Cornell University

Undergraduate Admissions

Advancing the world of work

Student Spotlight

Thaddeus Talbot portrait

Thaddeus Talbot '15


Public policy, law

ILR Experience

  • Internship: Legal Aid Society
  • Internship: Deloitte Consulting
  • Internship: Legal department at Goldman Sachs

Thaddeus' high school participation in mock trial and his search for a beautiful campus environment led him to Cornell and to ILR. His first year has shown him a world of new opportunities and has led him to mentor high school students making that same important choice.

Making the ILR decision

I’m from Brooklyn, NY and I was looking for an environment that was beautiful to look at, a school where people were inviting and a place to pursue my interest in law through classes and extracurricular activities. I chose ILR because the curriculum had several undergraduate law classes and I knew Cornell had a mock trial team, which was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to focus on my interest in law both inside and outside the classroom. I became interested in law because of participating in mock trial during high school.

Exploring classes

During my first year in ILR, I took many interesting classes. I selected a class called Introduction to Disability Studies, where we discussed current issues and policies, including disability laws and their impacts on the workplace. I also took Organizational Behavior (OB) along with Sociology, and so far they are my favorite classes because they are interlinked. I had no idea what to think about OB going into it. We learned about organizational cultures, employee motivation and leadership. These classes don’t exist in high school.

Getting involved, getting support

The mock trial team is sort of like Law & Order, you compete against different top schools across the nation. It is very competitive and fun, and bonds you with your teammates. So, when I got to Cornell, I tried out and made the team. I have already been in a tournament and invitational at the law school.

I have also become involved in a mentoring program. We pair mentees with upper-class students as mentors. My mentor is an ILRie, so he was able to share with me a wide range of information on classes, social life, etc.

ILR: One major, endless possibilities

My mother is from Panama and my father was born in the United States. They didn’t graduate from college. I think they have high school diplomas. They work day in, day out, and I saw what they were doing. They always told me, “Thaddeus, if you want to be something in your life, you have to work for it.” They always instilled that principle in me and that was what propelled me to apply to Cornell in the first place. My background is Caribbean-Spanish, and it’s quite interesting in my household.

When I go back to my high school, my teachers and counselors want to know how I’m doing it, when I’m doing, how my grades are, my GPA, and what I am involved in. Over winter break, they had me speak to the students about applying to college and how to transition into college life. This was a very interesting experience, because I saw myself a year ago sitting in those seats. I know what they’re going through, the challenges they’re facing—both financially and in the application process.

This summer I am very busy, working as a sales associate at Guess Inc. in New York City and interning with Legal Aid in downtown Brooklyn. Legal Aid provides civil legal services to low-income people and promotes equal access to the justice system. I look forward to these different experiences.

I am also a 2012 Fellow of the New York Needs You (NYNY) program. NYNY is a two-year career development program in the city that enables first-generation college students to secure internships and remain academically sound through their college careers. I am a mentor for high school students who are going through the college search and application process.