Faina Belle Simone
Binghamton University ’21
B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Law
B.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Residential Assistant | Dickinson Community
President 2020-2021 | Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society
What activities and clubs/organizations do you participate in at Binghamton? (i.e. study abroad, on-campus employment, research, volunteering, etc.)
I am an RA in Dickinson, A SUNY JFEW Scholar, The President of Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society and a Senior Advisor for the Haitian Student Association. I also currently work at the EOP Tutorial Center and the Dean of Students Office.
What is your favorite class or favorite faculty member on campus?
My favorite class has been a course on Environmental Racism in Latin America and the Caribbean. This course really exposed me to the realities of systemic racism, how deeply rooted they are in every aspect of our lives and how this trickles down to disproportionately affect the numerous of unprivileged nations outside of the popular West.
Do you have a mentor? If so, how important has that relationship been for you?
Throughout my collegiate career I have gained several mentors for a variety of reasons. Each mentor I’ve had have guided me through the different identities I represent, whether that be my career goals, areas of interest, my gender, ethnic and racial identity. My mentors have been there to encourage and support me through times where I have doubted my capabilities and to provide me with opportunities they see fit for me. My mentor relationships have been extremely important to me, as I always say, and in the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall, “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots”. My mentorship experiences are one’s that I have been forever grateful for.
What skills do you feel like you have gained throughout your time at Binghamton?
I believe I have gained a variety of skills throughout my time at Binghamton. Career wise, I have gained networking skills, organizational skills, leadership skills, problem solving skills, teamwork skills, and professionalism, etc. Personally I have gained an abundance of skills such as perseverance, self-confidence, and integrity.
What are your career goals and what have you done to prepare yourself professionally?
I am a pre-law student and an inspiring attorney. I would like to work in public interest or international law and eventually the non-profit sector, supporting the underserved. I owe my professional preparedness to two organizations/programs that have guided me and helped me grow professionally. Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society and JFEW SUNY Global Affairs Leadership Program
Tell us more about the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society:
The Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society was founded on Binghamton’s campus in 1992 as the only non-Greek affiliated pre-law organization on campus. The purpose of this organization has always been to support the minority and underprivilege pre-law students. This organization has supported me from the very beginning of my start at Binghamton University. TMPS serves pre-law students with resources that they may not have the chance to get. Coming in as a freshmen, I was unsure of how to begin to grow professionally, and Thurgood has given me the opportunity to network with individuals in different parts of the law, take advantage of LSAT resources. TMPS has also given me the opportunity to advocate for social justice, equity and minorities such as myself.
Tell us more about the JFEW SUNY Global Affairs Leadership Program:
JFEW SUNY took what I knew professionally by my junior year and elevated it. As an International Relations program for women, this program has exposed me to how I can use the network and opportunities that I have gained and leverage for professional development. As a woman, SUNY JFEW has also exposed me to the experiences that we may have in the law/government field, and the importance of taking pride in my identity and not letting it affect how I place myself within a professional setting.
Both of these programs have pushed me to break out of my comfort zone and strive for professionalism. Both experiences have contributed to my success and are influential in my post grad planning.
What types of activities and resources are provided by the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society:
- LSAT Prep: To begin, our members have access to LSAT prep materials. We use the LSAT materials that we have gathered over the years to lend to our members in need. Additionally, we partner up with an LSAT prep company, called testmasters. They come in and do free test prep workshops for our members and give discounts to individuals who would like to take their semester courses.
- Law Week: Every Fall semester, Thurgood also hosts an annual law week where we provide our members to experience our organization as much as possible. We hold events that represent what our organization is about. This fall, we held our first Virtual Fashion Show and our first Law School panel discussion where current law school students came in to discuss their experience about their first year in law school.
- Conferences: Thurgood also hosts bi-annual Law Conferences. Our Law Conferences are opportunities for members to listen and network with attorneys that work within the prospective legal field that the theme of Law Conference mbodies. This semester was Criminal Law.
- Cultural Fundraising Events: To ensure that we engage in our community as much as possible, Thurgood’s fundraising events are “culturally” based. In the fall semester we host “Havoc on the Hardwood” a basketball tournament and in the spring semester, we host our “Step Show”. We have step teams from different schools entertain and compete in Binghamton. The show is always entertaining and lively. The purpose of these fundraising events is to raise money to take our members on a Law Trip outside of New York State during our Spring Break. Members have a chance to engage with attorneys, law students and understand the law school/firm environment in that prospective region. In the previous years, Thurgood has taken students to Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, etc.
- General Body Meetings and Education: Finally, to make sure our members are engaged in current events of politics and the law we hold weekly General Body meetings on Tuesdays to discuss any topic that we think is relevant to discuss.
How would you describe your role as the 20-21 President of the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society?
As the President of this organization, I hope to make sure to represent this organization well. I hope to successfully lead this organization in aiding our members in creating systemic change. My goal is to ensure that we elevate each other and push each other into making our voices heard within society. We all want to create everlasting change for the future and we have to support each other because we tend to doubt ourselves and our potential. My experience so far has been positive, because I can tell that my E-Board puts their best foot forward to support our mission and elevate the organization. That is all I could ever ask for. As the president I make sure to communicate expectations thoroughly and give everyone else the chance to have input. During my previous positions on E-Board, beyond a team or an E-Board, Thurgood has always been a family. As President it is important to continue to create that environment in which we have empathy and consideration for each other. Without such considerations, the mission of this organization may become unclear.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be confident, to never take no for an answer and to always believe in yourself regardless of the doubts and expectations others may have of you. And finally I would tell my younger self that no one is perfect so take pride in who you are, what you do and how you get there because you are doing great.
Want to connect with Faina? Contact her on LinkedIn! She loves meeting new people!