Senior Spotlight: DeNofrio pursues law to fight against corruption

TJ DeNofrio, senior pre-law major with a minor in political science, said he was always interested in law and politics, but didn’t plan on taking that career route, because he had more scholarship opportunities to go to college for engineering. 

When he took a tour at Waynesburg University and learned about the Stover Scholarship, he applied and was accepted. Turning down offers from other schools, DeNofrio said he saw the potential that he had in the Stover Program.

“When I got accepted into the program, that was when I said, ‘Perfect. I can now pursue what I want to do and have always wanted to do,’” he said. “The ability and power that law provides to be able to fight back against [corruption] always fascinated me.”

During all four years of his college career, DeNofrio was highly involved in Student Senate on campus, which he said was one of his favorite campus experiences. He served as the president of Student Senate for two spring semesters. Giving back to the students on campus in this way is what he considers his greatest achievement during his time at Waynesburg University.

“I learned so much through that capacity, and I do aspire to work in politics, so having the chance to practice that, in a sense, was great, and then to serve my fellow student body was awesome,” he said. “That’s something I strive for: the ability to give back to people.”

DeNofrio also served as president of the Republican Club during his time on campus, and said he enjoyed helping to get other students involved in politics.

“I got to work with a lot of students who really didn’t know a lot about politics to begin with but were fascinated in the process, and it was fun to really get them excited and wanting to be a part of something bigger,” he said.

Some of the best moments DeNofrio said he experienced were through the Stover Program, which he said was the highlight of attending Waynesburg University. Some of his favorite memories in the program were the service opportunities he was able to participate in and the places and speakers he was able to see through the program. This included seeing federal court judges, congressmen, senators and mayors.

“The extensive list of people that I have gotten the chance to interact with and ask questions to are just going to be memories I’m not going to ever forget,” DeNofrio said.

DeNofrio said Dr. Stratton, associate professor of ethics and constitutional law and director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership, “really inspired a sense of wanting to learn.” According to Dr. Stratton, DeNofrio took every one of the courses he taught.

“His logical analysis and creative spark by which he thinks outside the box are his strengths,” Stratton said. “He is a team builder and he can handle difficult situations, diplomacy intact … I think he will be a phenomenal law student, likely politically active in law school and then become a very successful practicing lawyer.”

Socially, DeNofrio said he especially enjoyed the orientation Stover Program trips, but also casual dinner conversations at the Benedum cafeteria.

“Sitting around a dinner table every night with the same group of friends – you can really have some good conversations and memories around that,” he said.

After graduation, DeNofrio said he will be attending New England School of Law in Boston for three years of law school.