Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Senior Spotlight: Tom Merante

It's that time of the year when I, along with my Senior friends, constantly hear this question: "What are your plans for next year?" Though my friend Tom, here, is definitely going to law school, he now is deciding just where; not a bad position to be in! He knew he wanted to pursue law, but the path to law school is not clear-cut. Read my interview with him to learn how Fordham has helped him along the way!

Name: Tom Merante
Year: FCRH ‘14
Major: Double major in International Political Economy and Philosophy, with a minor in History
Hometown: Slate Hill, NY
Taken at the Tower of London
When you were a high school senior, did you have any idea what you wanted to accomplish professionally or what you wanted to study?

I wanted to practice law eventually, but only had a vague sense of how to get there.  For pre-law students, there really is no single ‘right major,’ and it is more fruitful to study a subject that really makes you think about the world.  I applied to Fordham as an Economics major, but changed to IPE so that I could get a taste of international relations and anthropology as well.      

What helped you to decide or further affirm this idea once at Fordham? (the core curriculum, advising, your own accord)

Through the Honors Program curriculum, I also took a number of courses in Art History and Philosophy, and they have been some of the most formative classes I have taken as an undergraduate.  In fact, it was through those classes that I began to realize my passion for intellectual property law and understanding the challenges of original creation and ownership.  Now, Philosophy is my second major.    

What resources were available to you in helping you to pursue this passion?

The undergraduate research opportunities were a tremendous asset in building my interest in intellectual property law.  Last semester I completed my Senior Thesis on international IP and food.  This semester the abbreviated version of my Thesis was accepted for publication in the Fordham Undergraduate Research Journal, and I plan on presenting at the Undergraduate Research Symposium for the second straight year. 

Also, I would be remiss not to mention the important role that my professors and Dean Erin Burke, the Director of Pre-Law Advising and Undergraduate Research, have played in discussing my research and law school plans.  Dean Burke is extraordinarily helpful, and always willing to talk with students.   

What else about your experience has helped you decide on this path?

Studying in London through Fordham’s Liberal Arts Program was an unbelievable opportunity during which I took two courses at City University London.  There, I gained an international perspective on IPE and the law in general through sightseeing and excursions around Europe.  I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. 

Did you participate in clubs at Fordham?

It is just about impossible to attend Fordham and not be involved in at least several clubs or activities.  I copy-edit at The Ram, lead a Christian Life Community, play intramural softball and soccer, volunteer with Liberty Partnerships Programs, and captain a Relay for Life team every spring.  All of these have been very fulfilling and rewarding challenges.

What are your plans after graduation this May? What decisions do you still have to make?

This summer I will be working at a Manhattan firm where I have worked the past two summers.  In the fall, I will begin law school—though exactly where is still a big question.  I have received six acceptances out of six tries so far, but am awaiting two more schools’ final responses before making a final decision.  I am going to miss Rose Hill very much, but I’m very excited for law school!

More Senior Spotlights to come!

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