Student Spotlight: Jack Delano

Coming from the spread-out-state of Colorado, Jack Delano knows a thing or two about taking the road less traveled. Jack started freshman year as a mechanical engineering student but ended up with an arts degree, and an unexpected passion for law and politics.

Jack is the first student at NYU Abu Dhabi to do his senior Capstone research solely in Legal Studies, a new major at the University.

When did things change for you?

The switch came relatively early on. The first semester, I was taking Foundations of Science and math courses and I was fine with that, I could survive it, but I couldn’t feel it contributing to myself as a person. I wasn’t happy doing it.

I attended a public high school in the US. I was taking science, STEM focused, so I didn’t really see myself as somebody that would be well suited for the humanities. 

In J-Term, I took Design and Innovation, which is the required Engineering J-Term course, and I had a great time but I found it wasn’t necessarily going to be my calling.

That’s where another course that I was taking comes in, which was Relationship of Government in Religion with John Sexton and that was just totally outside my comfort zone, completely different from any of the curriculum I had experienced in high school.

Just taking that class with Sexton and having him really push his students, as well as the instructors pushing us to think outside the box, it showed me there’s different ways of learning that are much more rewarding than what I thought was possible.

Who helped you manage such a big academic shift?

Everybody within Legal Studies, really.

I know the majority of professors to a reasonable degree or on a first name basis in some cases. They’ve all been extremely kind, helpful, and supportive and still not afraid in pushing me to grow more, which has been super important. I just think that the major is only going to get more and more interesting and more appealing for the students here.

I would also say all of the friends I’ve made throughout these past four years have been very instrumental to my growth here. It’s the people that you’re going through this with together that influence you the most, especially those that I studied away with, I found were extremely influential in my development. Having that kind of synthesis is really special to me and I don’t think I would have got that anywhere else or at any other university.