After graduating from Hobart summa cum laude this spring, Jose Lamerique ’13 will pursue a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the country’s eight Ivy League institutions.
“I have wanted to go into law school since graduating from high school,” says Lamerique, who earned his B.A. in history with a minor in Africana studies. “I assessed my strengths and weaknesses and decided that pursuing a degree in law was something that fit me as a person and would open up a lot of doors down the road.”
His decision to attend University of Pennsylvania became solidified while working with Scott McPhail, fellowships adviser in the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development. As a Harry S. Truman Scholar, Lamerique was required to compose a three to five year post-graduation plan. The creation of this plan led him to realize that he wanted to pursue graduate school at Penn.
“HWS really helped prepare me for the next step,” he explains. “I always had a lot of support on campus, whether it was working on my writing skills, managing my time, or through the various activities I was involved in.”
While on campus, Lamerique served as vice president of Sankofa, was a member of both the club soccer and track and field programs, worked in the admissions and communications offices, and volunteered with the America Reads program. As a result of his dedication to academics and community service, he was the recipient of multiple awards, including the Alumni Association Award, Martin Luther King Senior Leadership Award, President’s Civic Leadership Award, and the Dean’s Citizenship Award.
Last summer, he joined classmate Patrice Thomas ’13 on the ground in Haiti working as part of the Hand in Hand team and “getting a chance to go back to my homeland and help the children of Haiti.”
Hand in Hand for Haiti was founded in response to the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that devastated Haiti, destroying 4,000 schools in one of the western hemisphere’s poorest countries. In the aftermath of the disaster, Edward J. Brennan P’06, P’09, chief executive officer and chair of DFS Group, and other leaders in the travel retail industry partnered with Hand in Hand for Haiti as part of a pan-industry initiative to make a bold and compassionate response through designing, building and operating a new sustainable school. Located in the Commune of Saint-Marc, which took on 32,000 refugees after the earthquake, the state-of-the-art complex offers a hurricane-proof and anti-seismic school complex to provide quality education for the children of Haiti.
Lamerique, who was interviewed by Brennan on campus, spent six weeks in Lycee Jean Baptist Pointe Du Sable, in St. Marc, an hour outside of Port-au-Prince. He was involved in planning and leading a host of activities designed to promote unity and social development, including dancing, singing, reading poems, and playing traditional Haitian as well as American games with the children ages 3 to 6 years old.
He notes his experiences on campus and off, as well as the connections he established with HWS faculty and staff helped him throughout his decision-making and application process.
“The accessibility of the professors and other staff members has helped me a lot. While I was making my decision on where to apply to law school, I actually had a chance to meet one-on-one with President Mark Gearan, which was very beneficial,” he explains.