The LGBTQ Advocate Award recognizes a faculty member, staff member, or student who demonstrates a commitment to advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues on campus.
Tatiana Leavitt Messersmith
For LGBTQ+ students, Tatiana Leavitt Messersmith is an advocate—especially when it comes to launching their careers. The career development coordinator for disability, diversity, and veteran initiatives, Messersmith began helping enhance diversity on campus from day one. A member of the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People, she has developed events dedicated to UT’s LGBTQ+ population. For example, she helped plan an LGBTQ+ career networking mixer, offering students and community members a safe and open place to interact with local and national companies actively looking to hire and support the LGBTQ+ community. Messersmith has also taken charge of the LGBT Student Mentorship program, which pairs LGBTQ+ students with LGBTQ+ faculty and staff. Within the Center for Career Development, she is a key contact for any LGBTQ+ student looking for career assistance. Messersmith coaches students on how to express themselves openly and safely throughout the entire job search process. She helps them find inclusive employers and identity-specific internships and works with them to build self-advocacy skills. And, her colleagues say, she does all of this without any desire or need for recognition.