Interviewed By: Dorothy Anika
DA: What have you done since leaving Trinity?
JF: After leaving Trinity, I received a Fulbright grant to teach English in Malaysia. Over the course of ten months, I taught classroom lessons to students ages 13-18 with almost 100 other English teachers. Living in South East Asia was an incredible experience, and one that helped me to enhance my perspective about global affairs.
When I returned the United States, I also started applying for graduate school. At the time, I was interested in global master’s programs and law school. Following in intensive application process, I was waitlisted for a full scholarship to study in Beijing as a Yenching Scholar. I was also accepted to the Master’s in Education program at Cambridge University in London. For one summer, I participated in the Tuck Business Bridge Program for exposure to material that I did not study in college.
During this period, I was selected as an Alumni Ambassador by the International Institute of Education. In this role, I speak with students about the value of going abroad. There was an unexpected Trinity connection in this opportunity. In Washington, over a two-day period, I advocated for State Department funding in meetings with Mr. Thomas S. Johnson, former Trinity trustee board chair.
This past summer, I was an intern at Sullivan & Cromwell, a law firm in New York City. I helped the firm to test a database management system that will be used by the entire firm in late 2019. I hope to return to Sullivan & Cromwell as a summer associate, and eventually a full-time associate, in the coming years.
Lastly, I proceeded with plans for law school. I attribute my success to family, Posse, and Trinity leaders who always listened. I often spoke with Posse program representatives and Trinity leaders about how to best to advance my career. President Berger-Sweeney, Vice President Angel Perez, former Trinity Chairman Paul E. Raether ’68, H’14, P’93, ’96, ’01 and former President James F. Jones, Jr. kindly gave me their ear for questions.
This year, I have started at Berkeley Law School as a Dean’s Fellow. I moved to California and will complete my degree in 2022.
DA: Is there anything you learned at Trinity that you’ve used/helped you in your career?
JF: Trinity’s partnership with the Posse New York program changed my life trajectory. The Posse Foundation gave me an incredible support system that made me feel comfortable to challenge myself in college. Professor Irene Papoulis also provided guidance to me as my on-campus Posse mentor. Because of Posse, I was able to successfully secure several roles that helped me to gain legal experience, namely internships at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Bloomberg Government. Posse paired me with Sullivan and Cromwell partner Bill Plapinger to discuss a career path to law.
I also benefitted from courses with the Trinity College Department of Political Science. I was a teaching assistant for several of Professor Stefanie Chambers. Classes, which focused on local government and Hartford. This allowed me to develop classroom opportunities that I could discuss in my law school applications. I also completed the Legislative Internship Program with Professor Diana Evans. Writing a thesis with Professor Anthony Messina developed my writing skills and ability to communicate coherent arguments. From Professor Law’s “Empirical Methods Course,” I developed comfort in analyzing data. Classes that I took with Professor Flibbert, Kamola, and Lefebvre all enabled me to more closely understand global affairs and international institutions.
Finally, my experiences outside of the classroom allowed me to learn how to work with others and resolve complex challenges. Former Dean Frederick Alford appointed me to Trinity College’s Presidential Search Committee. As President of Student Government, I worked with then Dean of Students Christopher Card and Joe DiChristina about how to strengthen student life. I relied at this time on the powerful multicultural network from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Posse. I often met with President Berger-Sweeney to discuss ways that we could strengthen the relationship between the administration and students.
DA: What is your proudest accomplishment since graduating Trinity?
JF: Winning a Fulbright grant and receiving admissions to Berkeley Law School are my two proudest accomplishments. It took a tremendous amount of time and planning to devise a strategy for both engagements.
In Malaysia, I was fortunate to publish a book with my students entitled, “Voices of Malaysia.” The book was a project that allowed them to practice and preserve the English activities that we completed together.
At Berkeley Law, I am excited to jump back into the classroom and to work on clinics in my first year. The clinics provide me with an opportunity to work on initiatives like those that I was apart of at Trinity College.
DA: What is something you would like other alumni to know about you?
I would like other alumni to know that I have not forgotten about Trinity. I have spoken with President Berger-Sweeney and Vice President Angel Perez about ways that I might be helpful to current students while I am completing a J.D. I am also always available to discuss Fulbright with anyone interested in going abroad. As an Alumni Ambassador, I often speak to students at other schools who are thinking about international opportunities.