Students Reflect on Meeting Local Philanthropist
Students Reflect on Meeting Local Philanthropist

by Thalia Hernandez ’17 M.A.
Communications and Public Affairs Graduate Assistant

It only took two words for Kelly Tea ’15, ’17 M.S. to describe meeting local philanthropist Emily Tow Jackson: inspiring and relatable.

“Her passion for public service and her story of how she arrived to where she is today can be applied to anyone of any age, gender, or career path,” Tea said. “I feel very lucky to have met her.”

Tea was in the audience last week when Tow Jackson, executive director and board president of The Tow Foundation, a charitable organization that supports work in the areas of justice reform, medical research, higher education and cultural institutions, visited the campus to serve as the spring 2016 Bartels Fellow. 

Emily Tow Jackson meets a UNH student after her campus address.

Tow Jackson has been lauded as a standout among “The Giving Generation.” A gift from The Tow Foundation funded the creation of the University’s Tow Youth Justice Institute, the first of its kind in Connecticut dedicated to juvenile-justice reform.  

“I loved that the Tow Foundation is always looking to be on the cutting edge and that it took a stand to help a group of children and young adults in need,” Tea said. “Her compassion and understanding toward them is rare, and I liked the idea of not being afraid of seeing a ‘typical juvenile’ walking down the street and instead trying help them.”

Tea, a graduate student in forensic psychology, works with the Tow Institute and the New Haven Regional Children’s Probate Court.

“I hope to continue working with children and families after finishing my master’s degree,” Tea said. “I am really interested in working in rehabilitation with juveniles and families or victim services.”

Another student, Arianna Jaron ’16, met Tow Jackson when she visited her forensic psychology class before the campus-wide lecture. The class was discussing the Central Park Five case, one of the most widely publicized crimes of the 1980s, in which five juveniles were wrongly convicted of attacking a jogger in Central Park.

“She was able to provide insight into aspects of the case that were different from how we as undergraduate students think,” said Jaron.  

Jaron said the interactions she has been able to have with Tow Jackson and other professionals in the field have given her an idea of what she can expect when she starts her career.  

“They have the ability to give you advice based on their experiences, and it can overall help to make the transition period a lot easier,” Jaron said. “Every student should take advantage of these opportunities when they present themselves and should look at is as a great networking opportunity.”

In the fall, Jaron will enroll in a master’s degree program in criminal justice with a concentration in forensic computer investigation. One day, she’d also like to go to law school and obtain her social work license. Her goal is to ultimately work for the federal government.

“I feel as though the University has provided me with numerous opportunities to advance my education and the ability to be diverse with my studies,” she said. ”That has opened my eyes to the various career paths I have before me.”


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