Dillon Ramos ’19 recently communicated with Excel student Mackenzie Hansen and talked about his TAM experience and current work.
Dillon Ramos is a Global Security Watch Officer for Boeing. Ramos completed his TAM program at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the University of Bath, graduating in May of 2019. He was also awarded the FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese in Lisbon.
Can you describe how the TAM program offered you an avenue to explore your occupational interests during your time within the program?
TAM provided the specialized geopolitical knowledge I wanted to learn from exemplary professors, with an added emphasis on language and career development, including Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships and guidance on internships with places like the Department of State. I entered an impressive and diverse cohort with knowledge from countries I had not studied as much, allowing me to learn from their experience as well.
Additionally, I did not know when I entered TAM exactly where I would wind up after graduation. I knew I wanted to work in a career that included policy, language, and intelligence, but did not know what that career could look like. TAM’s alumni panels were where I first realized the scope of occupational possibilities after TAM. I went to several, and hearing the alumni speak about their various careers in business, government, and NGOs helped me understand just how many options there are for TAM grads. The alumni are all easy to approach and whenever we had the opportunity, I asked them questions about their career paths. The alumni network was there for me from before I enrolled until after I graduated TAM. They helped me understand the career opportunities that awaited, delve into deeper questions about certain fields, and provided guidance when I began work after graduation.
What experience or skill did you develop in the TAM program that is most applicable to your current job?
TAM gave me strong geopolitical awareness and on-the-ground knowledge of various regions of the world, which is crucial to understanding the global security landscape. This knowledge and travel experience is one of the most valuable things to my employer. I work in a Global Security Operations Center (GSOC), so without this context, my decision-making and judgement would not be as fast or well-informed when examining incidents for impact to the company I work for. TAM goes beyond focusing only on two regions of the world. I regularly studied EU neighborhood policy and relations with other global key players, offering direct perspective I use on the job.
What are you reading these days? What’s the last movie you’ve watched?
I love this question! I recently listened to The Wind in the Willows audiobook. I also read You Don’t Belong Here by Michael Peter, The Song of the Jade Lilly by Kirsty Manning, and a few fantasy novels! Streaming services have been my friend this past year, and I recently watched Fate: The Winx Saga and Nuestros Amantes on Netflix, as well as Breaking Fast (2020) on Amazon.
What is the professional achievement or product that you’re most proud of?
Over the past 1.5 years, I have identified critical process gaps and led initiatives that strengthened the company’s response to threats, both domestic and abroad.
Based on your observations throughout the course of your career, how do you see the industry evolving for the next 5-10 years? Both as a result of COVID-19 and just organic change?
Over the past year, companies have witnessed the importance of a strong intelligence team. Intel and watch officer positions are being utilized more and more and the increased need for them will contribute to opportunity growth in GSOCs, other security operations centers, and risk-analysis firms around the globe. Companies have had to lean more heavily on their security teams given the increase in global political/societal unrest, natural disasters, and the pandemic. There is already an increased emphasis on understanding how domestic and international events affect corporate operations, and the past year will amplify this momentum.
What advice would you give to students studying TAM now?
Be open and flexible to opportunity as it presents itself and use this time to really experience the things you are participating in. This goes for academics, extracurriculars, and the travel/social element of the degree. All of these things will continue to shape your perspective. For example, I have always wanted to learn my grandmother’s native language, so I applied for a summer FLAS and studied Portuguese in Lisbon. Turns out, the language some worried would not be useful professionally was a big reason I got hired for my first job after TAM. Trust your instincts and have fun!