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Gareth Rhodes is a 1L from Upstate New York. Gareth studied Political Science and Economics at CUNY City College before working for New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Gareth hopes to pursue a career in government and public policy.

Pathway to HLS

Hello! I remember reading the J.D. Admissions blog during the (sometimes stressful?) admissions process and appreciated the many diverse and interesting paths that led students to Harvard Law. Hopefully this will serve the same purpose.

Born & Raised

I was born and raised in a small town located in the rural farmland of Upstate New York and graduated from Kingston High School. I took time off before and during college, first drilling water-wells on a large (and very loud) rig, and then working at a retreat center in the Pocono Mountains. I graduated from CUNY City College in New York City in 2011. In addition to learning basic Mandarin and Spanish studying in China and Argentina, being abroad helped me realize – perhaps from continuing to read the New York Times each morning and attempting to stream Meet the Press in Shanghai – that my interests were in government and politics here in the States. College internships at the White House, the office of my congressional representative, and the New York Attorney General’s office provided an opportunity to see government in action and led to a job in the press office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

After college, before HLS

Though law school for me was a “when” not “if” decision, I wanted to first work in government before continuing with school – an experience I highly recommend. Working in communications may be the best job in government for a young staffer. Every day was a crash course on a new issue, with lessons ranging from the environmental dangers of hydrofracking to home buyout programs after Hurricane Sandy, or a new on-the-ground experience, including examining tunnels used by two inmates who escaped an Upstate prison and traveling to Cuba with New York businesses as part of a trade delegation. While I loved the job, after four years I was more interested in law school than before, eager to learn about the legal aspect of the issues that I had helped communicate to the public.

HLS and what’s next?

Along with many other reasons, I was drawn to Harvard for the size and diversity of the law school community. Beyond the classroom, there is something for everyone and any interest, and many opportunities to create lasting friendships with fellow students and connections with faculty. In just the few months I’ve been here I have received dozens of emails from the law school with new opportunities and events in my field of interest, had professors offer to connect me with staff members in offices I’d love to work in, and have had many 2L and 3L classmates offer advice in finding a summer job, taking exams, and selecting classes. There are many paths to a career in government and I look forward over the next two years here at Harvard Law to choosing one that is the right fit.