MassMutual sponsors student trip to Washington

Date: 11/14/2014

SPRINGFIELD – Recently three local students traveled to Washington D.C. to meet U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and tour the city. The trip was sponsored by MassMutual as part of the company’s annual Summer Legal Institute in partnership with Just The Beginning – A Pipeline Organization (JTB), in an effort to encourage Springfield area youth to explore the many career paths available in the legal field.

This year, MassMutual expanded its partnership with JTB and sent three of the top performing scholars from the Springfield summer program to JTB’s “Day at the Supreme Court.” 

Caroline Andros, a senior at Minnechaug Regional High School, Tinsae Erkailo, a sophomore at Renaissance School in Springfield, and Raekwon Wheeler, a graduate of Springfield Central High School and a current student at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., toured the Supreme Court, met and engaged in a Q&A session with Kagan, participated in lunch and learn activities with Supreme Court Clerks and attended a student centered networking reception at a D.C. law firm.

“I thought that sitting in the chambers of the United States Supreme Court was riveting enough, but participating in a discussion and Q&A with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan standing four feet directly in front of me was unbelievable. I also had the opportunity to network with attorneys and businessmen/businesswomen from the area, as well as my peers. I took in the breathtaking beauty of the nation’s capital while sightseeing, and reflected on the history of the nation and the progress that we have made,” Wheeler said.

“Thank you to MassMutual, Just The Beginning and the Honorable Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, for making my first trip to D.C. not only possible, but out of this world,” he added.

JTB is a nonprofit service organization which seeks to develop and nurture an interest in the legal profession among young people from underrepresented groups and to support their continued academic and professional success, with a long term goal of increasing diversity in the federal courts and the legal profession as a whole.

As part of MassMutual’s educational initiatives for area students and its pro-bono legal program, the company provided a $25,000 grant to JTB to bring the Summer Legal Institute program to Springfield in 2013 and 2014. Members of MassMutual’s legal department and other local attorneys gave hundreds of hours of their time to make this program a success.  MassMutual and JTB hope to continue the Summer Legal Institute next year.