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Cory Hernandez '14
Political Science & American Studies

Cory Hernandez

It's a Journey: The Road from MIT to Law School

Being pre-law at MIT is, well, "it's very rare," says Cory Hernandez, '14, a dual political science and American studies major with a minor in history. But for Hernandez, so far, that's a good thing.

Not only have previous MIT alumni gone on to very good law schools, they've done well at them. "MIT classes, be they in the humanities, social sciences, engineering or math, really focus on analysis and logic," he says. "That definitely helps you do well in law school."

In addition, students applying to law schools from MIT stand out as different from other applicants, most of whom do not attend technical institutions. As an example, every MIT student, even if they major in the social sciences or humanities, must take 8 STEM courses – courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – in addition to the course load in their major. For Hernandez, this amounted to 2 semesters of calculus, 2 semesters of physics, chemistry, biology, and 2 advanced mathematics courses.

Conversely, students with science and engineering majors must also take 8 courses in the humanities. So, says Hernandez, he's taken philosophy classes with biology, chemistry and aerospace engineering majors. "The discussions we have in those classes are really different because the students have totally diverse experiences and interests," he says.

During an AP US Government class lecture on how the Supreme Court works, Hernandez decided he wanted someday to be a Supreme Court Justice.

He combined political science, American studies and a history minor because together, they suit his interests in politics, political philosophy and American history. Plus, they give him a chance to read Supreme Court opinions and see how the justices apply logic and analysis to each case and to see how they consider historical case precedents, the Constitution, and the intentions of the Founders in their rulings.

For Hernandez, the greatest strengths of the political science department include the quantitative focus, the small class sizes, and the enthusiasm of the faculty. "The professors are all really into it," he says.

The department also has a very strong focus on international security and security policy, so many who major in political science at MIT are interested in policy. Hernandez, who doesn't share these interests, has been able to meet his need for courses in political philosophy and american politics by blending majors. In addition, he has the option – though he hasn't pursued it yet – of taking a few classes at nearby Harvard University or Wellesley College.

Hernandez has an intense class schedule. He is taking graduate classes in addition to his major requirements with hopes to complete the 5-year bachelor's and master's program offered in Course 17 in just 4 years. Nevertheless, Hernandez has found time for many outside activities. He holds leadership positions and memberships in over a dozen extracurricular organizations at MIT. During his sophomore year he conducted a Living Pink survey to help students evaluate and choose LGBT-friendly housing on campus. This project has stirred his thinking about a possible related thesis topic.

In addition, he has completed 3 internships. Freshman year he interned at the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and he is now Chair of the group's Board of Directors. During the 2011–2012 academic year he interned at the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition in Boston. During the Summer of 2012, he interned at Senator John Kerry's office in Washington, DC. "Being Course 17 at MIT can help in many ways," he says.

 

By Elizabeth Dougherty

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