From City College to Amsterdam, the story of Alumnus Fatjon Kaja ’16


From City College to Amsterdam, the story of Alumnus Fatjon Kaja ’16

Born in a small Albanian town, alumnus Fatjon Kaja’s journey has led him from Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn to City College to Amsterdam. 


Where are you from and what is your background story? 

I was born in a small town in Albania, where I lived until my junior year of high school. I went on to complete my high school education at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn. Following this transition, I enrolled at the City College of New York where I pursued my degree in Economics and Philosophy.

What brought you to CCNY and to the Colin Powell School?

When I was considering colleges, I had to take into account not only the reputation of the university and the strength of its programs but also the affordability of pursuing higher education in New York. I came to see that CCNY excelled in all these premises, so it quickly became an obvious choice. What drew me to the Colin Powell School in particular while at CCNY were the programs and the dedication of the professors. I took classes with Professor Kevin Foster, Rajan Menon, and Professor Bernstein and I was impressed by their expertise, humbleness, and devotion to mentorship.

Briefly, how has your career unfolded? How did City College and/or the Colin Powell School help you to get where you are in your career?

After graduating from City College, I went to law school at the University of Minnesota Law School, where I obtained my Juris Doctor. I then became a lecturer in Law and Economics at the University of Amsterdam. Initially, I was drawn to academia for the thrill of debating ideas and witnessing the transformative power of education, I found satisfaction in guiding students toward their career aspirations. However, a pivotal shift occurred last year when I opted for a leave of absence from academia to assume the role of a Judicial Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of Palau. This immersive experience allowed me to witness the tangible effects of law on diverse communities, offering insights into the practical challenges individuals encounter daily. This hands-on engagement provided a real-world context for legal principles, further fueling my passion for public service as I strive to navigate the intersection of theory and practical impact in pursuit of a more just and equitable society.

Along the journey, I benefited from the help and mentorship of Dean Rich, Associate Dean Foster, and President Boudreau, so I am grateful for their advice.


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