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For their last enrichment seminar of the summer, the students in the BBA Summer Jobs Program got to tour the three branches of government by going behind the scenes at the Massachusetts State House and the John Adams Courthouse, which houses the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
The students had a few favorite oddities about which they asked many questions – including the “sacred cod” in the House of Representatives’ chambers, a large fish that hangs from the ceiling. But they also asked many insightful questions about the process of passing a bill through the Legislature and signing it into law. At the courthouse, students got to try out the chairs used by the Supreme Judicial Court Justices.
The students demonstrated the knowledge they have gained about the legal system in their summer positions. When asked about the function of the appeals court, one student replied that its function is to “go back over cases and look for a mistake.”
At the State House, students enjoyed the Great Hall, where flags from cities and towns in Massachusetts hang. At the courthouse, they showed a lot of interest in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, which resulted in two Italian immigrants being convicted for a murder they may or may not have committed. The two men were put to death.
When one student asked why the court would choose to commemorate that trial in spite of its negative implications for the justice system, she started a conversation between students and the tour guide about what lessons could be gleaned from the infamous case.
This group of Summer Jobs students was the first to take a combined tour of both buildings, and they said it was a worthwhile experience. We will definitely be back next summer!
If you ask the staff at Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers what stands out about Fatima Adam, their Summer Jobs student, they will talk about her sense of humor.
But over the past two months, Fatima has done more than just come out of her shell around her supervisors. She says she has learned to be more professional, efficient and organized.
“This is my first office job,” she said. “I find that I am interacting with adults much more. You learn quickly to be professional and friendly, and say ‘good morning.’ There is a level of professionalism in any office that isn’t there at other kinds of summer jobs,” she said.
In the past, Fatima has volunteered overseas for the Meseret Humanitarian Organization, an initiative to reduce vulnerability among children and women in Ethiopia. She believes she wants to focus on business and international relations in her future career, and she is considering going to law school after college.
“When I first heard about the program, I wanted to participate because it sounded really interesting and I wanted to see if I really wanted to do law,” she said.
Fatima said she has also discovered other interests during the weekly enrichment seminars offered to the students. During a mock city council hearing earlier in the summer, she was excited to learn that eligibility to run for Boston’s city council begins at age 18. Someday, she might want to serve as an elected official, she said.
“I love the enrichment seminars because some of the office work can be more administrative but the seminars give us the chance to learn about something different,” she said.
Fatima plans to study international relations at Bunker Hill Community College in the fall.
When the summer began, Sherley Muscade didn’t know much about urban planning.
Now, she can rattle off a series of buildings the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) had a hand in erecting. She has reviewed real estate documents dating back to the 1980s, reorganized the BRA’s archives and gained a new perspective on old neighborhoods. She has even drafted important legal documents, such as mortgage discharge papers and land use agreements, to help the staff on the 9th floor of City Hall.
“I’m in love with the BRA,” Sherley said of her summer job.
This is the first year the BRA has participated in the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program, and the team working with Sherley had a lot of good things to say about her performance. She is an asset both in the office and on the playing field, having joined the BRA’s softball team shortly after starting there.
Kate Sullivan, a receptionist at the BRA, said Sherley is “kind, professional and poised,” which Sullivan found especially impressive for someone Sherley’s age.
Though Sherley is not yet done with high school, she is seriously reviewing her college options, and said one of the best parts of talking with her coworkers at the BRA is learning more about their experience in their undergraduate studies and in law school.
“Everybody is a resource to me. They are unbelievably friendly and helpful, and always ready to share their stories with me,” she said.
While Sherley said she does not anticipate pursuing a career in real estate law, she thinks her work at the BRA could be helpful years down the line when she gears up to take the bar exam.
“Before I started working here, I didn’t know the bar exam covered all of the different types of law, so it’s helpful to hear these new terms and learn how to apply them,” she said.
In her application for the program, Sherley said she was looking for a way to make her summer more active and productive. Since she started, Sherley said the Summer Jobs program has helped her think “in more realistic terms” about her goals for her future schooling and career.
“The people here are so amazing and I had no idea how lucky I would be to get into this program,” she said.