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Cap and Gown: Eagleton graduates look to future

Two graduating seniors have spent their last year at Rutgers working at the Eagleton Institute’s Center for Youth Political Participation (CYPP), a program that promotes youth engagement in politics. They will both miss Rutgers, but are looking forward to their plans to go to law school. 

Emily O’Leary, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said in an email to The Daily Targum that she participated in the CYPP RU Ready program this semester, which promotes civic engagement to motivate students to become successful democratic citizens. 

“During the semester we have gone to the New Brunswick High School for three in-class sessions to teach the students about the basics of civics. We also hosted a Young Leaders Conference on March 29 where the students got to come to the Eagleton Institute of Politics and participate in civic workshops,” she said. 

They also hosted a “Civic Fair" in the library of the New Brunswick High School, where RU Ready students manned stations with activities for the high school students, she said. 

She also said that she is sad to leave Rutgers and all the people she has met here, but is looking forward to attending Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law in the fall, which will help her toward her goal of being a clerk for a judge. 

“Rutgers has given me an experience that I am so grateful to have had which is the mock trial team.  I’ve been competing on the Rutgers mock trial team since freshman year and the more and more I participated the more I knew that I wanted to do this in the future and that law school was the next step after Rutgers,” O’Leary said. 

Brandon Giovanni, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said that he worked for CYPP’s RU Voting campaign, which aimed to get Rutgers students politically active and register them to vote. 

“Over this last year, I have learned so much about political behavior, civic engagement education and the dynamics of political participation. However, I think it's the interpersonal skills I have gained at CYPP that will help me most in the future,” he said. 

Graduating is definitely bittersweet, Giovanni said. He is sad to leave the people he has grown close to at his jobs at CYPP and Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships. 

He will be studying for the LSAT and will continue to serve on his hometown school board, he said. He would like to ultimately work in constitutional law for organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

“Whatever the future holds for me, I know I will look back at my time at Rutgers with a great amount of gratitude for all of the wonderful people and opportunities that helped shape me,” he said. 

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