Eight Rutgers Law–Camden Students Named Eagleton Fellows


Eight Rutgers Law–Camden students have been named 2015 Eagleton Graduate Fellows, joining an elite class of 27 members selected from hundreds across the university for the honored tradition of placing Rutgers students in positions within the New Jersey executive branch each spring since 2000.

According to Clinical Professor of Law Harriet Katz, who directs the externship program at Rutgers Law–Camden, the Eagleton Graduate Fellowship Program, which provides three different types of fellowships, offers significant opportunities for law students.

“During the fall term, Eagleton Fellows study government policy with graduate and professional students from other disciplines, a rare opportunity for law students,” states Katz. “In the spring term of their fellowship year, the students participate in New Jersey government, as well as continue learning with graduate students in history, political science, public administration, and other fields. It’s a great opportunity to broaden their thinking about public issues.”

Rutgers Law–Camden second-year student Linwood Donelson and third-year students Justin Kozinn and Matthew White are recipients of the Henry J. Raimondo Legislative Fellowship, which are offered to just eight individuals each year to honor the memory of Henry J. Raimondo, who had served as associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics before his passing 15 years ago.

Kozinn, a former campaign manager for a 2011 state senate race and chair of the Democratic Committee in his hometown of River Vale, says the fellowship is an ideal way to become fully immersed in Garden State government.

“Eagleton is a great opportunity to get an in-depth and knowledgeable peek into the political and policy workings of New Jersey. Anyone interested in either the how or the why of governmental workings in the state would be well served to take a look at the program and apply” says Kozinn, who will graduate this May, after co-founding a youth court restorative justice program for Camden high school students.

All three of the of Raimondo Eagleton Fellows are now enrolled in the Legislative Policy Making seminar and next semester will be placed in the New Jersey Senate Republican Office (Donelson); the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office (Kozinn); and the New Jersey Senate Majority Office (White).

White’s career in politics first began as an intern with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez’s campaign for reelection. He then served as a political aide at the Camden County Democratic Committee until he was promoted to executive director, a position he maintains now, while attending law school in the evening.

I honestly can’t say enough good things about the program,” says White.  “The faculty and frequent guest lecturers are all eminently qualified individuals who share the unparalleled insight and knowledge they’ve gained over the course of their storied careers with us each week.” Rutgers University–Camden public policy doctoral candidate Christopher Wheeler, who is a recipient of an Eagleton Alumni Fellowship award, also is impressed by the distinguished roster of guest lecturers, from former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman to former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson to MSNBC host Steve Kornacki. “Their candid remarks on their rich experiences in politics provide a type of education you could never get in a traditional classroom,” notes Wheeler.

Third-year Rutgers Law–Camden students Vincent Bruno, Perry Farhat, Mark Fidanza, Michael Kornblau, and Jacquelyn Suarez are recipients of the Eagleton Governor’s Executive Fellowship.

In addition to the three-credit seminar underway this semester and the 15-hour-per-week government placements this spring for all Eagleton Fellows, the program also hosts monthly group meetings in Trenton.

For Perry Farhat, being selected as an Eagleton Fellow allows him to do more of what he loves: economic development.

“This prestigious fellowship has provided me with unprecedented access to the ‘movers and shakers’ of New Jersey politics.  I believe this, and my amazing internship with Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, is key to effectuating my personal goal to bring more economic development opportunities to Camden and other distressed communities in New Jersey.”

Michael Kornblau is equally grateful for the opportunities offered through Eagleton, especially as they relate to his ambitions for a career in New Jersey politics. A police officer for 13 years, Kornblau retired from service in 2012 after receiving several honors, including the Life Saving Award and the Law Enforcement Distinguished Service Award.

“I hope to one day run for some type of political office and this program has been hugely instrumental in helping me prepare and understand what it takes to be a good leader,” he says. “My goals for the program were to learn how to be a better leader, how to communicate more effectively, and to gain an inside track on the political climate, and thankfully I think I’ve been able to accomplish that. It has been honor to serve as an Eagleton Fellow thus far and I look forward to my future association with the organization.”

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