Nino Monea, current student body vice president and graduating senior, could be described as a man of many suits.
“I think the way you portray yourself is really important,” Monea said. “By dressing professionally, all of your colleagues, professors, faculty are just going to give you a little more respect than if you show up looking shabby.”
Swearing by that iconic suit may have paid off – the political science and economics double major has been accepted to Harvard Law School for the fall of 2014. According to Monea, his acceptance to the prestigious university is a huge step both for himself and for EMU.
“Everyone always says, ‘Oh, well graduate schools will look down on Eastern. They won’t care what your GPA is because they’ll think it’s a bad school,’” Monea said. “That’s why it’s that much more exciting to prove everyone like that wrong.”
Monea hails from Livonia, Mich. where he was homeschooled for the majority of his life. Even during the two years he attended public school, he was not very involved in extracurricular activities.
“It made me really driven to get involved at Eastern,” Monea said.
From the moment he set foot on EMU’s campus, he resolved to join as many organizations as possible – especially Student Government. He had to obtain the signatures of 50 students in order to run for the position of senator, something he found challenging.
He recalled having to approach several students as a freshman wearing a “stupid little tie.”
“I didn’t have a whole lot of experience interacting with people, so I was super shy,” Monea said.
Monea didn’t stop at Student Government. During his four years at EMU, he was part of the Honors College, College Democrats, Model UN and a number of other organizations, including an honors society specifically for political science students.
He was also inspired by many of his professors, including Edward Sidlow, Jeffrey Bernstein, James Thornton, Kemper Moreland and Barry Pyle, who was “instrumental” in Monea’s decision to go to law school.
Politically, he views former President Lyndon B. Johnson as one of his role models.
“The thing I really admire about him is the way he was able to compromise to get so much done,” Monea said. “I look at Washington today, you look at Democrats and Republicans – they want different things, and that’s fine, but there’s just an inability on both sides to come together and compromise. You may not get the best bill in the world, but at least getting something that’s going to make the country better is way better than nothing at all.”
Monea’s long-term goal is to do federal prosecution. While going into politics is not his main focus, he does plan on potentially running for an office after having some law experience under his belt.
“I’ve always felt the best way to show pride in anything – a school, a town, whatever – is to take some kind of leadership role,” he said.
As for his legacy here, Monea says it’s not what he’s done at EMU, but rather the people he has influenced.
“If I could help someone else grow…that’s gonna have a much longer impact than anything I could do here,” Monea said. “It’s not so much the things I did I hope are left behind, but the people I was able to help.”