Courtney Thomas ’17 has had many learning moments at Clark University, but her favorite happened when she was teaching others.
Thomas, the president of Clark’s Black Student Union, and other students presented a workshop to members of the Clark community during the MLK Racial Justice Teach-In in January.
“It was such an amazing opportunity to teach students about power and privilege, and how [students] can work to deconstruct sexism, racism and classism,” she says. “I was also able to gain insight into unique perspectives and ways to further engage people in these conversations.”
Thomas has embraced this experience while completing a political science major, with a concentration in law and society, and a Spanish minor. She credits her classes with preparing her to solve issues outside the classroom. For example, assignments addressing policy issues in Worcester connected her with community members and professional agencies.
“Instead of just studying theory and concepts, I put my knowledge to practical use,” she says.
Thomas used that knowledge last summer while completing a LEEP Project and internship at Human Rights First, an advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. There she interviewed Jamaican and Dominican immigrants on politics and attitudes toward LGBTQ communities and whether they could advocate on behalf of those communities in their home countries.
This spring, Thomas witnessed the workings of the U.S. Supreme Court with Professor Mark Miller, her faculty adviser — an experience she believes complements her education.
Thomas, who is a Phi Beta Kappa member and winner of Clark’s Morris H. Cohen Prize for Excellence in American Political and Public Policy, plans to attend law school. Before that, though, she’ll spend a little more time next year learning from her Clark professors as she pursues a master’s of public administration through Clark’s Accelerated B.A./Master’s Degree Program.
“Whether it’s applying for internships or scholarships, they’re all so knowledgeable and supportive,” she says. “I feel my time at Clark has helped me gain the confidence and skills I need to succeed.”