From Mock Trial to Study Abroad, AU Senior Seizes the Day
Eric Fleddermann SIS/BA ’13 is proof positive you can have it all as an AU student. On any given day, you might find the senior preparing a mock trial case, helping a peer write a résumé in the AU Career Center, or laying down a drum beat for the Screamin’ Eagles Pep Band at a basketball game. It’s all part of the rich tapestry that has made up Fleddermann’s “American experience.”
“Being a student in D.C., I can attend court hearings, participate in political rallies, and take advantage of so many other opportunities on a daily basis,” said Fleddermann, a Missouri native pursuing a double major in international studies and business administration, and a minor in Arabic language.
A highlight of Fleddermann’s AU experience has been serving as president of the American University Mock Trial (AUMT) team, coached by School of Public Affairs professor Jessica Waters. The self-proclaimed underdog team made a splash this past semester, beating out national champions at a Columbia University invitational, considered one of the East Coast’s most prestigious tournaments. Fleddermann also took home a top attorney award at the tournament.
“Seeing our team blossom into such a success has been so rewarding,” he said.
His favorite class, Justice, Morality, and the Law, taught by Professor Waters honed his courtroom talent. “We debated controversial legal issues like terrorism, birth control, hate speech, and religious exemption,” said Fleddermann.
“The class taught me to consider all sides of an issue before presenting an argument.”
AU has also offered Fleddermann a gateway to the world. In 2011, he spent six months studying Arabic and business at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, arriving in the heat of the Arab Spring movement.
“I was a child of 9-11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, events that affected me deeply and made me want to better understand that part of the world,” said Fleddermann.
Real-world work experience has also been a part of Fleddermann’s life in D.C. He interned at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission among other workplaces, but he found job satisfaction working in AU’s Career Center. There, Fleddermann, a peer advisor since sophomore year, undertook data crunching, résumé writing, as well as marketing and outreach tasks.
“It’s been so rewarding to help other students reach their career goals. I also get to use my oral presentation skills I’ve developed through the mock trial team to speak to classes.”
Fleddermann now faces the exciting challenge of deciding where to apply the “arsenal of skills and knowledge” he has acquired at AU. The senior is contemplating government, law and national security among career paths – all great options for a new grad in the nation’s capital.
“My time at American has helped ground my ideals in reality,” said Fleddermann. “We can create change in the world, but it takes time, it’s hard work, and at end of the day, you may not make a grand change but at least you can change individual lives, and that’s what I hope to do.”