Halley Fisher ’16
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My Story

As a freshman from Vermont, Halley entered Northeastern University with emerging passions for writing, social justice, and community service. Halley graduated with a BA in English in May 2016.

Here’s Halley’s Northeastern story…

“I knew I wanted to go to school in Boston. I love Boston. What stood out to me when I first visited Northeastern was how it’s in the city, but it’s also a campus. I did some more research and saw the co-op program. I thought it sounded really cool, so I decided to apply early action. I didn’t fully grasp what co-op was until I got here, and then, I was like, wow, I’m really glad I chose this school.

My Path
Photo credit: Joanne DeCaro Afornalli
Why English?

Halley declared a major in English because she loved literature and wanted to hone her critical thinking and writing skills. The flexibility of the major allowed her to pursue these interests.

Over the years, Halley has found inspiration in stories from around the globe. She has worked with the surrounding community, gained first-hand knowledge of the legal process, and developed her analytical, writing, and researching skills. These NU experiences provided her a solid foundation to pursue a career in law and social justice.

Transformational Coursework

Halley found a mentor in Professor Beth Britt, whose specialities include law and legal rhetoric. Halley took a number of Professor Britt’s classes, including:

  • ENGL 1160 Introduction to Rhetoric
  • ENGL 2710 Style and Editing
  • ENGW 3311 Advanced Writing for Pre-Law

In these classes and her other English and interdisciplinary Honors courses, Halley learned to think about how writing functions in the world. She began to consider how she might apply her developing analytical thinking and writing skills to social justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at interfaith civil rights rally, San Francisco Cow Palace, June 30 1964. Photo credit: CC BY-NC-ND George Conklin

“One of our Intro to Rhetoric assignments was to find a political speech and kind of take it apart and analyze it using the methods we had learned. I could see applying that to causes that mean a lot to me — social justice causes. I was seeing that, wow, I can actually apply this kind of work. It’s not just a class.”


Halley worked with Professor Ellen Cushman on a grant-funded, digital translation interface project. Professor Cushman and others have created a website where native speakers of Cherokee and Ojibwe can translate digitally uploaded manuscripts.

“It’s basically a way to access all of these important documents and manuscripts that people wouldn’t be able to see, necessarily, unless they traveled to the archives and the libraries where they are. … It’s also a pedagogical thing where translators document their whole process of translation, and people can go in and see how they translated or whether there is another interpretation of a translation that maybe someone missed. Native American youth can learn the language and do their own translations. So it is a way to not only preserve the documents themselves but also the language, which is really cool.”

Experiential Learning

In her senior year at Northeastern, Halley enrolled in ENGL 2740 Writing and Community Engagement with Professor Ellen Cushman. As part of this class, Halley and her classmates worked with community partners at Northeastern Crossing to create a digital history of Boston’s Dudley Square neighborhood. By collaborating on an interactive map to display historical photos and documents alongside stories told in the words of Dudley Square residents, Halley is helped to create a permanent archive that tells the story of this historic Boston community.

Poster for the Dudley Square Digital Media Launch, April 2016
Civic Engagement in Boston

Halley became involved in local community groups through Northeastern’s Civic Engagement Program.

Halley worked extensively with America SCORES Boston, an organization whose mission is to help at-risk youths lead active, creative, and intellectual lives. Through their after-school programs, she coached a youth soccer team, organized slam poetry events for local elementary and middle schools, and taught a song-writing workshop.

Cooperative Education in Media Relations and Law

Halley participated in two cooperative education opportunities.

In a Media Relations co-op position at Metis Communication, Halley communicated company information to public audiences, drawing upon what she learned in rhetoric courses to write concise, informative press releases.

As a Law Clerk at O’Malley and Harvey, LLP, Halley’s experiences in English classes prepared her to conduct legal research, read complex texts, and line-edit legal briefs. Her co-op experience at O’Malley and Harvey, LLP confirmed her interest in a career in law.

Next Steps

In fall 2016, Halley brought together her interests and experiences in rhetoric and social justice as a student at Northeastern University School of Law, a leader in public interest law. She graduated in 2019, having completed four law school co-ops. One of these co-ops resulted in a position in Washington state, where Halley will be working in immigration law, focusing on migrants and human trafficking.

Photo credit: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

“I wish I could talk about the one moment where I suddenly knew I wanted to be a lawyer—that feeling of ‘aha!’ But the truth is that it was a series of moments, a trajectory of growth over the last four years that led me to the intersection where my passions for law and social justice met and formed a single path. I had many moments during my studies as an English major that steered me towards law as a career. I found I was a strong analytical reader and writer, and discovered a particular interest in rhetoric and legal discourse.”

This was Halley's NU Pathway... Where will yours lead?

Northeastern Department of English


Photo credit: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University