Major/Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Cohort: Accelerate, Complete, and Engage (ACE), Honors Program, Pre-Law Institute (PLI)
Hometown: Queens, New York
Career aspiration: Civil Rights Attorney/Federal Judge
“My long-term goal is to one day become a judge on the federal level. Right now, I’m nurturing my interest in the law, but in two years I want to pursue law school. Maybe one day I could become the first Guyanese-American Supreme Court Justice. My experience at John Jay has made me believe that I can reach that high.”
What was life like before John Jay?
My parents immigrated here from Guyana. My mother doesn’t have a middle school education and my father doesn’t have a high school education. So, I didn’t have much guidance in terms of applying to college or navigating the college experience. Luckily, once I got into John Jay, the ACE and Honors Programs filled the gaps in terms of advice for a first-generation student.
What made you want to come to John Jay?
Growing up in Queens, a lot of people in my community talked about John Jay. The more I read about the school, the more I found out about students getting judicial internships and acceptances into top-tier law schools. That’s when I knew it was the perfect college for me. It quickly became my dream school. After I was accepted into the ACE program, I realized that I could graduate without debt and continue on to pursue a legal career.
How has ACE enhanced your college experience?
Without ACE, I probably wouldn’t be graduating. I don’t have a lot of college-graduate role models in my family because of immigration status and financial challenges, but ACE gave me a community of individuals—many with the same background as me—that encouraged, guided, and advised me. If I didn’t understand a math assignment, if I had to build a resume, if I was confused about financial aid, or if I needed tutoring, ACE gave me the tools I needed to succeed. The job that I have right now, with the New York City Law Department at Queens Family Court, I got with the help of my ACE advisor, Daniela Bulos.
How are you preparing for a legal career?
I started as a college aid at Queens Family Court. Then I was promoted to being a paralegal. Since I was a first-year student, I’ve been on the Pre-Law Institute’s job server and participated in a lot of legal internships—a Bronx District Attorney internship, an internship with Justice Ingrid Joseph, internships on two state senator campaigns, and an internship with the New York City Housing Authority. These experiences opened my eyes to different laws, rights, and injustices that I never knew about and made my resolve to become a lawyer even stronger. Seeing a justice like Ingrid Joseph—who is Guyanese and has an accent just like my parents—has shown me that I can become a judge. Now, after having these hands-on experiences, I have a passion for law and I’m confident that I have the skills for it.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’m going to be a data analyst and legal assistant at the United States Attorney's Office (USAO). There, I’ll have three attorneys assigned to me and help them research cases, write documents, follow up on calls, find experts, and anything else to help with their cases. I’m really excited to work on the federal level in a federal court. I want to become a federal judge one day and I know that this job experience will help me get there.