Meet our Students: Jaden Lubarski

Headshot of Jaden Lubarski
Photo courtesy of Jaden Lubarski.

Hometown: Crookston, MN 

Major: Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Justice 

What are you studying and why did you choose your major? 

I initially declared developmental psychology as my major before arriving on campus. After taking a class on social stratification that fall, I switched my major to sociology of law, criminology, and justice. I was also volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters, which allowed me to see first-hand the disparities in our educational systems and how they are a part of the broader system of inequality in America.

What courses would you recommend?

For anyone that's interested, I would highly recommend taking a class on policing. I was able to take Sociology of Punishment and Corrections, along with a special topics class called Reimagining Justice. There are plenty of other classes to choose from as well. 

Being able to study sociology, and specifically policing, in Minneapolis right now is an extremely rare opportunity. Professors have been great at updating the content of these courses to include recent events, such as the murders of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and Winston Smith. I think it's important to discuss these tragedies with our peers and brainstorm how we can reform or divest from these systems and promote community healing.

Have you received any scholarships, grants, or other financial support? 

I'm extremely fortunate to have received the Maroon and Gold Leadership scholarship, the Edward & Effie Johnson Award, and participation in the Dean's First-Year Research and Creative Scholars Program to assist me on my college journey. I worked two jobs throughout most of high school so I could afford a university like the University of Minnesota, so I can't express enough how much this extra support means to me. 

It allowed me to put fewer hours into the various jobs I held off campus and more time into my extracurriculars. I was able to volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters during my freshman year, conduct research with a faculty member, and join the College of Liberal Arts Student Board for the past three semesters. 

The CLA Student Board ended up being my favorite experience on campus. Everyone was extremely welcoming and supportive from my first day on. Some members have helped me with developing my career goals, giving me interview advice, and just providing overall support in everything I do. I was able to develop my leadership skills, plan initiatives that benefit CLA students, and build peer relationships that I will carry beyond college. None of this would have been possible if I had to get a job instead, and so for that, I am truly grateful.

What relevant experiences have you had that have influenced your goals?

I had the unique opportunity to work on a Minneapolis City Council campaign this past fall. I had initially joined as the business liaison for the first six months and was later promoted to campaign manager for the remainder of it. The campaign was in Ward 10, the area commonly referred to as Uptown. I talked to a lot of business owners, residents, and community stakeholders throughout the campaign. Their experiences with policing, social unrest, climate justice, and economic hardships over the past couple of years really opened my eyes. It gave me experience trying to solve the issues I had been studying in my sociology classes, but on a much larger scale, and with a real impact on everyone involved. 

Having an office headquartered on Lake Street felt so surreal. Every day I would drive by the parking ramp that Winston Smith was murdered on. I could feel the tension and pain in the community. But most importantly, I could feel the desire for change. That's my biggest motivation, as I hope to never lose sight of the experiences I gained from this campaign and continue to work toward building a more equitable world for everyone. 

Which of the core career competencies do you think will help you the most in your future career?

Almost everything is done better in teams, and organizations are constantly looking for their next generation of leaders. While it is important to be well-rounded, I believe the Teamwork & Leadership career competency to be the most crucial to my success. It is also the one I have spent the most time developing over college. 

I have taken a class from the leadership minor, completed the First-Year Leadership Institute, managed a Minneapolis City Council campaign, and was elected treasurer of the CLA Student Board, which is an executive board position. Throughout all of these experiences, the most valuable thing I learned was how to be a good leader. 

To me, leadership is about maximizing the inspiration and output of your team members and creating a positive working environment. I was fortunate to have had such competent team members in everything I did. But everyone needs different motivations and conditions for success, and learning how to implement all of them took time and practice. I learned a lot about how people operate, and how to support others to succeed. These skills will help me immensely throughout my career, especially as I transition into my role as a People Advisory Services staff member at EY this fall.

How is your liberal arts education helping you reach your post-graduation goals?

My dream job is to own a business or nonprofit that solves a social issue. I take a lot of inspiration from what All Square has been able to accomplish. All Square is a nonprofit restaurant in South Minneapolis. They hire formerly incarcerated people for full-time employment while giving them a three-month entrepreneurship class, professional mentorship, and optional therapy. 

My liberal arts education has allowed me to expand my sociology education with classes on management, accounting, leadership, and human resources, just to name a few. I was even able to add a management minor by only taking one extra class. I've learned a lot of valuable skills in different fields, and after getting a couple of years of experience in the business world, I hope to be able to put it all together and start a business venture of my own.


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