A 2015 Dean’s Distinguished Graduate, Alex D’Jamoos is not your typical student. His summers have been spent climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (twice) and volunteering in Russia for Happy Families International Center, Inc., a nonprofit that helps children needing medical care. Born in Russia without legs and raised in an orphanage, D’Jamoos came to the United State for orthopedic surgery at 16 and was adopted by his host family.
Supervised by Rob Moser, D’Jamoos defended a government honors thesis, “Propaganda? The Current State of Russian News Media.” As part of his research, Alex spent the 2014 summer in Moscow interning at the Russian newspaper, Kommersant. D’Jamoos concluded that the Russian media is structured to produce propaganda — primarily government ownership of the media in combination with a social environment of crisis and emotional vulnerability. Alex notes that the Russian media has transitioned from a mode of censorship to one of making sure certain information gets disseminated.
D’Jamoos has deferred his admission to the Boston University School of Law and will spend next year teaching Russian Language at Phillips Academy Andover.
It makes sense that a government major would rise to Student Body President, which is exactly what Kori Rady did. A 2015 Honorable Mention for Dean’s Distinguished Graduate and winner of the University Union’s J.J. “Jake” Pickle Citizenship Award, Rady worked tirelessly during his time on the 40 Acres. He also found time to gain valuable experience off campus, taking advantage of two notable internship opportunities, with the Office of the Governor and the Office of then-U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Regarding his experience as student body president and its interactions with his studies as a government major, Kory says, “It was certainly on the mind, something I would think about, seeing how presidents and Congress do their job, how they build relationships.” He also says that his studies helped give him a “greater context to what (he) was doing — will a change here be better than this other thing?” When asked if his time in leadership gave him a new or different appreciation for what public leaders do, he said, “I imagine there are a lot of hard-working public servants who do not get recognition for the work they do. It is a lot of work building relationships to get small things done – I can only imagine what that is like on a national and international scale.”
After graduating, Kori will attend law school at SMU. He is also writing a book about higher education based on what he learned on the frontlines, and is launching a start-up that promises to revolutionize how people interact with television.
More on Kori: Life & Letters Interview