Carnegie Mellon University

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June 12, 2024

Tepper School Celebrates Stories of Pride!

By Abby Johnston and Leah Schoolcraft

Sheila Davis
  • Associate Director of Media Relations
  • 412-268-8652

The Tepper School of Business is proud to continue its celebrations of Pride Month, a time dedicated to honoring the significant contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community. This month-long celebration recognizes the professional and academic achievements of LGBTQIA+ individuals within our community.

To celebrate, we are sharing the stories of students in the LGBTQIA+ community.


Maressa Guynn (She/Her), MBA Class of 2025

Maressa Guynn

Pronouns: She/Her
Degree: MBA
Graduation Year: 2025
Current Occupation/Title and Company: Summer Intern, McKinsey & Company

What's your Elevator Pitch?

I am from Uniontown, PA, and currently serve on the boards of the Veterans Club and the Out&Allied Club. Before attending the Tepper School, I served in the U.S. Navy. I hold a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master's in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University.

What has been your favorite project, assignment, or course at the Tepper School? Why is it your favorite?

My favorite project at the Tepper School was Professor Aven's Managing Networks and Organizations class. We engaged in amazing simulations, conducted a survey to understand our class connections, and connected with alumni at our internship companies.

What advice would you give to your former self before starting as a Tepper School student?

My advice to my former self would be: Relax! I didn't fully appreciate how intense the Tepper School would be. Stay engaged during the school year but make sure to relax before it starts. Trust that the Tepper way will guide you in due time.

Importance of Affinity Recognitions

Affinity recognitions like Women's History Month, Pride Month, and Black History Month are vital for honoring diverse contributions, raising awareness of ongoing struggles, and fostering inclusion. They empower underrepresented communities, celebrate achievements, and promote understanding, helping to create a more equitable society within the Tepper School community.

Favorite Entertainment

My favorite podcast is The New York Times' "The Daily." It's a staple of my morning commute, giving me a great dose of current news to start my day.

Ken Wang (He/Him), MBA Class of 2025


Ken Wang

Pronouns: He/his/him
Degree: MBA
Graduation Year: 2025
Current Occupation/Title and Company: Precision Medicine Marketing Intern, AstraZeneca

What's Your Elevator Pitch

Originally from Shanghai, I’m a first-year MBA student at the Tepper School. I worked for five years in a pharmaceutical company in China as an Investment and Acquisition Supervisor. This summer, I’m interning at AstraZeneca in a marketing role in D.C. I’m the incoming President of the Out&Allied Club and VP of Alumni Relations and Marketing of the Healthcare Club. You are welcome to connect if you’re interested in healthcare, need support, or happen to be in D.C.!

Favorite Course

My favorite course is global economics. It is very insightful, including practical analysis and real-world problems. The professor is very passionate about the course and experienced in the topic.

What is your most memorable moment from being a Tepper School student, so far?

My most memoriable moment at the Tepper School was attending the Atlanta Club Leadership Summit hosted by ROMBA.

What is one thing that you want the world to know, acknowledge, or understand about your personal experiences?

The value of embracing differences.
I’ve seen how diverse approaches, people, and cultures can drive innovation and success. It is our differences that paint the world in vibrant hues, making it a tapestry of endless wonder and beauty.

Dream Job

Doing meaningful things to improve people’s lives.

Christopher Rafalski (He/Him), MBA Class of 2025

Christopher Rafalski

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Degree: MBA
Graduation Year: 2025
Current Occupation/Title and Company: Executive Director of Three Rivers Business Alliance

What's Your Elevator Pitch?

I'm from Greensburg, Pa. and hold a BA in Religion and Psychology from Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary. Currently, I serve as the Executive Director of the Three Rivers Business Alliance, Pittsburgh's LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, and run Rafalski Enterprises. I am also the co-founder and board chair of Metamorphosis Begins, the only LGBTQ+ Sober Living Community in Pennsylvania. At the Tepper School, I aim to enhance my skills and knowledge to further contribute to and positively impact the community.


I define “The Intelligent Future” as an era where the convergence of advanced technology and emotional intelligence transforms every aspect of business and society, enhancing decision-making and interpersonal dynamics.


The Tepper School community is supportive, inclusive, and collaborative. I chose these words because, despite my non-science or engineering background, the level of support from my peers has been incredible, truly defining our collective spirit of helping each other succeed.


My favorite courses at the Tepper School have been Communicating DE&I in the Workplace and Marketing Research, taught by Dr. Depretis and Dr. Galak respectively. Both professors excel at simplifying complex concepts and have made exceptional efforts to connect personally with their students.

Idol or Mentor

My idol and mentor has always been my mom, who was incredibly intelligent and self-sacrificing. Her unconditional love and unwavering support for who I am have been my guiding forces, teaching me the importance of acceptance, encouragement, and hardwork.