September 2, 2019
Ryan Brinkerhoff RLAW '22 has traveled the world and helped mentor young people, in addition to starting a non-profit organization, before starting law school.

What were you doing before you came to Rutgers Law School?

In 2016, I started a small non-profit called Thrive Projects which supports disaster relief, reconstruction and sustained education initiatives in underprivileged communities around the world. For the last three years, I have been growing this business and traveling to oversee program implementation in Nepal and Haiti. Over the last 12 months, I managed those programs remotely and returned to New Jersey to work as an aide to students with disabilities at my old elementary and middle schools.

How did you choose to come to law school, and why Rutgers?

I always had this idea that I wanted to be a lawyer. In the most simplistic way, I thought of lawyers as people who decided what was right and what was wrong. The older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve realized how much those basic concepts matter. I chose to come to law school so I could play a larger role in balancing right and wrong in our society, and I chose to do so at Rutgers because it is so close to my home. To me, there is really no better place to start.

What do you hope to get out of law school?

I hope at the end of these arduous three years I walk away with the skills to deliver real, meaningful change to those in need and friends and colleagues who share the passion to do so.

Tell more about yourself.

I grew up in Garwood, NJ—the same town my mother and grandmother grew up in about 25 minutes from Newark. I received my Bachelor’s in Public Policy from Syracuse University. I spent one semester studying in Hong Kong and another in Washington, D.C. where I worked in the Obama Administration on trade and budget issues. I am an avid hiker and moviegoer. 

In my career to this point, I’ve held every title from intern to teacher to director. I’ve been an entrepreneur and I’ve been a coach and a stagehand. In all these roles my job has been to help people share or even rewrite their own story. I have personally taught, mentored or coached more than two hundred children and young adults.

By extension, these individuals have gone on to teach hundreds and impact the lives of thousands more through community development projects. I’ve been privileged to be a part of these good works and I believe law school will serve as a continuation of this work.

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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