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Jenny Wu '88, Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice

Psychology

Why I chose psychology

I was inspired by one of the introductory psychology courses, and interested in the breadth of the departmental course offerings. I wanted to focus on the study of human beings.

After graduating from Princeton, my first job was a supervisory position with AT&T in its VISTA program, a new college-hire management-training program AT&T instituted to identify and groom future business leaders. For the first eight months of my job, I was responsible for setting up the HR supervisor function at a technical work site that monitored AT&T's long-distance lines. I began training for a technical supervisor position, which entailed supervising a group of technicians who monitored the lines. AT&T hired only two people with liberal arts degrees for the VISTA program, one of whom was me -- the other 10 had engineering degrees. According to my supervisors, I was chosen for the program because I was a Princeton graduate; they had confidence that I would be able to gain the technical knowledge I needed on the job.

After working at AT&T for about a year, I went to law school at the University of Virginia School of Law. Since graduating from law school, I have worked as an employment attorney at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP's Washington, D.C., office. I am now starting a job at the Department of Justice as the associate general counsel of employment and ethics in the Community Oriented Policing Services Legal Division.

Value to my career

My studies prepared me to function successfully in my career in a number of ways. As an initial matter, I really enjoyed the classes and got good grades, which enabled me to get into a top-notch law school. In addition, I have found that a number of the psychology courses I took at Princeton provided relevant background to employment law issues. For example, because employment discrimination cases often focus on statistics and statistical experts, I have repeatedly drawn on the knowledge I gained from the statistics class I took as one of the core departmental requirements. Employment discrimination cases also frequently involve allegations of emotional distress. Many of the psychology courses I took at Princeton have provided me with useful background on such issues.

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