Making a Difference around the World
A native of Seattle, WA, Mohammed Jagana '18C came to the East Coast to study at St. John's University because he wanted to immerse himself in New York City. Four years later, he is experiencing life on another continent as a Fulbright Scholar in the Netherlands.
"I always aspired to move to New York so I could grow both personally and professionally," said Mr. Jagana, who earned his bachelor's degree in Government and Politics in May 2018. "St. John's is unique in that it gave me direct access to the city, while providing a college campus experience."
As a student, he was a member of the President's Society, Skull and Circle Honor Society, and the President's Multicultural Advisory Committee. He also served as a Diversity Peer Educator and was selected for the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program and the Stanford M.B.A. Future Leaders Program.
"Service was such an important part of my college experience," said Mr. Jagana, who cites a trip to the Give Kids the World Village in Florida as his most memorable service experience. The organization offers children with life-threatening illnesses and their families the opportunity to experience free, weeklong vacations. "I joined 13 other St. John's volunteers, and we helped the families in any way we could."
While service work through the University was important to Mr. Jagana, experiential learning played a pivotal role in his St. John's experience as well. He interned with the Office of General Counsel at St. John's; the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law; and Paul Hastings LLP. He also served as a legislative research fellow for the 14th Senatorial District of Queens.
"My internships and time in the classroom opened my eyes to the variety of ways in which I can serve as an advocate and improve our societal systems," he said. "I want to develop innovative solutions to our society's most pressing social issues—especially as it relates to the criminal justice system."
Mr. Jagana explained that his internships, coupled with his desire to help those in need, inspired him to pursue a career in international law—something he hopes to enrich by spending a year abroad as a Fulbright Scholar before entering law school.
"I saw the Fulbright as an opportunity to immerse myself in a completely new culture," he said. "The experience will hopefully provide a unique perspective that I can take with me to law school and position me to spark dialogue on a number of pressing international social issues."
Reflecting on his time at the University, Mr. Jagana is reminded of the Vincentian values that he has adopted through his service work both on and off campus. "My experience at St. John's is a reminder that my post-college career path is so much greater than me," he said. "I must remember to give back and make a greater impact on my community and society as a whole."