Tatiana Hyman ’13 is the oldest of four children of Jamaican immigrants who stressed the importance of education. Growing up in the Bronx, she saw first-hand what it meant to persevere through challenges as an immigrant family.
“It has always been important to me to challenge myself to grow and not always do something I am comfortable with, so that has inspired my decision-making along the way,” Tatiana said.
Her parents stepped out of their comfort zone more than once, including when Tatiana came to Loomis Chaffee as a freshman.
“It wasn’t the easiest decision for my family knowing I'd be living away from home,” Tatiana said, “but a quality my parents also really valued was taking advantage of opportunities as they come. Not everyone gets the opportunity. So I think that is the kind of decision-making I took with me when I was faced with whether I wanted to run for the law board.”
That would be the Fordham Law Review board at Fordham University School of Law in New York. The law review, which was begun in 1935, is a student-run organization that publishes a journal covering a range of legal issues. There are 20 student members of the board, and Tatiana decided to seek the position of editor-in-chief, the top spot. After a process that included 10 interviews with various board members, Tatiana was named editor-in-chief for the 2021–2022 school year. She was the first Black student to hold the post.
Tatiana already had served as vice president of the Black Law Students Association at Fordham. She might have said that experience had provided enough of a leadership position. She might have decided just to concentrate on her final year of law school instead of taking on a role that requires a commitment of 40–50 hours a week on top of being a student. But that is not Tatiana.
Once chosen, she created a diversity and inclusion position on the board, a role that had been part of other duties. She also increased outreach to affinity groups and began a mentorship program between the students at the Fordham Law Review and the students at the Fordham Undergraduate Law Review, among other initiatives.
Tatiana said she was humbled by the experience and grateful for the opportunity. There were about 415 in her class. The class then gets split into sections where the students take their first-year courses. Tatiana’s section had about 90 students, of which four were Black. Overall, there were 20 Black students in the class, which is less than 5 percent.
“Being editor showed other Black students and students of color you are capable of reaching certain heights and holding certain seats even if you do not see a lot of people like you sitting in them,” Tatiana said. “And on a personal level, it was important to have the grit and tenacity to break that barrier and make some changes that I think can have an impact for years to come.”
Six issues were published when she served as editor-in-chief. The law review also hosts events, including lectures.
“It takes a lot of planning and delegating, and I learned I could not do it alone,” Tatiana said. “I certainly developed grit and perseverance and professional skills, dealing with 19 other personalities on the board and 60 staff members on the journal, trying to make it a memorable and meaningful experience for everyone.”
Law reviews have a long history at law schools.
“They provide another way of creating discussions or discourse in the legal field other than cases and hearings,” Tatiana said. “Law reviews are ways for professors and students to get fresh, cutting-edge proposals on the table. There really are no boundaries; you can propose any idea or discuss any issue or problem you see arising in the legal field. It is a way to keep the conversation current.”
And, for Tatiana, the significance runs deeper.
“It is important that law reviews continue to work on diversity initiatives,” Tatiana said. “Just by the makeup of law reviews, a lot of perspectives from minority students are not elevated, so improving diversity and highlighting topics that affect underrepresented communities are important.”
Tatiana is a law clerk for Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City. That one-year clerkship ends in August. She will then begin an 18-month clerkship in a U.S. District Court, which will involve trials.
Much of her work centers on research and writing to help the judges. She credits Loomis for preparing her in those areas, as well as in leadership. She was a dorm prefect, resident assistant, and head tour guide. She was on the girls track and field team; was involved in music, including the Concert Choir; and was a member of PRISM (People Rising in Support of Multiculturalism).
“Loomis made me a well-rounded person,” Tatiana said. “Being around people with so many different experiences and backgrounds gave me an understanding and appreciation for respecting people.”
Before coming to Loomis, she was part of Prep for Prep 9, a leadership development program that prepares students for placement in leading independent schools. After Loomis, she attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and minors in Africana studies and African studies.
She has never shied away from getting involved, which means you can find her helping at her church on the weekend. If she is not there, she might be spending time with her family. She also recently got married.
She has taken one opportunity after another head-on.
“I think it is a mix of my upbringing and how I value challenge and pushing myself to be the best at what I do,” Tatiana said.
Including baking. Banana bread is her specialty; she has even sold some. She experiments with recipes, and at the moment banana bread with chocolate chips and walnuts is her go-to version. Someday she might have to become a patent and trademark lawyer if people go bananas for that bread.