Name: Neema Hakim
Class Year: 2014
Organization Name: Chicago Journal of International Law
1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
I manage the Chicago Journal of International Law, a student-edited publication at the University of Chicago Law School which features international law scholarship.
2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
I was introduced to my first employer through the Washington Semester Program in 2013. During the spring semester of my junior year, I had the honor of interning at the Obama White House in the Office of Communications. I had no prior connections to Washington, DC or to the Administration. I just took a chance and applied online, driven by an earnest passion for public service. A year after my internship, I was offered a full-time job in the same office.
3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
On campus, I participated in the Student Government Association as an intern, co-director of communications, and co-president. As co-president, I worked with peers at other local colleges and universities to found the Worcester Student Government Association.
4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
At Holy Cross, I double majored in political science and philosophy. Political science familiarized me with our government institutions, while philosophy taught me to think creatively. That foundation allowed me to keep up in the crucible of the White House and to later serve as Assistant Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. My undergraduate studies also prepared me for law school, where I often call upon my understanding of policy and theory to think through legal problems.
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
At bottom, a liberal arts education at Holy Cross taught me to think critically. As Editor-in-Chief of the Chicago Journal of International Law, I need to understand how to identify strengths and weaknesses in legal argument and to recognize top international law scholarship. I also have to manage 43 editors and staff members. The tendency to take nothing for granted, cultivated at Holy Cross, permits me to fairly critique the work of others and offer productive feedback, both to scholars and to my colleagues.
6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?
Whatever you choose as your major and whatever career you pursue, remain open to being wrong. The right answer is rarely simple and often nuanced. Embrace that complexity. Challenge your peers, professors, and superiors, but do so respectfully and for the truth, not ego.