Your dreams. Our mission.
Susan Marie Tatten, Esq
Class of 1976
“I got into the Peace Corps not because of my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice but because of secretarial and shorthand skills which I acquired from MassBay.“
Hometown: Newton, MA
Major: Business Science
Occupation: Human Rights Lawyer, United Nations Development Programme
Sue Tatten didn’t consider going to college when she graduated high school in 1974. “I am the oldest of six children,” she explains. “There was nothing in my upbringing to say I would go to college. No one else in my family had attended college except for maybe a distant uncle.” Looking back, Sue considers her college experience to be formative.
It was through the suggestion of a high school teacher, who saw potential in her, that prompted her to consider the idea. “He nominated me for a scholarship for excellence in Business. It was a $500 scholarship, and I got it which was great because it covered my first year at MassBay. I worked to get the money for the next year.”
Sue started at MassBay directly out of high school in the Secretarial Science program. She later switched to Business Science. “I had gotten so good at shorthand and typing that they suggested that I moved to the Business Science Program. It was a fun environment at MassBay. Teachers were very supportive, and I felt safe. I graduated with honors from MassBay,” she says.
After receiving her bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, she decided to join the Peace Corps, a decision that changed her life. “I got into the Peace Corps not because of my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice but because of secretarial and shorthand skills which I acquired from MassBay. In Botswana, where I was stationed, I taught typing and secretarial skills to young girls who had dropped out of school.”
After six years in Botswana, Sue decided to attend law school. She focused on human rights, particularly related to women, because of her experiences in the Peace Corps. “My interest in law was also molded at MassBay. My business law professor was writing a book, and again, because I was a good typist, he asked me to type his book. I learned a lot about law from that experience and it really piqued my interest.” Today Susan Tatten is a successful Human Rights lawyer working for the United Nations.
Looking back, Sue comments that MassBay was much more than just the bridge for her between high school and a four-year college. “MassBay gave me the confidence to move to the next level of my academic career. It set the foundation for me, for ‘my house’ and it’s a big house filled with lots of experiences.”
Her advice to students is to “remember to be humble and always remember your roots. Know that we all can make difference, anyone can! The only thing that can stop us is ourselves.”