Jahmali Matthews '22
Jahmali Matthews ’22 has been awarded an FAO Schwarz Fellowship, a highly selective two-year award in social impact that includes a paid position with a leading nonprofit, personalized mentoring, and professional development opportunities.
This prestigious fellowship has been awarded to just seven graduating seniors this year. Matthews will be working at Breakthrough Boston, an organization that “empowers educational experiences for traditionally underrepresented students on their path to college and is the largest pre-professional teacher training program in the country.”

Matthews recently shared her thoughts on the fellowship and what she hopes to learn.

What will you be doing at Breakthrough Boston?

I’ll perform direct service, supporting a caseload of Breakthrough high school graduates with their transition into higher education. I’ll also contribute to the organization’s communications team and spend time developing social media outreach strategies, creating content, and managing production of BTGB’s tri-yearly newsletter.

Why did you choose to take this path after graduation?

This fellowship is a natural continuation of my sociology thesis, which analyzes the classroom inequality underrepresented minorities experienced during remote learning in the Zoom classroom, as well as the navigational strategies these students used to overcome and appease the inequality they endured. As a FAO Schwarz fellow, I believe I’m well equipped to directly support minority groups navigate their new college environments as my sociology research has been geared toward identifying the gaps between what students like myself need and what predominantly white institutions provide.

Jahmali Matthews ’22

Majors: Sociology and Creative Writing
Hometown: Boston
High School: Academy of the Pacific Rim High School
Activities: Secretary, Caribbean Students Association; content editor & editor-in-chief, Culture Magazine

What is your interest in nonprofit work?

When I initially attended Hamilton, I was certain I had an interest in law, but studying sociology made me realize I have a passion for justice. I’m not sure where my interest in social justice and talent for creative writing will land me in the long run, but I will be starting my post-graduation experience further exploring my commitment to challenging social inequality.

Did anyone at Hamilton influence or mentor you?

My HEOP writing guide and mentor Robert Musante influenced me the most at Hamilton. He inspired me to double major in creative writing, despite me being discouraged by other Hamilton staff, and truly influenced the writer and person I am today. 

Anything you’d like to add?

After my two-year fellowship with Breakthrough, I will be applying to Boston University’s creative writing program to earn my MFA in creative writing.

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