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Bryan Hum '16 is steadily working his way toward a career in politics and government with his long-term sights set on D.C.
“I knew I wanted to get a job in government and politics but I wasn't quite sure how to get there,” said Hum, who is originally from eastern North Carolina, and double majored in International Studies and Political Science at North Carolina State University. “I knew that most politicians and people who work in government went to law school first, so I saw it as a natural 'stepping stone' or pathway to the career I want. After deciding on law school and concentrating my P.S. degree, I took classes on law and legal theory. That helped solidify my decision to attend law school.”
“Albany Law interested me because it's in the capital, and I knew it would help with getting internships and gaining experience in government.”
Hum is currently serving as an executive editor for the Albany Law Review this year, for which he planned and put on the journal’s fall symposium.
“I spent the summer soliciting speakers for the event, as well as authors who could provide articles on the symposium topic for us to publish. I was lucky enough to have all my speakers in place by the time school started this fall so that I could focus on the smaller details, such as reception, travel, lodging, fliers, etc.,” said Hum, who was responsible for choosing the topic of the event (religion and law), and the title: “My Religion, My Rules: Examining the Impact of RFRA Laws on Individual Rights.” The discussion centered on both state and federal RFRA laws and how they impact areas of business, health care, family, and fundamental and civil rights, to name a few.
“The overarching goal of the event was to discuss religion, religious freedom, and its place in society today,” said Hum, adding that he chose the topic because he wanted to focus on an issue that would remain highly relevant throughout the course of the year. “As a First Amendment issue, religion is always a hot-button issue that draws a lot of attention, which is what I wanted for this event.”
Hum is also participating in the Senior Prize trials and conducting research for Professor Heverly when not in class or studying.
Hum is no stranger to leadership roles and development strategy. As an undergrad, the N.C. native worked with the NCSU Global Training Initiative SKEMA program, where he coordinated group activities and acted as the first point of contact for French international students participating in the program, and helped answer questions that the students had about coming to the U.S. for the first time. “It was easy to relate to going to a new country since I had previously studied abroad in France between my sophomore and junior year,” he said.
“It was a phenomenal summer. I got to be in D.C. again, and I was able to combine all I've learned at Albany Law with my past experiences in D.C.”
During his senior year at NCSU, Hum became the first student ever appointed to the Dean's Advisory Board for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The Board was composed of alumni and members of the community who advised the Dean on issues pertaining to the college. “I was appointed to the Board to help create transparency with the students and make the Board more aware of how the students were feeling and what they were thinking.” Hum was also involved with the Chancellor's Liaison meetings, the University Ambassadors Program, Fusion Dance Crew, and intramural soccer throughout his undergraduate career.
The summer following undergrad, Hum interned with the National Endowment for the Humanities in its Office of White House and Congressional Affairs. “I co-developed and produced a series of Google+ Hangouts On Air that brought together the NEH, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, members of Congress, and university presidents, to discuss the intersection of STEM and the humanities. I also, along with the other interns, helped complete a series of congressional impact reports about NEH grant funding in various communities; in addition to our work on the reports, we held meetings on Capitol Hill with congressional staffers to educate and make aware the work and importance of the NEH and humanities overall.”
After completing his internship in Washington D.C., Hum went straight to law school.
“I always heard that New York was the best state for gaining reciprocity into other states, and having lived in the south for the majority of my life, I wanted something different for the next three years," he said. "I wanted to be in a place where I didn't really know anyone and there was a difference in culture. Albany Law interested me because it's in the capital, and I knew it would help with getting internships and gaining experience in government during my time here.”
Since coming to Albany Law, Hum has participated in a myriad of activities and internships, including representing his class in the Student Bar Association, playing soccer on the Albany Law intramural league, interning with the NYS Attorney General's Office, working in a field placement with Judge Lawrence Kahn of the Northern District, and working at Hodgson Russ LLP through the Albany County Bar Association Diversity Internship Program. This past summer, Hum interned with the Office of Government Ethics in their General Counsel and Legal Policy Division in Washington, D.C., where he aided assistant general counsels and non-attorneys by providing oral and written advice and clarification to senior agency ethics officials and counselors in order to formulate ethics and conflicts of interest policies with regard to gifts, whistleblower retaliation, and financial disclosure.
“It was a phenomenal summer," Hum said. "I got to be in D.C. again, and I was able to combine all I've learned at Albany Law with my past experiences in D.C.”
Overall he found it to be a valuable experience, because he was able to see the life and work of government lawyers, which helped to solidify his career path even more.
This coming spring, Hum will be interning with the Office of the New York State Inspector General as well as working at McNamee, Lochner, Titus & Williams, P.C. through the Albany County Bar Diversity Internship Program. Hum maintains that upon graduation and completion of the bar, he hopes to be back in D.C. with a federal agency or on the Hill in a Senator or Congressman's office working on a specific policy issue. He advises incoming law students to “have as much fun as you can and de-stress while you're here, otherwise you'll burn out quick.”