairs organizations, helping clients address issues that matter most to them.
Ryan credits Dean Burr and Dr. Hoefer, among others, for supporting his personal and professional development during his time as an Honors College student: “I can’t tell you how many times I was able to go to them for advice.”
“Leadership roles helped me sharpen my skills,” explains Ryan, who co-founded a chapter of the Roosevelt Institute at Mason with fellow Honors College alumna Beverly Harp and others. The Roosevelt Institute is a nonpartisan policy organization that writes and advocates for progressive policy change. Ryan subsequently served as the New Chapters Coordinator for the national Roosevelt Institute organization. Despite his internships and leadership, Ryan still found time for fun: he was also a club ultimate frisbee star during his time at Mason.
Ryan’s advice to current and future Honors College students is to make use of the many extracurricular and personal development opportunities. Ryan emphasizes the value of the many resources available to Honors College students, explaining: “My extracurricular involvement made it so much easier to tailor my interests to my career.”
Reporting by Jimmy O'Hara. Photography by Ron Aira.