Alumni in Action

Taryn Fielder


Taryn Fielder
Class of 1999 | Majors: Political Science and International Relations & Global Affairs
Minors: French and Theater
Where are you now and what are you doing?

I am in Washington D.C. practicing as a commercial real estate attorney focused in the hospitality arena. Essentially, that means I represent clients in the acquisition and financing of hotel properties around the world.

What does your job entail and how has your Eckerd experience impacted your career?

I am employed by the largest law firm in Washington, D.C. - Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. One of the most direct ways in which Eckerd prepared me for a career as a corporate attorney is by helping me develop critical research and educated writing skills. As an attorney, I am constantly engaged in comprehensive reading and drafting activities and I am often complimented on the strength of my work. I owe credit to Eckerd and the many professors who challenged me during my time there for this compliment!

What opportunities have you had because of your Eckerd education and how have they impacted your life?

There are two opportunities that I believe were presented to me almost solely as a result of my having chosen Eckerd College for my undergraduate studies. I had the distinct honor being selected as the 1999 Florida College Student of the Year by Florida Leader magazine. I wholeheartedly believe that I was selected for this honor because of the many opportunities that Eckerd presented to me. The magazine highlighted the multiple activities in which I was able to be involved thanks to Eckerd's emphasis on learning outside the classroom, the various travel opportunities of which I had taken advantage of due to the Winter Term program and the outstanding work of the international studies program and its administrators and the fact that I was pursuing a double major and double minor, something that many colleges are unable to accommodate. Secondly, I was granted admission to Harvard Law School in 1999 and I believe that my experiences at Eckerd were instrumental in helping me develop the writing, reasoning and research skills that helped me achieve this honor and succeed through three intense years of legal education. Obviously each of these honors holds great meaning for me and I thank Eckerd daily for helping me to achieve these successes.

Describe some of your best memories or favorite traditions from your time at Eckerd

Some of my best memories are from my time spent traveling during Winter Term. I also participated in the theater program's production of "Lysistrata" as part of the Festival d'Avignon in Avignon, France during the summer of 1998 - what an incredible experience that was! Living and working with the theater company for several months was a formative experience and taught me the value of hard work as well as playing hard!

Describe some of the people who had a profound impact on your Eckerd experience

Professors Tony Brunello and Bill Felice were instrumental in guiding, advising and mentoring me through my years at Eckerd. From Professor Brunello, I learned more than just political science. I learned that humor is critical in all aspects of life, that learning outside the classroom can be just as productive as learning inside and that humility is the most admirable quality a person can possess. From Professor Felice, I developed a true passion for learning, as well as compassion for the human race. Both of these professors played critical roles in my development as a student, a scholar and a person during my time at E.C.

I also benefitted from many mentors outside of the classroom, including Ex-President Armacost, Dean of Students, Tom Miller, R.A. Advisors Cathy Cesarz and Miles Bowman, all of the Student Activities staff and the entire staff of the Admission office. Each of those people took a sincere interest in my education and my personal development and I owe each of them a debt of gratitude.

Why did you choose Eckerd? What advice would you give students who are considering Eckerd?

I chose Eckerd for several reasons: (1) When I visited the campus during an Admitted Students Weekend, I experienced a strong sense of belonging. The students at Eckerd seemed well-adjusted, happy and interested in the various coursework they were pursuing. (2) I loved the idea of "Winter Term" and found it intriguing that I could travel around the world during the month of January experiencing different countries and new cultures. (3) I believed strongly that a small school that emphasizes learning both inside and outside of the classroom was the best learning environment for me and would allow me to develop fully as a person during the formative college years.

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