I am a son of New Jersey. Almost twenty years ago when I was five years old, my father, Washington Township Police Department Corporal Steven Levy was shot and killed in the line of duty while serving as a member of the Gloucester County SWAT Team. My family grieved but was met by an overwhelmingly supportive community response. Our village came forward to help my mom and raise my sister and me as responsible and grateful citizens.
Much of my formative years were spent looking for ways to give back to our community, especially to South Jersey. Although I currently serve in the New Jersey Senate Majority Office through the Eagleton Fellowship Program, I started years ago interning for my state legislators: Senator Fred Madden, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. After that and during college, I was privileged to intern under my congressman, Representative Donald Norcross.
This passion for public service and a love for my community inspired me to attend law school in my backyard at Rutgers Law School. Coming to Rutgers meant coming home to me. My initial plans in law school were to become a prosecutor, continuing a family service in law enforcement. Rutgers Law empowered me to complete internships at the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. I was placed in the Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force in the latter internship where I was able to work with attorneys partnered with the Philadelphia Police Department and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office on combatting the scourge of gun violence, an epidemic to which my father fell victim.
The Eagleton Fellow Program has enhanced my abilities to give back to my local and state communities. Since high school, I have been deeply interested in government and politics—not for interests in notoriety, but for the ability to make the world a better place. In my brief time in the New Jersey Senate Majority Office, I have worked on relatively minor issues like professional licensure to otherwise major ones like the $15 minimum wage. This collaborative program has also introduced me to stellar graduate student colleagues from across the University campuses throughout the state who are individually passionate about their interests and collectively ardent in their belief in good government. Simply, the Eagleton Fellowship Program has helped me help others, and begin to repay back an inestimable debt to my communities, all the while supporting members of the New Jersey Senate, like Senator Madden and Senate President Sweeney, who have spent much of their political and professional lives supporting New Jersey families like my own.
I’ve learned in law school that a life of public service does not necessarily equate to a professional career in government, though. I’ve accepted a position as a real estate attorney at the Philadelphia law firm, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr following graduation where I will continue to work with enormously talented people on complex issues of law across the region. Participation with the Eagleton Institute of Politics, through our classwork and practical application this semester in our internships, has taught this year’s class of Fellows that good governance in the public sector requires symbiotic relationships with good actors in the private sector. Rutgers Law School and the Eagleton Fellowship have given me the training and the skills required to do just that.