1. James, first off, congratulations on your upcoming graduation this May! I’m sure you’re excited. What are your post-grad plans?
Thank you! Currently, I am working with the Travis Manion Foundation which empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. I am currently building a mentorship program for the students at Edison High School. The program is value-based character and leadership education that includes experiential learning, guided discussions and a student-driven service project. Also, I received and offer from Freedom Mortgage to start June 25, 2018.
2. That sounds like some amazing work and much needed support for the community. Have you taken advantage of any internships while studying here?
Yes. I have taken advantage of the networking and internship opportunities Rutgers – Camden offers and landed a few internships. I have interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) my first summer here, I have worked with Heffler Claims Group, and U.S. Department of Labor in Philadelphia.
3. Wow, three! So glad you were able to network while still excelling in the classroom. Were you able to find time to be active on-campus as well?
Yes, it has certainly been an active three years at Rutgers. I am involved with TRiO Student Support Services as a mentor for first generation students like myself. Also, I am the Vice President of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), which I have been a part of since starting at Rutgers School of Business – Camden. Lastly, I am involved with the Student Veteran Organization as the treasurer.
4. What has surprised you most about Rutgers – Camden from the time you arrived?
The thing that has surprised me the most being here at Rutgers – Camden are the people and opportunities I’ve been exposed to. It has been an amazing journey transitioning from active duty service in July, 2015 to now being a senior here at Rutgers – Camden. I feel really blessed to be where I am today and walking across the stage in May receiving my degree.
5. You started your career right out of high school with the Air Force. What lessons have you taken from your early experience in relation to your current career path?
After graduating high school in May, 2007 and immediately leaving for the Air Force in July, I have experienced so much of the world, people, cultures, and life. Through those experiences, I have learned how to communicate with diverse groups of people, learned and experienced many types of leadership styles, and became very adaptable to change. I think those experiences will fare well with integrating into my new career path in Finance and Human Resources.
6. After years of military experience, you chose Rutgers School of Business – Camden to continue your education. Why RSBC?
Funny story about how I landed at Rutgers-Camden. As I was considering transitioning out of the military, I knew I wanted to attend a business school and a university that was Veteran friendly. While being stationed in Portugal and filling out the application, I wasn’t aware that there were three campuses. I got accepted to Rutgers – Camden and moved to Camden, NJ. Later, I found that it was not the main campus, but definitely the BEST campus for me.
7. Well we’re glad that you became a member of the Raptor family back in 2015. Is there a favorite class of yours that has helped you grow in your line of work?
I will say that my business core classes have been great! This semester, I will dive into my major (Finance) courses. I am looking forward to all five of them!
8. What’s one piece of advice that you would give to someone searching for the right academic home – whether that be right out of high school or transitioning after serving for our country.
My one piece of advice for anyone that is searching for THEIR right academic home and fit is: Sometimes you never know where you are going to land but it is up to YOU to make the best out of every opportunity. I thought I wanted to be at a big school with a lot of people, but I learned that opportunities are available anywhere and it’s up to YOU to get out there and make them happen.
Thank you for your service, James. We wish you the best of luck after graduation with Freedom Mortgage.