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The Honorable Jenny Rivera, New York State Court of Appeals, offers Judicious Advice to Students

Published: December 05, 2013

Judge RiveraThe Honorable Jenny Rivera, New York State Court of Appeals, shared her fascinating journey in public service with students, faculty, staff, administrators and special guests on December 2 in the Medical Arts Building.

“My experiences may sound more familiar than you think,” began Judge Rivera, describing her upbringing in the culturally diverse Lower East Side as the child of a single mother. Her mother, who had little schooling herself, still nurtured her daughter’s love for “the ideals of freedom and education.”

Upon graduation from high school, Judge Rivera attended Princeton University and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, and her LL.M. from Columbia University School of Law.

She said that her college instructors taught her “how to conduct research and how to write”, and she urged students to take advantage of opportunities such as the 2014 David A. Garfinkel Essay Contest, a statewide writing contest sponsored by the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York.

Queensborough boasts two winners of the Garfinkel CUNY Community College Essay Prize. They are Dawar Jamal in 2009 and Ruby Singh in 2013. Six other Business Academy students received Honorable Mentions this year, including Farah Naz, who spoke during the event.

Judge Rivera remarked that, “Students today have great ways to connect that I didn’t have, such as the great advantages of technology as a resource to investigate and explore academic and career interests … and wonderful faculty who are lawyers.”

She went on to describe her passion to make life better not only for the individual but for the greater community.

During a lively Q&A session, students asked Judge Rivera a series of insightful questions. Among them was, “What kept you driven in college to focus on your studies and nothing else?”  Her answer was, “I realized this was a brief window of my life which could set the standard for a successful future.”

Dr. Jonas Falik, Professor and Chairperson, Business Academy, thanked Dr. Diane B. Call, President of Queensborough Community College and the members of the Mock Trial Association for their support. He acknowledged the outstanding efforts of Drs. Christine Mooney, Stephen Hammel and Leslie Francis along with Professor Linda Meltzer for coordinating the event.

Dr. Falik also recognized Marilyn Marcus, Executive Director and Michael Benowitz, Assistant Director of the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York. 

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