Jaclyn Flamini is a student, mother, artist, restaurant worker, and law school candidate, who in her free time, strategizes anti-bullying lecture reform and environmental protection. After working full-time for over six years, she decided to return to school, choosing to enroll at Rutgers–Camden for her undergraduate degree. Initially she was undecided on her path of study and took Dr. John Wall’s class in Biomedical Ethics to fulfill a general education requirement. The class was all she needed to decide to declare a philosophy major. She still wanted to exercise her talent for debating. A political science minor would challenge her to keep up with changing domestic and foreign policy and give some real-life context to the ideas she was developing in her philosophy classes.
Becoming further involved with the philosophy department was as easy as staying after class. Dr. Charles Jarrett’s class on the philosophy of science was immediately followed by the meeting of the Philosophy Society in the same classroom. Jaclyn attended the meetings where professors, students, and visiting lecturers presented research on developing philosophies related to their interests. She served as club treasurer and prompted a discussion on the philosophy of dating. Her findings were not as romantic as expected, as they revealed the overbearing strength of biology in picking a mate. One of her favorite lectures came from Dr. Wall’s presentation on children’s rights in regards to voting age and fair representation. He emphasized the individual interests of children, who need accounting for beyond their parents’ political decisions. While her position as treasurer was helpful to her resume, it also gave her new ideas to make real change with.
Political science classes were a race to get your word in. Jaclyn’s classmates made an influential first impression on her. When she watched them go back and forth debating policy, she felt like she needed to catch up with how much they knew about current events. After spending hours studying the news, she became fascinated with the background information behind every story she read on government and politics. Her natural ability to argue, combined with her pragmatic remodeling schemes for current policy, brought her to realize her ambition to go to law school.
Some of Jaclyn’s most involved research has been outside of her main academic focuses. She had major concerns about the current state of bullying policies in schools, so she started a project of strategizing demonstrative lectures for young students. Research showed her that every generation has experienced bullying during their primary and secondary educations. As technology has changed, and so too schools and students, the scare-tactic punishments given by administrators have become outdated in comparison to the new retaliations made by students. Jaclyn suggests unifying peer groups against a common opposition to install a naturally occurring moral code of conduct among them. The controversial aspect to her approach is posing the kids against their adult superiors. She argues that adults are too far removed from the life experience of their students, especially teenagers, to know the difference between zero tolerance policy and constructive discipline. Long-term, preventative methods have been rejected for quick-fixes that ignore larger issues for victims of bullying and their bullies, but a theoretical idea like Jaclyn’s might be worth trying. Rutgers–Camden students have the opportunity to investigate topics that are meaningful to their interests and transform prior knowledge.
Environmental protection is a passion Jaclyn adopted from her parents. She grew up in a home where she was required to properly separate glass, paper, and plastic for recycling. The family kept a chart of the decomposition rates of various materials hanging on the refrigerator. At the bottom, Styrofoam lingered next to its decomposition rate of never. When she considered the production and disposal of Styrofoam, Jaclyn was outraged that something that is so harmful to the environment could be justified for how quickly, frequently, and cheaply it is made. Being a philosophy major, she contemplated the consequences that would be paid by future generations for our carelessness. As an experienced restaurant server, she witnessed the overuse of Styrofoam products and devised a method to incentivize customers to bring their own leftover containers. By getting the regular customers to make a habit of bringing their own containers, with the environmental benefit in mind, she expects they will make it their routine at every restaurant they go to, perhaps spreading the philosophy even farther. In the meantime, restaurants that are not buying as much cheap Styrofoam could use the same money to get recyclable take-home containers. Environmental law is just one of the paths she wants to see for herself after she graduates from Rutgers–Camden.
Many of Jaclyn’s interests are diverse from one another, but they communicate her values quite consistently. As a Rutgers student, she has put much of her energy into finding and repairing current research to test her own theories. As a philosophy major and political science minor, Jaclyn has considered important issues as they are processed through government, media, and our lives, determining the significance of small changes to sustain a healthy future for the world and generations to come. Whether she chooses to attend law school or a graduate program in public policy, the Rutgers–Camden community will proudly claim her as their alumna.
About Jaclyn Flamini
Hometown: Palmyra, NJ
Camden College of Arts and Sciences Major: Philosophy
Camden College of Arts and Sciences Minor: Political Science
Expected Camden College of Arts and Sciences Graduation Date: May 2014
Written By Darragh Nolan