American studies - Clarissa Verleur
Originally from New Jersey, Clarissa Verleur ’17 was drawn to Salve Regina because it was a small university that offered academic programs in communications and literature. The Pell Honors Program also appealed to her.
“I went to Newport for one of the admitted student days, and I watched a presentation on the Pell Honors Program,” she said. “I felt like it really spoke to the things that I wanted to get out of my college education. It was one of the main reasons I chose Salve.”
As Verleur began her first year at Salve Regina, she struggled to decide exactly what she wanted to do with her major and career path, because she was interested in so many things. She said her professors – both inside and outside the Pell Honors Program – were pivotal in helping her see how her varied interests could help her build a career.
“There was really just a lot of personal mentorship,” Verleur said. “They were very willing to sit down with me and really give me good feedback, so that by the time I was a senior I could see my own personal growth.”
Verleur had always loved writing and history, so she blended her passions with a double major in American studies and literature. During her time at Salve Regina, she was an editor of the Willow literary magazine, a founding member of the History Club and a tutor for the Writing Center.
As she approached graduation, Verleur began to seriously consider her future. Law school was something she’d thought about since eighth grade, and her professors were pivotal in helping her feel confident enough to apply.
“Law school was something that if you like reading, writing and researching, that was all-encompassing. So that was the path I chose,” she said. “I always heard law school was so difficult and so hard. I didn’t know if I could really do it, but my professors really encouraged me to go for it.”
She needn’t have worried about her qualifications – she applied to 14 law schools and was accepted to all of them. Verleur chose Washington and Lee University in Virginia and earned her law degree in May 2020. That summer, she embarked on her career by clerking for a judge in the New Jersey Superior Court.
She’s most interested in becoming a prosecutor, and would also love to pursue a Ph.D. someday. No matter what the future holds, Verleur is grateful for the experiences at Salve Regina that brought her to where she is now.
“When I was interviewing with the judge, he picked up the fact that I had done a lot of writing in college,” she said. “I could tell that he liked my application. I would say from my experience starting at Salve freshmen year and in the Pell Honors Program, I can see the effects of it all the way through law school and now to my post-school job.”