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Academics, Active Citizenship, and a Passion for Human Rights


An internship at Civitas Maxima, a nonprofit  in Switzerland that provides legal counsel for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity, helped Jonina Mignon ’21 weave  multiple interests into an academic plan. Mignon decided to major in psychology and minor in two subjects: jurisprudence, law, and justice studies and communication. She answered these three questions about her choices.

Did your internship have an impact on what you wanted to study at Hamilton?

I think so. I’ve always been very interested in human rights issues as a whole. I think that kind of helped steer me in the direction of my majors and minors, but I think the main reason I settled on what I did — psychology as a major and then my double minors in communication and jurisprudence, law, and justice studies — was really because I think all of those are very interconnected. I think those issues of humanity and law in general are so universal and so fundamental to what it means to be a human being and to live in our different societies and our different cultures. But despite their very universal foundations, it’s so interesting to see how much of these things vary by society and by individuals.

about Jonina Mignon '21

Major: Psychology

Minors: Jurisprudence, Law, and Justice Studies; Communication

Hometown: Short Hills, N.J.

High School: Millburn High School

What do you hope to get out of your jurisprudence minor?

My advisor is always telling me about the academic goals that Hamilton hopes all of its students will accomplish or be near accomplishing by the time we graduate, so one of the major ones that I’ve been really focused on is being engaged in active citizenship and gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for diversity and cultural perspectives. So I think the jurisprudence, law and justice studies minor definitely goes toward that.  

What made you decide to come to Hamilton?

A lot of it was the open curriculum because I definitely knew coming in that I was interested in psychology and legal issues and things related to humanities in general. But at the same time I was still very much, ‘Well I don’t know, I want to take a few classes here and there.’ And I just wanted to pursue my wide variety of different academic passions and interests.

(Also,) I just really loved the campus. I thought it was beautiful the first time I visited, and the people here are so genuinely kind and very supportive, which is really great.

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